For those who ask about basketball lenses: here's a great example of when a long lens is vital. It's probably safe to guess that Lynne Sladky of the Associated Press used the long end of a 70-200mm or a 300mm for this exceptional image of LeBron James' thundering block of Tiago Splitter's dunk attempt during the NBA finals.
The image also is a good example of why a basketball photographer should not give up on the play just because it's at the far end of the court, and should be ready for anything to happen at any time. This play came when Miami had a 19-point lead and was not a factor in the outcome of the game, but it's become the signature play of the game, with images from at least three wire and photo services documenting the block.
Another lesson from this play is that the game will always control photographers rather than photographers controlling the game.