It’s almost time for high school seniors to start filling out their college applications, on which they’ll answer essay questions like the standard: If you could invite four people, living or dead, to dinner, who would it be and why? That got us to thinking, if we could host a hoops-centric dinner party, who would make our guest list?
This week, each of our writers will answer that question. We encourage you to do the same via Twitter using #collegehoopsdinner.
Location: Kopp’s in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, off North Port Washington Road. That’s the best one. Why Kopp’s? Well, you won’t find a better burger in America. Yeah, you might track down a tasty gourmet burger downtown or somewhere in the suburbs. But Kopp’s is for everyone. It’s the place you MUST go if you want a taste of Milwaukee. The bonus? Amazing custard. Plus, it’s so loud in there. Everybody will be chit-chatting about the Packers and the Brewers and the Packers some more, so my side convo with a few guys who know what it’s like to climb above the rim won’t bother anyone.
Darvin Ham: There are some interesting possibilities, especially when you activate the “dead or alive” clause. But I want to know what it’s like to fly, since I can’t dunk anymore (ever). And these guys can convey that feeling. I picked Darvin Ham because his backboard-shattering dunk was the greatest sports moment of my youth. So I’m watching a matchup between North Carolina and Texas Tech in the 1996 NCAA tournament and then, BAM! Ham catches the rebound and dunks so hard that the backboard breaks into shards of glass. It was so ferocious and explosive. What was it like to smash the rim over Serge Zwikker and Antawn Jamison? Zwikker and Jamison literally covered their heads and ran. How does it feel to silence a crowd like that? Talk to me, Darvin. But don’t dunk on me.
Jerome Lane: “Send it in, Jerome.” Probably the greatest call and dunk in NCAA history. Bill Raferty immortalized that 1988 dunk with his line. But give Lane credit for being the guy who created the magic. I want to hear from him. Describe that moment. How did it feel to rip the rim off its frame and shatter a backboard in what might be the play that defines an entire era of college basketball? I need to know these things. Also, did he ever send a sympathy card to the Providence guy he embarrassed and kneed in the face? C'mon, Jerome. Tell me.
Harold Miner: He has avoided the spotlight for many years. That “Baby Jordan” nickname and the subsequent NBA struggles affected his legacy. So it’s easy to forget how good he was in college. He is USC’s all-time leading scorer, and he was an All-American during his time at USC. Plus, he had mad dunks. Dunks for days, man. Miner was an acrobat. Just ask any USC or UCLA fan about the time he maneuvered through three Bruins and finished with one of the nastiest dunks you’ll see. Maybe he’ll open up at a table with a bunch of guys who can relate to those feats.
Montrezl Harrell: How did the Louisville junior end up in this group? He shattered his SECOND backboard of the year on Sunday. We know he can’t duplicate that in a real game with real rims -- he broke both backboards in off-campus matchups -- but he’s still one of the most ferocious dunkers in college basketball today. Last season, his 98 dunks established a Louisville record. I saw him last month at an event in Louisville. When you see him walking among the mortals, he looks like something that Marvel created. We need someone to represent the current game at this function. So Harrell gets an invite. Just don’t break the table or the chairs, man. We gotta eat first.
On the menu: We’ll keep it simple. That’s what I love -- we all love -- about Kopp’s. Nothing fancy or complicated. Double cheeseburgers -- with mayo, ketchup and lettuce -- and fries for the entire crew. Vanilla custard cones when we’re finished with the meal. And it’s on me, fellas. I just want to sit back and listen to these dunk tales.