The Shortest NBA Career: 3.9 Seconds

What Cal Ripken Jr. is to Major League Baseball, JamesOn Curry is the Opposite to the National Basketball Association

Adrian J. Mayer

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Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

Most sports fans have heard of Cal Ripken Jr.’s incredible record of playing in 2,632 consecutive games over 16 years. The streak began on May 30, 1982, and ended voluntarily on September 19, 1998. Few baseball players spend 18 straight years in the major leagues, and most won’t play a single season without an injury or a day off.

This story isn’t about Ripken, but what some would consider the polar opposite. It’s about a record most people choose not to hold, but unfortunately, someone has to. This story is about JamesOn (pronounced \Jaymz-ahn\) Curry and his 3.9-second playing career in the NBA. His unique name originated in honor of both his grandfather James and his father Leon (there was no explanation for the capitalization of the “O”)

That Special Night in Boston: January 25, 2010

The temperature was in the mid-50s, an unusually warm evening for late January in Boston. The 18,624 fans heading into the TD Garden for an NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics had no way of knowing they were about to witness a dubious record that would stand the test of time. It was January 25, 2010, and the game tipped off at 7:37 pm. Shortly before 9 pm, with 3.9 seconds left in the third quarter, although the game’s box score and the official record will reflect 4 seconds, Clippers veteran coach Mike Dunleavy took Chris “The Caveman” Kaman out of the game to get some extra rest before the end of the period. Kaman was in a slump, making only 2 of 6 shots from the field that quarter, including missing the last three he had taken. Kaman played the entire first 11:56 of the quarter, and Dunleavy felt he could use the rest. The long buzzer sounded from the scorer’s table, signaling a substitution, and Curry hustled onto the court for what would be his first and only game appearance, creating the shortest NBA career in the league’s history. There is an inbound pass, a second pass, and a referee’s whistle to end the third quarter. Curry had not touched the ball or been involved in the play. The players left the court for a timeout between periods, and when…

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Adrian J. Mayer

I hold 5 college degrees including a BBA in Finance, MBA, DBA, and post-doc in Applied Statistics. I work for a non-profit in Orlando, FL as a business analyst.