Mike Conley was injured last season for the better part of the year, and the Memphis Grizzlies shut down for surgery mid-way through the season. So we really haven’t seen much or heard much from Mike Conley since last year. Then, on Tuesday a video surface of Mike Conley doing an absurd thing, literally jumping higher than the backboard of a goal.
At first I thought to myself, that is really impressive not taking into account anything else and went about my day, then of course I hop on Twitter and I see all these doubters that Conley is doing what he is saying he did in this video. So of course, I did what any reasonably person does, I tried to figure out if it was possible.
I started with simply figuring out how tall the backboard of a basketball goal is (Google will help greatly in this situation) and a simple search revealed that the top of backboard is thirteen feet high.
The second part of this the measuring device in which they were using to see how high he could jump. Another Google search led me down a path with ‘vertical jump testers’ which is the red thing you see in the video. It basically has these plastic horizontal vanes that stick out in 1” increments, that spin around once the athlete hits them. Depending on how high the main pole is and how many horizontal vanes are knocked away, this gives up the accurate vertical jump of an athlete.
There are 5-6 of these measuring devices but main one is made by a company called Vertec, this the one that the NFL uses. After looking it up, the description clearly states that it extends 6 to 12 feet high. I looked up other companies, all said the same thing 6-12 ft high.
How is it that Mike Conley has it with almost six horizontal panes above the backboard of basketball goal? The answer is simple - he doesn’t. It is probably a regular size goal but it is filmed from a low angle. In film this is called a forced perspective shot - most of the time it is used to make an object or person look larger or smaller. If you film something looking up at it, it can appear taller than it actually is and vice versa. If you film from above it can make an object appear smaller.
Lets just say it’s filmed in a normal fashion and they have a different measuring device than anything that is sold on the internet. Is it even possible for 6’1” NBA guard to touch the top of the back board? I searched everything I could to find another basketball player that could touch the top of the backboard. I definitely could not find another NBA guard jumping that high. The reported highest recorded vertical by a basketball player was Dwight Howard in his prime at 12’6”, they even did a sports science edition on Dwight Howard doing this very thing.
Dwight Howard is a full ten inches taller than Mike Conley and has a wing span of 7’5” (a full foot longer than Conley’s) and he is the only person jumping a record 12’6” in his prime, there is zero chance that Mike Conley is jumping higher than the backboard that is supposed to be 13 feet high.
I am sorry I had to be the one to tell you that Mike Conley is not jumping over backboards this season. However, that does not mean we shouldn’t be excited about Mike Conley. The success and failures largely depend on the franchise point guard and it’s really encouraging to see him well on the way to being fully healthy this season. Having a fully healthy Conley will go a long way to see if this team will make the playoffs again this year, and it looks like he is well on his way back.