Dunk Competition

It’s about that time again. The NBA All-Star Weekend is underway and the dunk competition is fast approaching tonight. Needless to say, I don’t think people are nearly as excited for this year’s contest.

Too bad Blake Griffin isn’t going to defend his title this year because not only would we get to enjoy his unbelievable hops, but we would also already know who the winner was going to be. That’s right. I said it. The dunk competition has more or less become a popularity contest that is more about the pre- and post-dunk celebrations and showmanship than the actual dunk itself. Don’t get me wrong, I still like watching it, but it’s just changed a lot over the years and seems much more dried out. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the contestants because I mean, come on, how many different dunks and possibilities are even humanly possible? Maybe it’s just me, but I would rather see a guy perform great dunks, ala Vince Carter, over all the showmanship, ala Nate Robinson.

Even today, in my opinion, I still feel as though Vince Carter’s performance in the 2000 dunk competition was THE best ever and that competition was one of the best ever as well. I feel like the contest has been on a downward spiral ever since “Vinsanity” took over in 2000. Sure, there have been great performances and memorable dunks, most notably Jason Richardson and his performances including his alley-oop, under-the-legs, reverse jam. Nothing, however, can measure up to what Vince did in 2000 though. Let’s take a look at some highlights of that contest.

This year’s contestants consist of a lot of new faces and no real big superstars. That is actually one thing I’m sort of looking forward to. It’s the whole “unknown” and “surprise” factor that comes along with these guys and not really knowing what they can do. None of them necessarily have the popularity won over another like Griffin would either. Let’s go ahead and get to know this group a little better:

  1. Paul George – SG/SF / Indiana Pacers / 2nd year / Fresno State / 6’8″
  2. Derrick Williams – SF/PF / Minnesota Timberwolves / Rookie / Arizona / 6’8″
  3. Chase Budinger – SG/SF / Houston Rockets / 3rd year / Arizona / 6’7″
  4. Jeremy Evans – SF/PF / Utah Jazz / 2nd year / Western Kentucky / 6’9″

When looking at this list, I’m actually excited to see if these guys can come up with some things that will surprise everyone and how they do when the lights come on. I think conventional wisdom would lead us to placing the “favorite” label on D-Will because of the explosiveness we’ve seen out of him so far in his rookie year and last year in college. The guy who is my favorite player of this group and who I really want to win is Paul George. I also think that George is actually going to win as well. I was going to pick Shumpert before he was replaced by Jeremy Evans, simply because he seems like the one who would be the most celebratory and I figured his pre- and post-dunk showmanship would be the best. I also figured, correctly at that, that he would involve Jeremy Lin somehow and the crowd would pretty much love it no matter what as long as they got their dose of “Linsanity” which would have given him a few extra points from the judges. However, I can’t really figure out who, out of this group, will be the biggest showboater, therefore I’m going to have to pick my favorite guy, Paul George. Plus, I have also heard that he has something surprising planned so I’m looking forward to it. With all that said, who do you think is going to win?

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Derrick Rose lands potential $200M shoe deal

Derrick Rose lands a potential $200M shoe deal with Adidas. It’s confirmed that Rose’s contract with Adidas is 14 years and $250 million dollars.

Source: Yahoo! Sports

Kyrie Irving leads Team Chuck to Rising Stars game win

Kyrie Irving won the MVP of the NBA Rising Stars Challenge.

Source: ESPN

Jim Calhoun of Connecticut Huskies plans to return next Saturday, source says – ESPN

Jim Calhoun plans to return to the bench next Saturday against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Source: ESPN

3-Point Competition

Is a repeat in order?

Unlike the dunk competition, the 3-point contest has absolutely nothing to do with judging and popularity and absolutely everything to do with who can make the most shots in the time alotted. Therefore, while the dunk competition is generally considered the main attraction and the more exciting of the two, the 3-point competition is definitely the more fair. Also, unlike the dunk competition, last year’s 3-point champion, James Jones, is returning to defend his title. Joe Johnson was supposed to take part but was a scratch due to injury and has been replaced by Kevin Durant. Let’s take a better look at all of the contestants:

  • James Jones – SG/SF, Miami Heat, reigning champion, 42.0% 3PT this season, 21 3PTM this season, 40.3% 3PT career
  • Kevin Love – PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves, 34.8% 3PT this season, 49 3PTM this season, 36.5% 3PT career
  • Ryan Anderson – PF/C, Orlando Magic, 43.4% 3PT this season, 99 3PTM this season, 39.2% 3PT career
  • Mario Chalmers – PG, Miami Heat, 45.6% 3PT this season, 68 3PTM this season, 36.7% 3PT career
  • Anthony Morrow – SG/SF, New Jersey Nets, 40.2% 3PT this season, 68 3PTM this season, 43.9% 3PT career
  • Kevin Durant – SF, Oklahoma City Thunder, 36.5% 3PT this season, 58 3PTM this season, 35.8% 3PT career

