SI Vault
 
2 on 5
THOMAS LAKE
December 08, 2008
One night in 1992, in a small town in Alabama, the North Jackson Chiefs won a game against seemingly insurmountable odds. Then came the crashes and the gunshots and one man's fateful choice
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 08, 2008

2 On 5

One night in 1992, in a small town in Alabama, the North Jackson Chiefs won a game against seemingly insurmountable odds. Then came the crashes and the gunshots and one man's fateful choice

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Two years after the game, a car will run Chad's motorcycle off the road, sending him hurtling into a fence post. His right leg will bend upward till the foot is past his shoulder, leaving the kneecap hanging by the skin and blood vessels, but he will walk again nine months later and then climb back on his bike and twist the throttle and go.

Fort Payne with 28 seconds. And the ball stolen away by Travis Smith! He puts it up. It's good! One-point game.

Clinging to the lead, Fort Payne milks the clock to five seconds. Another foul, another Chief gone. Six left now. Fort Payne makes the first free throw, increasing the lead to two.

They've pretty well sealed the fate of the North Jackson Chiefs.

Fate goes by many names. Sixteen years later, on Aug. 24, 2008, Little Robert Collier will tell a stranger that God still has a plan for him. But he won't blame God, or anyone else, for the way his life has turned out.

"We make our own choices," he'll say.

Thirty-two minutes of basketball, 74 fouls. That's over two fouls per minute of playing time. I think you'd have to check a long way to find very many games that would even come close to such.

George Guess is right, although a 75th foul is called as time expires. That's one foul every 25.6 seconds. The NBA record for total fouls in regulation since the 24-second clock was installed, 84, was set by the Indiana Pacers and the Kansas City Kings in 1977. That game lasted 48 minutes: one foul every 34.3 seconds.

Fort Payne is on the foul line, up by two with five seconds left. The team has made only 10 of its 30 free throws. A man yells from the bleachers, long and low, to distract the shooter.

I don't know whether there's anybody made a film of this game or not, but this will certainly be one for study by the officials' association.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Related Topics
  ARTICLES GALLERIES COVERS
Chad Cobb 1 0 0
Little Robert 1 0 0
Fort Payne 4 0 0
Chad 40 0 0
Robert Collier 1 0 0