The jump shot seen ’round the world

Pat Santos hit an 80-foot buzzer-beater.
Pavel Dzemianck for the Boston Globe
Pat Santos hit an 80-foot buzzer-beater.

Not too many years ago, feats like Pat Santos’s astonishing, 80-foot buzzer-beating shot in a high school basketball game on Dec. 18 might have been written off as urban legends. But increasingly, there’s proof on video. The incredible finale of East Boston’s victory over Madison Park even made ESPN as SportsCenter’s number one play of the day, beating out the exploits of professional athletes.

Santos — a senior guard who finished the game with four points, three of them scored on that final desperate fling the full length of the court — has been basking in national fame since the unlikely shot, which came off a rebound of a missed free throw with one second left and his team trailing by two points. “I don’t think even playing around, [taking it] 100 times, I could hit that shot right there,” he said.

For athletes, the cold hand of technology has cut both ways. Annoyingly accurate, it can be a killjoy, checking the traditional hyperbole and exaggerations of sports — the pitch wasn’t really that fast, the fish wasn’t that big. But it also means that when miraculous plays really do happen, the whole world gets to share in an incredible accomplishment.