For years after he tore down a basketball rim with a one-handed dunk on a Monday night in January, Jerome Lane tried to replicate the same achievement just about every time his feet left the floor. He could not do it, of course. The moment — a perfect, inexplicable synthesis of conditions — had come and gone.
Twenty-five years later, Lane’s name remains tethered to the feat, in which he shattered the Plexiglas backboard at Pittsburgh’s Fitzgerald Field House with a fast-break dunk less than five minutes into the first half against Providence on the bitterly cold night of Jan. 25, 1988.
The moment is widely considered one of college basketball’s most memorable, not just because of the dunk — one of the first (and last) of its kind — but for the call, from ESPN’s Bill Raftery, who breathlessly exclaimed, “Send it in, Jerome!”
Those four words have been immortalized through highlight reels, T-shirts, March Madness pool titles and regular catcalls for Raftery, who still broadcasts games for ESPN.