I’m often asked when photographing sports who I’m rooting for. I always give the same selfish answer, “I’m rooting for good pictures.” It’s nice to see the local teams I cover do well because it’s good for our community and our business here at The Oklahoman and NewsOK, but what I really want are exciting plays that make compelling pictures.
Last night’s game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks put me through the typical thought process I have during a close game that would probably seem completely foreign to most sports fans. With 1.4 seconds left, Vince Carter hit shot to give the Mavericks the lead. At this point, things looked grim for the Thunder and fans were probably not feeling too great about the team’s chances, but I felt good because I had a nice shot of the Mavericks celebrating. If the Thunder go on to lose, I’ve made a compelling picture of the key moment of the game. If Oklahoma City pulls out a win, I’ve got a chance for more exciting photos.
Kevin Durant’s buzzer beater made the above photograph worthless for the next day’s paper, but provided some nice reaction too.
Part of being a sports photographer is sometimes making good pictures that end up being worthless because of the outcome of the game. Sometimes what we wish could be the play of the game just turns out to be another dunk, turnover or touchdown, a nice shot graphically without much meaning to the story of the game. Lucky for me, in the process of ruining the need for my Dallas celebration shot, Kevin Durant gave me the opportunity for some new nice pictures.
If you’ve got the time, check out this photo gallery from the game.