One of retired NBA player Jason Collins' top March Madness memories involves the post-dunk celebration of returned Mormon missionary Mark Madsen.
"When I think about March Madness ’98, the first thing that comes to mind is Mark 'Mad Dog' Madsen’s unorthodox dance moves," Collins wrote in an article for The Players' Tribune.
The article is part of "Tales of Madness," a series published by The Players' Tribune in which former college basketball players recall their favorite NCAA Tournament moments.
With his team behind, Collins, a former Stanford player who went on to play for 13 years in the NBA, recounted how Madsen stole the ball, dunked and celebrated by dancing around with both arms raised in triumph, a key play in the Cardinal's comeback victory over Rhode Island in the 1998 NCAA Tournament.
"It's still the best celebration I've even seen on a basketball court," Collins wrote. "The pure joy of Mark Madsen's dance is what March Madness is all about."
Madsen was one of 10 kids raised in a Mormon family and served his LDS mission in Spain. Collins described him as the "Soccer Dad of the Stanford Men's Basketball Team."
"Picture a college kid who acts like a responsible adult at all times," Collins wrote. "If any teammate needed a ride, Mad Dog would be there to pick you up and drive you wherever in his hand-me-down minivan."
Read the entire article at theplayerstribune.com.
Madsen played in the NBA for nine years before pursuing a career in coaching basketball. After winning one of his championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was caught in a YouTube video with more dance moves.
In a 2010 Deseret News article, Madsen spoke of how serving a mission blessed his life.2 comments on this story
"(A mission) required a lot of self-discipline, like getting out of bed early in the morning when you are tired. My faith and testimony also increased so much," Madsen said. "I always tried my very hardest to be a good basketball player, but I realized basketball is not the most important thing in the grand scheme of things."
According to a 2014 LDS Church News article, Madsen was a guest speaker at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center.
"He asked the audience to 'press forward with a perfect brightness of hope' even when life’s journey seems uncertain and confusing," writer Jan Hemming wrote.