Yes, I know.  I could be the benchmark against which all basketball fans are measured — the way absolute zero is where you start measuring temperature.  Not that I dislike basketball; I just don’t care.

And yet who could watch this 3-minute clip from Friday’s CBS Evening News and not widen his eyes in astonishment and delight?

I mean, you’d have to practice soooooooooooooooo long to make a shot like that.

Which brings me to the second riveting basketball item that happened to cross my craw Friday.  (Two in one day!  And I think the first two in my whole life.)

This second one requires a little setup before we take the shot.

Slavish readers of this page may recall (vaguely) the March 1, 2006 column (no?) in which one of you — reacting to a comment I had made about WheelTug and Borealis — told us about his invention.

Glenn Hudson: “I liked your method of calming yourself about your investment: ‘I keep telling myself: Television did catch on. Television did catch on.’ I am in the process of introducing an inexpensive revolutionary basketball-shooting practice device, the shootAndstar Rebounder. It catches both made and missed shots and returns them quickly to the shooter. If I had a nickel for everyone that told me what a great idea it was, I would already be rich from it. It’s so obvious that they should just be flying out the door. Yes, I have had some success since its introduction a little over a year ago, selling units in over 30 states and as far away as Australia. However, I have had some times when I became somewhat frustrated with the initial growth of units sold. When that happens, I always remind myself of the research that I did concerning the marketing of new inventions and the story of the person who invented the shopping cart. Apparently, they had trouble getting people to use them when they first put them in stores. People were so used to taking a basket with them to the store and putting the items they purchased in their own basket that they wouldn’t even try the carts. To solve the problem, the inventor eventually figured out that he had to hire people to push the carts around the stores until the average person became comfortable enough to try one. Now if you can’t get a shopping cart when you’re at a store, you get upset about it. For some reason, no matter how great or obvious a new idea or invention is, it just takes time and money to get it across to the general public. I would guess the problem is that the majority of people have great difficulty in accepting new ideas and making changes to their lives. Anyway, I use this story to calm myself because I know if I keep plugging away, one day I will be tremendously successful.”

So here we are a mere eight years later, and neither Glenn nor Borealis has reached its glory phase yet, but both have made progress.  Indeed, Glenn has actual sales!  And some pretty amazing customer feedback.

We are still in the early stages of my product’s development (selling in the 100’s per month — sometimes over a thousand).  It is being sold worldwide and I often get inquires from as far away as Australia.  I think it’s only a matter of time before it really takes off because it is genuinely a fantastic product at a price point way below any competing product that attempts to do what it does. As an inventor, the best feeling in the world is to receive a message from a very satisfied customer where your invention has helped them to overcome a difficult situation and to achieve fantastic success.”

Specifically, this message:


I just wanted to say congratulations on your progress with your Rapid Fire system. Your product was truly the “difference maker” in Kelsey’s high school basketball career. But with any story, there is a story within a story, and now probably a good time to share it with you.

In her seventh grade year, Kelsey was intentionally injured in a travel ball game. The opposing coach cheated by inserting high school players (big players) against our seventh grade girls. Two of those girls trapped Kelsey and bent her over backwards until she went down hard. She fractured her L5 vertebrae in three places. A melee broke out and the police responded. After three months of deteriorating condition, doctors were not sure if she would play again or even if she should. Kelsey wanted to play.

After years of therapy and much pain, she battled back to play again. It is true though, she was not the same player and has never regained that top speed she once had, yet she still wanted to play and compete at a high level. So, while sitting on the bench during her long recovery period, when contact and running were prohibited, she used your product and worked on her shot.

She approached it like a science, perfecting her form, stroke, rhythm, etc, through repetition. Eventually, she progressed to adding jumps and moves that developed into a lightning fast release. She actually studied the shooting styles of Ray Allen, Shawn Battier, JJ Redick, Becky Hamond and many more. She learned that when it came to shooting, a good three-point shoot could be an equalizer.

Soon, with your product we had shootouts in our front yard and laughing, we installed one your systems in our pool to protect our screens. Pool shootouts were also common, again helping to develop the shooting abilities of many young players. As shooting work progressed, so did her game at every level.

Your product was instrumental in her progress and helped develop her as a player to be celebrated and feared. Entire teams game-plan for her now.

We just wanted to say thank you for giving her a second chance, and at a price that any family can afford. I wish you and your company a wonderful year. Please tell your team how much we appreciate their efforts for helping our daughter succeed. Knowing now the story within the story, you understand the reason for our celebration and for our appreciation for you, your team and your product.

Thank you again.
Gordon, Teresa and Kelsey Angus

NOTE: In Kelsey’s first game this season, she made three 3-point shots in the first minute of her game and the opposing coach has to call a time out!!  [Like this.]

Have a three-pointer day.



A great long time ago I apparently suggested buying a few shares of GM.  I had forgotten all about it, but not Patrick.  It’s been driving Patrick Johnson crazy.  It’s Patrick, you will recall, who’s been keeping the scorecard on all these suggestions — latest update here — and it seems that in the 16.2 years since my off-handed little suggestion there’ve been so many GM twists and turns and spin-offs and dividends that it’s a minor nightmare to keep track of.  “Would you please just recommend a ‘sell’ so I can close this one out?” he asked last week.  So — having no opinion on GM either way, let alone opinions on any of its spin-offs — I’m “selling” to put Patrick out of his misery.  According to his calculations, we got $5,389 from our initial $1000.  “$509.58 dividends, $4,879.47 in spinoffs.”  As always, I have not tried to check (or influence!) his assessment, and like to think that any errors or dubious judgments he may have made in this massive undertaking — if any — whether in my favor or against, more or less cancel each other out.




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