When I was a student at the Art Institute of Atlanta a few years back, I called Manny Rubio, an amazing photographer to interview him about working for Sports Illustrated. (Don’t ask me how I found his number in pre-internet days, because I have no recollection.)
He graciously took my call and answered my questions … a lot of them.
Rubio impressed upon me how difficult it was to become a great sports photographer. And over the years, I found out through personal experience, just how right he was.
It’s been a long time since I dreamed of becoming a sports photographer, and a while since I photographed sports on a regular basis. So I was excited to be asked to photograph the Georgia State Wheelchair Basketball Finals.
When I arrived to photograph the wheelchair championship game, there was about two minutes left in the boys AAAA finals game.
The Carver Tigers basketball team played the Americus-Sumter Panthers for the fifth time this season. I was privileged to see them play for the Georgia High School Association 2019 Class AAAA state championship.
I watched and took photos while the two teams went back and forth, taking a lead, catching up, taking the lead again, tying the game again. Until AJ Watts pumped in a three-pointer with 28 seconds left in the game.
“When it left my hands, I knew it was good,” Watts told Mark Rice of the Columbus Ledger Enquirer.
I was at the opposite end of the court when Watts made the game changing shot, but I was ready to charge the court as soon as the buzzer went off.