Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Underthinking Slam Dunk competition

So in the weekend I was watching the NBA Slam Dunk competition, an event where large men attempt to put a ball through a small hoop in the most impressive way possible.

This is pretty impressive, but the NBA does it better

This competition was conceived during the ABA days, the ABA was a rival basketball league  to the NBA that ran during in the 70's, that may or may not have involved live bear wrestling.
My knowledge of the ABA
But due to a merger with the NBA, the concept at the professional level was lost until it returned in 1984, which featured the winner of the original ABA competition, Julius Erving, better known as Dr Jay, who was unable to defend his title.

"Your not really a Doctor are you?"
Back in the glory days we saw magnificent dunks that defy belief, and make people sit up and say WOW.
We had Erving started us off with the memorable free-throw line dunk, that has been replicated ever since including Michael Jordan. Spudd Webb won despite being 5 ft 7 inches, although in recent times shorter players have been deemed to have an advantage, because the fact they can touch the rim is impressive, whereas a 7 footers feet barely leave the ground during a dunk.

Exact same dunk, I know which one looks more impressive.
Although I bet Spud Webb ruined many a bullies game of keep-away. During the 2000's Vince Carter and Tracey Mcgrady and even Amar'e Stoudemire dazzled us with 360's and between the legs, and alley-oops from headers etc.
The problem is now that players have decided the limits of physically impressive dunks have been reached which is blatantly untrue, as evidenced even in the weekend by JaVale McGee's triple dunk in the qualifiers where he dunked three balls in one jump, the third coming from an alley-oop. Even his losing dunk in the final which was a going away reverse dunk looked very impressive.

This is impressive. Best Dunk of the evening
But the fans vote on finals and like the last couple of years the vote for the most theatrical dunk as opposed to the most impressive. We have seen people win the prize for doing a normal dunk but blowing out a cake on the rim, or just wearing a superman cape, one year a guy in the finals did a dunk with no shoes on that scored well. Which makes the contest a bit of a joke, this year the competition was won by Sonny Bill Williams.

Yeah I am the best at Rugby League, Rugby and Boxing so I thought I would give Basketball a shout.
His dunk that one the contest over the impressive reverse windmill dunk? He did an alley-oop dunk, which is pretty standard fare these days although when it was invented it did cause a lot of confusion.

But what made Blake Griffen's (Sonny Bill Williams) alley oop special, well firstly the alley oop pass came from a man sitting in a car that had been parked under the hoop.

"Oh that's right I parked under the basketball hoop"
I mean he did leap over a car, but to be fair he only jumped over the hood, and he did leave the ground fairly close to hoop, most people who could dunk could pull this off.

I could totally do this....
But that's not the end of the theatrics, Blake Girffen organised an entire Black Gospel Choir to come out and sing "I believe I can fly" the song made famous from the documentary "Space Jam" about Michael Jordans retirement and subsequent return to the game after saving the world from Aliens.

I mean if this didn't happen I wouldn't be able to find a photo would I?
A Choir? He didn't jump the choir, he just had them present at his dunk and I think this is what lead to him winning. The issue I have with excessive prop use in NBA Slam dunk contests, is that I believe that a young kid in the ghetto should be able to aspire to replicate his heroes. While a reverse windmill dunk is very impressive and difficult to perform, conceivably if a young man in the ghetto practises hard enough, he could one day do that. Where is a young man in the ghetto meant to get access to a new car, with all its wheels, and a choir?

Replicating Dr Jay's dunk, fairly easy to do.
Blake Griffen's Dunk on the other hand is a little harder...

"Okay Fred, you go get your car, I will get a Gospel Choir, and then we will see who is the HORSE"
So in closing I would just like to say next time you vote in a Slam-Dunk contest, which if you are anything like me is every other Tuesday, remember that technique and talent should outweigh the props when you vote. I mean if everything was based on presentation, the Nazi's would have won the war hands down. I mean they had Hugo Boss designing their uniforms.

The Nazi Winter Collection brilliant, Ideology not so much.....


  1. Dude, I totally agree. I loved the dunk contest this year but Griffin's final dunk was lame. He was always going to win in a fan voted contest though. I mean, Yao Ming got voted onto the West All-Star team even though he's played a total of 91 minutes this SEASON.
    That McGee dunk you have a photo of was awesome.

  2. Yeah man, there are always some super sweet dunks in the competition. But they never win, it is so annoying, times like these you realise fans are idiots....

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