If you’re like me, the first thing you notice looking at this picture is Roy Hibbert’s right arm. Safe to say it’s wider than my (and your) body, roughly 237 feet long and arguably the scariest thing ever.
About 20 seconds later, it hits you: Other people are in this picture. Then you realize one of them is Tim Duncan, a gigantic human being in his own right and one of the most dominant big men in NBA history.
Your eyes dart back to Hibbert. To Duncan. Then back to Hibbert. “This is one of the Internet’s finest optical illusions,” you whisper to nobody. “There’s no way Hibbert is that much bigger than Duncan. Impossible.”
Then Ian Mahinmi and Tiago Splitter start coming into focus. The questions begin to flow: Aren’t those guys 7-footers? What on Earth is happening? Is Roy Hibbert actually this monstrous? When is the NBA adopting a stable test for HGH? Can I hold a fantasy basketball draft tomorrow and select Hibbert with the first pick?
Just look at him in the picture below, mere months ago next to a hollow-cheeked Chris Bosh.
Depending on who you are and what type of relationship (real or imaginary) with Hibbert you have, this picture is powerful enough to summon a distinct reaction.
If you’re a Pacers fan, or any member of the Pacers organization, no words are necessary. High-fives to complete strangers are how you’ll be interacting with other people for the next two weeks.
If you’re Erik Spoelstra, you abruptly clear your throat, excuse yourself from the dinner table then shuffle down to the basement to re-watch Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, hoping—praying—your team’s defensive flurry can somehow repeat itself next year. Then you ring Greg Oden up on the phone, realize both of you are sobbing 30 seconds into the conversation before hanging up and going to bed.
If you’re LeBron James, you hop in your new Ferrari Enzo, zoom to the nearest court and destroy hundreds of challengers in HORSE until it’s time to nap.
If you’re Kevin Garnett, you’re eating popcorn and watching A Perfect Murder for the seventh straight time, completely oblivious to Instagram’s existence.
Everyone else—opposing fans, coaches, general managers, owners, ball boys, beat writers and dance teams—is filled with a combination of awe, shock and intense anxiety. Is this Shaq 2.0? How will Roy Hibbert be stopped next season?
He proved to be a demon protecting the rim during last year's playoffs. What could possibly be in store six months from now? And how big will he be then? Should we hand over all of the trophies right now?!
Or maybe it’s August and photos on the Internet are all we have to talk about.