One Friday night in 1986, my family and I returned home from the local video rental shop. The VHS cassette that I'd brought home was Teen Wolf, the story of a high-school basketball playin' werewolf.
I’m sure I watched that movie at least 4 times that weekend. Yeah, It had my dude Michael J. Fox in it and yeah, I was diggin' vampires and werewolves back then too, but the reason why Teen Wolf took over that weekend was that it had something to do with basketball.
It was right around the time that I'd become a basketball fanatic. I'd just gotten my first pair of Air Jordans and as a result discovered who Michael Jordan was. Once that happened, I watched any and everything that had even the smallest amount of basketball in it; stuff like Cornbread, Earl & Me, The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh, that episode of Webster that James Worthy appeared in and of course, the White Shadow, starring a young Kevin Hooks (who I had the pleasure of working with when he directed an episode of Scorpion that I guest-starred in earlier this year).
There was one part of Teen Wolf that I rewound over & over, the scene when he first wolfs out. I know you've seen it, but let me paint the picture just in case it's been a while.
During a tense, physical basketball game, point guard Scott Howard, the smallest player on the court, dives on the court for a loose ball. Immediately, all of the other players on the floor pile on top of him. After a few seconds of wrestling for the ball (what was the ref doing?), you hear it...the growl.
All of the players suddenly jump backward as Scott leaps up, now completely covered in fur, showing his fangs and holding the ball with clawed hands.
The gym is silent as all eyes are on Scott. A few awkward seconds later, he does what any normal werewolf person would do. He starts to dribble the ball while backing up to one end of the court. He dribbles the ball between his legs a few times before letting out a battle cry and takes off for the other goal at the other end of the court. He then jumps from the foul line, does a two-handed tomahawk dunk that would make Shawn Kemp or Blake Griffin jealous. He picks up the ball, spins it on one of his clawed fingers and tosses it to the ref.
Here's the best part...the game just continues. A dude turned into a werewolf and they kept playing. If you don't believe me or just want to relive a bit of classic '80s entertainment, here's the scene.
I remember going outside with my basketball and trying to dribble the ball between my legs like Teen Wolf, the way Michael J. Fox's stunt double did. For a brief moment in time, you couldn't tell me that the key to being the best basketball player in the world and maybe just being cool for that matter was anything other than dribbling like Teen Wolf. So I practiced. Eventually, I got the hang of it. Although I never quite mastered that dunk from the foul line though.
My illustration of Teen Wolf is a tribute to a fun period of my youth with a slight update. I replaced those 1985 issue adidas high tops with some kicks that debuted a little over a decade later, the adidas Crazy 8s.