The internet has seen its fair share of basketball-playing animals, from these rats to this dog. It's a fair bet that these animals' owners and trainers had to oversee many hours of training to get these creatures to carry out athletic tasks and actions they have no real reason to do, but it's impressive nonetheless. Somehow, an animal without many higher-order brain functions can be taught to mimic a multi-millionaire.
Sometimes, though, the animal athlete doesn't really get it. Sure, it might figure out how to do one basketballular activity, but it can't really be said to be playing basketball. Take, for instance, this elephant, which can dunk a basketball by the strictest definition of the term (via PBT):
Yes, the elephant puts the ball through the net with its trunk. For most mammals — especially a 6-0 human male with a four-inch vertical, like me — this is impressive in itself. On the other hand, everything that leads up to the dunk is pretty pathetic. The elephant seems to have very little interest in moving toward the hoop, sizes up the basket for several seconds before eventually lifting its trunk, gets up on its hind legs as if it has accomplished something truly daring, and receives an instrumental lift for the highlight. At least its friend in the background has the decency not to act like carrying a trainer around a pen is first-rate work.
Look, I know that this thing doesn't understand basketball, but if we're going to align this activity with this particular sport, then we must demand more. As of now, this elephant does not have what it takes to be the best.
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