Saturday, February 17, 2007

Will someone please ban Nate Robinson from the dunk contest?

This will be the only trophy the C's hold this year

The NBA Slam Dunk contest continued its swift journey into obscurity Saturday night in Las Vegas when the best dunk of the night was awarded one of the lowest scores and the man who needs 45 tries to complete 1 mediocre dunk almost won the whole thing again.

The Boston Celtics' Gerald Green took home the trophy after making 4 spectacular dunks: from teammate Paul Pierce off the side of the backboard; over fellow participant Nate Robinson while doing a Dee Brown imitation; off Pierce's lob pass from behind the backboard; and finally over a table set up in the middle of the paint for the one-handed winner.
Green beat out last year's winner Robinson; there were numerous fantastic dunks on the night but the little guy who needs a ton of attempts to pull off his stuff managed to get past Dwight Howard for the finals despite Howard nailing one of the best dunks in recent memory.

Howard, the 6"11 wunderkind of the Orlando Magic, had petitioned the league to allow him to dunk on a 12 foot high rim, instead of the usual 10', for his part of the contest. Apparently taking his cue from the No Fun League, commissioner David Stern nixed Howard's plan, using the standard "integrity of the game" bullshit excuse.

Guys this thing is more tired & washed up than Tara Reid. Couldn't you just look the other way this one time, for the good of the event and the benefit of the fans that are still watching, and let Howard attempt to pull off something that has never been done before?

Evidently not. Stern said no, but Howard responded by pulling off a dunk that nobody had ever seen before anyway, just for shits & giggles.

And he still lost.

To a midget who attempts more dunks than a squadron of cops at a donut shop.

Ever since the days of Spud Webb the Association has been obsessed with small guys with big ups. And back in Spud's day (early '80s), seeing a little dude get up near the rim and throw one down was pretty awesome, mainly because it had never been seen before. Now little guys from the local rec to the NBA can jam with regularity, therefore rendering the awesomeness of the feat a little less, well, awesome. Small guys dunking is still cool, but just not the incredible feat of athleticism it was regarded as decades ago.
Nevertheless the NBA has taken this love affair to ridiculous heights the past two years in this contest. Last year 5' 7" Nate Robinson of the Knicks took home the trophy despite needing 647 tries to execute his winning dunk, ironically with the assistance of Mr. Webb, the 1986 champion and only other sub -6' winner.

So what does the league do in light of that yawn-inducing fiasco? They invite Nate back and adjust the rules, allowing the contestants only 2:00 to complete their dunk, plus 2 extra after the time is up (huh?) Ah, okay.

But before Nate would use all of that time (plus the extra 2 dunks) in the final Howard would be robbed on one of the most creative and impressive dunks in the history of the contest. After wowing the crowd with a fierce throwdown from just inside the dotted circle in the first round that only netted a 43 from the panel of Dunk Gods- MJ, Dr. J, Kobe, Vince Carter and 'Nique- his second dunk defied all logic.

It looked innocent enough at first, as Howard swooped in from in front of the rim, took a toss from teammate Jameer Nelson, patted the backboard with one hand and jammed with his opposite hand. A nice dunk at first glance, but upon further review, and with the help of Nelson's tapemeasure & many slo-mo replays, we notice that Howard had placed a sticker, of himself, up on the backboard at a height of 12'6". Take that, Stern!

Way up there is a little sticker of Dwight's smiling face

And the judges gave him a 42.

And that's why the dunk contest sucks.

Little guys who need extra time to complete their dunks are rewarded and advance while big guys who come up with original ideas are denied and robbed of the chance of living the event up.

Maybe Stern should have let Tim Hardaway enter.

In other All Star Saturday night news Jason Kapono won the 3-point contest, compiling a near-record 24 points in the final to defeat Crazy Gilbert Arenas, and Dwayane Wade won his second-consecutive Skills Challenge title, besting Kobe. Also Charles Barkley beat referee Dick Bavetta in a foot race up and down the court, and a team made up of Bill Laimbeer, Chauncey Billups ans some WNBA chick beat the trio of Scottie Pippen, Ben Gordon, and another WNBA chick in the Shooting Stars competition when Pippen's team was DQ'd for shooting out of turn.

I did not make that up. At least that's what my son told me happened. I feel asleep on the couch after spending 6 hours at the Little League field today.

Well I'm off to the Outback Champions Tour Pro Am tomorrow to catch Bill Murray in person, then maybe I'll have enough energy to watch the All Star Game tomorrow night.

I just hope none of the players get arrested or worse in Sin City tonight.

But I know that Dwight Howard already got robbed.

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