Just to compare, here is a picture of a real basketball.
Here is a picture of a French melon.
Which one looks more like what Michael is throwing against the wall?
(Strip Number 5087, Original Publication Date, 10 February 1989)
Panel 1: First of all mark me startled that Lynn decided to draw Michael back in little boy mode. He has a head proportion where his body is a little over 4 heads tall, which would put him around 6 years old.
I think the idea is that Michael is throwing the ball against a wall while standing a few feet away from it and then catching the ball. The problem is that Lynn is drawing the motion lines for the thrown ball, but only the motion lines for Michael’s hands for the catch. There are no motions lines for his arms throwing the ball. In this first panel it makes it seem like Michael is throwing the ball with his stomach.
Panel 2: In this panel, Michael’s hair throws the ball and the ball seems to have almost no momentum bouncing off the wall and dropping to the floor with a THUMP before the CATCH sound effect. That makes perfect sense to me. My head hair is terrible at throwing basketballs.
Panel 3: In this one we do see the motion lines for the throw from his hands and Michael takes one to the head. I expect the problem is that he didn’t get his hair or his stomach to throw the ball. Since his hands were occupied throwing the ball, they didn’t catch the ball.
Panel 4: Michael hits the ground and thought balloons, “Amazing how tossing a basketball helps you to think!” I know observing Michael tossing a basketball helped me to think, “Can’t this school afford basketball hoops and nets?” Growing up, I also enjoyed thinking while shooting baskets, but there was a hoop involved. Just so we don’t get the idea that this is a one-time activity, there have been other moments where the Pattersons demonstrated what I would have to say is an almost complete lack of understanding of what basketball is about.
Summary: It appears that Michael has not immediately decided to meet Martha’s demands from yesterday but is thinking about what he wants to do. Will Michael make a decision or will it once again be up to Martha to solve their relationship problem? (This is a rhetorical question. After all, Michael is a Patterson, born into a family known for their extreme indecisiveness and passiveness.)