IT WASN’T JARED SULLINGER’S HEIGHT that established him as an imposing presence on the basketball court. Not his arms. Not speed. No, it was something else: his rear end. As a top high school prospect in Ohio and then an elite college player for two years, Sullinger skillfully employed his backside to carve out space under the hoop. Space to yank rebounds. Space to score from the post. Space to frustrate opposing big men.
His posterior became such a force in the front court that it assumed an almost anthropomorphic quality, as if it possessed an identity distinct from Sullinger himself. It inspired a Twitter account, for instance. The tag line: “Clearin room in the paint since 1992 with a greater gravitational pull than Jupiter.”