Here is an attempt-by-attempt breakdown of the sequence in order to help us better understand the series of events and, in some small way, ourselves.
A reminder: all of this occurred approximately two feet or less from the Laker rim.
Attempt #1: Arguably his easiest shot of the whole ordeal. Allen earns a steal and dribbles down the court, to what looks – at first glance – like a simple layup. Instead, he does not put enough mustard on the ball and it gently grazes the rim, falling back down to earth.
Attempt #2: Allen grabs the rebound and immediately overcompensates from his previous attempt. He appears to throw the ball directly at the backboard with no real regard for Newton’s laws of physics. The ball jumps off the backboard and does not touch the rim.
Attempt #3: A teammate grabs the rebound and, for reasons lost to the annals of time, passes it back to Allen, who tries a layup for a third time. This one is blocked.
Attempt #4: Allen, possibly staring into some sort of existential abyss of his own making, does not even jump when taking his fourth shot, instead hurling the ball in the general direction of the basket and letting fate figure the rest out. It hits the rim and bounces out.
End: The referee, sensing some sort of singularity approaching the arena, wisely blows the whistle to stop the madness.
Epilogue: Allen, sensing how close he was to approaching nirvana or exiting The Matrix or something else surely profound,* holds his head above his hands and slowly walks back to the other end of the court.
*It also may have had something to do with missing the easiest shot in basketball four times in nine seconds on national television.