The Man Who Made Me Give Up Dunks for Threes

By: Gilbert Arenas
From: Agent Zero: The Blog File

It was in my development stage of high school when I came across Dave Hopla. I started late and it was around the time when dunking was the new thing. If you can dunk at an early age, that’s the best. Every kid is trying to dunk. So I want to camp and Coach Hopla came out there and usually when you see shooters at these camps, you’re waiting to jump on them and be like, “You missed! You missed!” but he was like, “I’m going to play this game that’s called ‘Shooting Against Reggie.’” You know, because everybody at the time thought that Reggie Miller was the best shooter in the league. So he put a hat on that had a hand cut out hanging from the brim so it was right in his face. He said, “Every one I make counts for one for me; every one I miss is three points for Reggie. We’re going to 21.”

He made 21 in a row.

I was like, “What?!”

So, I went home, got the hat, tape the hand cut out on it, and I was shooting against Reggie. It was 21-0, all right … 21-0 and Reggie won.

So I went back to camp the next day and I was talking to him like, “Man, I don’t care about dunking anymore. I want to be able to shoot like that, I want to be a shooter! That’s great!”

I figured if I could shoot like that people were going to play up on me and I could go by them and dunk.

So, for all the kids that are trying to go out there and shoot, get the hat and carve out your hand print and tape it to the front of your hat. Now you have a hand in your face when you practice. Play against the hand in your face. It helped me become a shooter. I can see the results now.

Coach Hopla and I talk about the old times, but we’re trying to build some new memories now. I’ve been hurt and haven’t been able to shoot as much with him as I’d love to, but we still reminisce about the old days we used to have.

(Link to Gil’s Blog)

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