The NCAA championship game will be remembered for Kansas’ record comeback in the second half. Or maybe UNC’s abstract shot selection in the last five minutes. Bill Self gets a second national title, and Hubert Davis misses the chance to have half as many national titles as Dean Smith. But North Carolina won the real championship, beating Coach K in his last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and his last game ever. Someone cuts down the nets every year. Only one school in history had a chance to completely shit on that sanctimonious windbag with the high-school level play design and his legacy, and the Tar Heels came through. That lives forever.
What also lives forever is Puff Johnson joining the hallowed ranks of players to scream at his shoes in a championship game or round. I’ll include the footage here but won’t link it in case you’re one of those who puke when you see puke.
We can joke now that Johnson appears to be OK, though when he was clutching at his heart before hitting the floor it had everyone uneasy. If you needed strong evidence that the Tar Heel rotation was thin, your player blowing chunks on the court from exhaustion should do it.
Johnson can take heart. He joins legends like Donovan McNabb, who hurled during a Super Bowl. Pete Sampras once lost his lunch at the US Open, and got called for taking too long between points. Michael Jordan never barfed during his “flu game” on the court, but we can assume he likely did in the locker room at some point. Or was losing his guts the other way, which is close enough. Hey, Mickey Mantle puked all the time, though probably not from sheer effort. Though what he was up to the night before certainly involved sheer effort. We’re throwing it on the list. Glenn Hall upchucked before every game and he played 502 straight hockey games as a goalie without a mask. Which is probably why he was throwing up.
So congratulations, Puff. A year or two from now Kansas’ championship will fade from everyone’s memory, at least for all those outside of Lawrence, Kansas. But your chunkage will long live in the memory. Every year has a champion, but only some men truly live on.
If you’re a North Carolina fan and you really want to feel aggrieved, check out the floor buckle underneath Armando Bacot’s ankle late in the second half.
Nice work NCAA, it’s only the most important and most watched games of the year.