This article appears in the Feb. 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Some people are just plain irritating. Chas McFarland is one of them.
Look, he's probably the nicest guy most of the time. But get him on the
court, and ... Please direct your attention to the following sequence from a
recent game at North Carolina: With less than
eight minutes remaining and Wake Forest up by 12, McFarland grabs a defensive rebound. Like pretty much
everything the seven-footer does on the hardwood, it's ugly. He jumps -- if
you can call it that -- approximately five inches off the floor and lands with
a thud, a near impossibility when you've dropped only five inches. After a
quick outlet, he lumbers downcourt, an elongated cacophony of limbs and
joints, arriving in the lane just in time to see teammate C.J. Harris drain
a three from the wing. As the ball drops, McFarland shoves a Tar Heel in the
back, then begins to trudge back upcourt, pumping his fist as if he were the
one who hit the shot. At halfcourt, he tries to give Harris a
midsprint high five or pound -- hard to say which, as he completely whiffs. The whistle
blows to signal a Carolina timeout, and McFarland, who's standing at the
foul line next to UNC's Deon Thompson, puffs out his chest, tilts his head
and does his best Chewbacca right in Thompson's ear. The bellow lasts for
four irritating seconds.