In FreeDarko Presents the Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History, Pasha Malla argues "YouTube represents a new kind of communal mythmaking, on that resists the great dictatorial hegemony of the NBA administration in favor of something approaching democracy." In times past, the NBA, along with networks licensed to package its highlights, determined canonical plays and events. As Malla notes, the enduring image of Michael Jordan's "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo, Jordan's post-shot exuberance, was not seen on the live telecast; the camera cut to Chicago Bulls coach Doug Collins instead of showing the celebration.
But now, thanks to YouTube, hoops fans have a sort of say in what we remember, which is great news for Orlando Magic aficionados. User luismirovic has ensured we'll never forget Pat Garrity's improbable dunk on Samuel Dalembert, for example. Britton Johnsen's facial over a rookie LeBron James--in a summer-league game!--lives on, due to the efforts of FLsummerball. Prior to YouTube, only the few thousand people or so who saw the game live would have access to those plays essentially on demand. Taking a broader view, high-five hijinks between Andrew Bogut and nobody in particular, and Kevin Love and Wesley Johnson, have become memes unto themselves solely due to their shared presence on these here internets. The game's reach in cyberspace meets, and perhaps exceeds, its reach on terrestrial earth. That's not a development we can overlook.