The Slam Dunk contest is a tradition of the NBA All-Star Weekend, and this dunk contest put the power back in it. No other player has showed as much force and power as Griffin did last night since Dominique Wilkins did in his contest days.
Most fans look at the Sprite NBA Slam Dunk Contest as a lost art, seeing most of the best dunks have been done by greats like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Julius “Dr.J” Erving, Spud Webb and Vince Carter to name a few.
This dunk contest have brought some of the old-school dunks out, but also brought out some never seen before dunks. The first round had to be hands-down the best first round in a long time.
The contest started with Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder doing a “Air Congo” dunk with flags and all jumping from the free-throw line to slam it down with one hand. Ibaka did a retro dunk that most have done like Jordan, Ervin, Carter and Brent Barry of the Clippers, but the difference is that Ibaka actually took off before the free-throw line. The 7-footer electrified the crowed and announcers, but not the judges seeing he only got a 45 for his first dunk.
DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors was the second dunker and did a play on Isaiah Rider’s between the leg dunk calling it “East Bay Funk Remix”. It took him a couple of tries, but he finally got it down to get 44 points in front of his home crowd.
DeRozan is a Compton, California kid that played his high school years at Compton High and did one year at University of Southern California before being drafted by the Raptors in 2009.
JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards was the third dunker and brought out another basket for a two-basketball dunk trick. The 7-footer looked like he was going to try and top Dwight Howard’s 12 foot rim dunk, but lined them up side by side to try and dunk two basketballs at the same time.
McGee threw one of his basketballs off the backboard while holding the other one in his hands to dunk both of them one after the other. McGee tried the dunk repeatedly missing, and at one point he tried to dunk both basketballs at the same time but his arms were not long enough. He finally got the dunk down and the crowd went wild and the judges gave him a 50 for his efforts.
The hometown guy Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers had the pleasure of going last and did not disappoint. Griffin took off the dotted-line and did a two-handed 360, but missed the first one and gave the crowd the look like I got this. Griffin on his second try smashed it in and got 49 points from the judges.
The second round began and Ibaka got help from a stuffed monkey and a little kid who wanted his toy back. Ibaka went up to grab the stuffed money with his teeth as he came from behind the backboard. Ibaka missed the first one and came back to get it on his second try for a 45 to come in last with a total of 90 points. Ibaka gave the monkey to the kid and security rushed the kid off the court.
DeRozan had his second chance and pulled off a dunk called the “Show Stopper”, and it was just that as the crowd went wild. DeRozan lobbed his-self the perfect pass to do a one handed windmill from one side of the basket to the other side. DeRozan caught the ball with one hand and kept the ball in that same hand till he dunked it in the basket. The judges were wildly impressed with the dunk and gave him 50 points to give him 94 points total.
Griffin was third this time and Griffin used all the time on the clock to get his second dunk down. He was assisted by teammate Baron Davis who threw the ball off the side of the backboard so Griffin can try and do a two-handed 360, but missed it more than once. As time ran out Griffin looked like he just wanted to get a dunk down and he did with a windmill dunk off the pass from Davis. The dunk that he wanted to do would have probably got 50, but he got a 46 instead to keep him in second.
The final round began with McGee having the highest with 99 points, Griffin was second with 95 points while DeRozan was out with 94 and Ibaka was out 90. The final round was a fan vote, and with the fans voting anything was possible.
McGee said he was going to dunk three basketballs this time, and got some help from his mother who wooed the judges with kisses on the cheek after she brought McGee a third basketball in a black case. McGee had teammate John Wall throwing up the third ball while McGee dunked the first two. McGee tried it a couple of times before finally getting it down.
McGee had one basketball in each hand and came from the side to dunk each basketball and grab the third one to finish it off.
Griffin’s third dunk was a spin off Vince Carter’s elbow dunk but Griffin threw it off the backboard to put his elbow in the rim. Griffin snatched the basketball out the air with his head almost at the rim and stuffed his arm in the rim, hanging there for awhile. Once Griffin got down you could see where he had his arm in the basket, with a big red mark on the crease in his right arm.
The final dunks were on and Griffin was the first one up, and he brought it all with a car and a choir. While Griffin was waiting for the Kia Optima to be rolled out into place, Kenny Smith brought out the Crenshaw High Elite Choir to sing the R. Kelly song “I Believe I can fly”.
With Davis looking out the sunroof of the car Griffin ran from half court towards the car and jumped over the hood while Davis threw him a pass for a two-handed dunk. After the dunk Griffin stood on the car and stared at the crowd.
McGee had his chance to snatch the crown from Griffin and did his best with a reverse one handed dunk. McGee went from the side of the court down the baseline, and took off ducking his 7-foot-frame under the basket moving his head so it would not hit the backboard to jam the ball going away from the basket with one hand.
Griffin walked away with the honor of the Sprite Slam Dunk award, giving him the Los Angeles Clippers their second dunk winner since Brent Barry in 1996.
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