Fear of rejection

Updated: January 13, 2009, 7:54 PM ET
By Molly Knight | ESPN The Magazine
The art of shotblocking is complex, thrilling and vital to winning. Josh Smith is a master.

He stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 240 and by the time you see him it's too late.

You're streaking down the court on a breakaway, nothing but an empty lane between you and the cup. But just as you're about to flip the ball into the hoop, you smell the sweat on his brow and you hear his right sneaker chirp as his big toe initiates liftoff from just inside the stripe. And then you hear the crowd.

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