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Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Zach LaVine, reaching for the sky

By Andy and Brian Kamenetzky
Special to ESPN.com

They say a picture tells a thousand words, and in the case of this instant-sensation photo of Zach LaVine from his predraft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers, roughly 995 words were some version of “Holy $^#@!!!” The UCLA one-and-done guard soared 46 inches during his running vertical test, creating a new purple-and-gold pre-draft record in the process. The jump set the tone for what rounded into, by LaVine’s estimation, an excellent workout for the Lakers, and the photo sent out by the Lakers sent Twitter into a frenzy.

LaVine recounts the moment from his perspective:

“I knew I was gonna jump well because on my standing vertical [test], I got, like, a 36. I’m a really good two-foot jumper, but off a standing vert, my average, I was getting around a 33 or 35 before. When he said I had a 36, I was like, ‘OK, today is gonna be a good day.’ [Laughs.] My legs felt a little extra bouncy. I warmed up really well. I rested the day before. And I wanted to prove myself. At the combine, I only jumped a 41 or a 42, I think. I had been higher than that before, so I wanted to prove I could jump higher than that.

“It was a little surreal, because everyone just stood there and looked at me for a second. All the training and coaching staff. All of the players was, like, ‘Whoa!’ What the heck just happened?!’ I did it on my second attempt. I got a little bit higher and everyone was tripping. It was definitely a little bit different, because you normally jump and [it’s like] ‘Zach got high.’ This one, they were looking at me almost like I did something wrong. [Laughs.] Did I just mess up or is it something I did good?’

“The picture actually is really, really weird, because it just looks like I’m really high. It’s probably the way Andrew [Wiggins] looked at his vertical pic. Like, ‘Dang! I really got up really high on that!’ Most people in the world can’t do that. It just doesn’t look normal.

“I think on Instagram, I went from like 10K [followers] to like 14.”