Jaren Jackson Jr. has blocked 60 shots in his short NBA career. He has also racked up 29 steals. Both numbers are impressive for such a young big man, but on Wednesday, he seemingly managed to add another of each to his ledger… at the same time. 

The moment came in the first quarter of tonight’s game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics. Marcus Smart winged a pass in transition to Gordon Hayward, who lined up for a 3-pointer immediately. But Jackson caught up to him right as he was firing the shot and managed to block it from behind. Rather than swat it out of bounds, though, Jackson never took his hand off of the ball. He caught it with one hand, and with one fluid motion, pulled the ball into himself for one of the greatest blocks in recent NBA history. 

The official scorer awarded him a block, his third of the game, but sadly, he didn’t get a steal on the play. Instead, he’ll have to settle for one of the most ridiculous defensive highlights in recent NBA history. 

Imagine if Odell Beckham Jr’s catch came with one percent as much time to react, and that is broadly what happened here. Jackson’s goal in blocking the shot wasn’t even to catch it. That just happened organically, despite starting out behind the shot and having only one hand available to actually pull it in. 

In truth, the catch was likely more of an accidental bit of good fortune than anything else. If you gave Jackson 1,000,000 chances to do this again intentionally during the course of a game, he probably wouldn’t be able to do so. But he took advantage of this opportunity, and we were rewarded with a highlight for the ages. 

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