When looking over the contestants, there are a lot of great shooters as well as big name superstars. I really feel like nobody is the favorite heading into this contest and that anyone can win it. Personally, my pick is going to be Ryan Anderson. He’s just been on fire all year and is having an amazing year. He almost has 100 threes made already (99) and is averaging 2.9 per game so far! If he keeps up that rate, it will be the highest since 2007-08 when Peja Stojakovic and Jason Richardson averaged 3.0 per game. He’s also shooting the second best 3PT% of all the contestants this year behind only Chalmers (45.6%). Another big factor he’ll have on his side is shooting in his home arena and with a hometown crowd cheering him on. My dark horse for the event has to be Anthony Morrow. He’s a guy that nobody is really talking about right now but is known for his 3-point shooting. He has a smooth stroke and has easily the best career 3PT% of all the contestants so definitely watch out for him. With that said, who do you think is going to win?

Prosecutor seeks change of venue in Oklahoma State Cowboys Darrell Williams case

We may see a venue change in the Oklahoma State Darrell Williams case.

He faces five felony charges alleging he “inappropriately touched” two women.

Source: ESPN

Rising Stars BBVA Challenge

The Rookie-Sophomore game has changed up a little bit this year. Usually, in years past, it would be a group of the best second year guys facing off against a group of the best rookie players so far. However, this year the NBA changed it up a little bit. Instead of Rookies vs. Sophomores, this year, the NBA had Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal be the managers of the two teams and they drafted their teams. This mixes Rookies and Sophomores onto the same team and should make it a little more interesting, especially with as big of personalities as Shaq and Chuck drafting and managing the teams. They also decided that “Linsanity” couldn’t be possibly left off the rosters, so they added Lin and rookie Norris Cole to the mix. Beforehand, Shaq was heavily favored as I’m sure most viewers figured Shaq at least had a decent of idea of what he was doing. Shaq even joked that he was the “black Pat Riley.” Here are both squads:

  1. Team Shaq                                                                                                 2.  Team Chuck
  • Blake Griffin, LA Clippers                                                                             Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Jeremy Lin, NY Knicks                                                                                  DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
  • Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves                                                     Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns                                                                     Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats                                                             MarShon Brooks, NJ Nets
  • Landry Fields, NY Knicks                                                                             John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • Norris Cole, Miami Heat                                                                               Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons                                                                 Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
  • Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers                                                  Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
  • Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons                                                                      Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz

Shaq took no time at all in taking Blake Griffin with his first overall pick and then Chuck surprised by taking Kyrie with his first pick. I think Shaq did a nice job by teaming Lin and Rubio with Griffin because I think they fit nicely together. However, I think Chuck has a more versatile team and I don’t understand why Shaq decided to draft Morris so early. When watching it, it looked like he just threw a name out there because of the clock expiring. I would like Shaq’s team a lot better if he would have picked John Wall ahead of Morris, Walker, and Fields, but for some reason both guys let Wall slide until Chuck finally took him with one of his last picks. The last four picks of the draft were randomly drawn and Derrick Favors was an injury replacement for Tiago Splitter.

When looking at both rosters, I feel like this could be a very close and entertaining game. Ultimately, I like the versatility of Chuck’s team and really like the backcourt of Irving and Wall as they are two of my favorite players in the league. I also think that Wall might come out attacking and playing with a chip on his shoulder after being passed up so many times. So, in conclusion, I’m going to have to pick “Team Chuck” as the winner of this exciting game. What do you guys think?

Rasheed Wallace Rumors: Forward to sign with Los Angeles Lakers

Rasheed Wallace will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to sources.

“His days as a starter in this league are gone,” said the source. “I think he knows that, and so do the Lakers. But think about it. Of the big men that are available, is there one that’s really better? And if he’s gotten himself in shape, adding him becomes a huge get for them.”

How about finding a guard that can score in a variety of ways? That’s what they need to compete for a NBA title.

Source: A. Sherrod Blakely 

Top 5 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Dunks of All Time

With the NBA Slam Dunk Contest coming up, I thought it would be a good time to put out a top 10 NBA Slam Dunk Contest dunks of all time. There are so many candidates that could be on this list; and if some of those players do not make this top-five list, it is in no way disrespecting them. It is pretty difficult to comprise such a list with so many great dunks. This list might not be the dunk that won the individual the title, but simply the best dunks of the contest. I would love to see LeBron James vs Blake Griffin in a dunk contest, but I doubt we will ever see that.

1. Vince Carter: Reverse 360 Windmill Dunk, 2000

No. 1 on this list is Vince Carter’s reverse 360 windmill. This was just spectacular dunk. This was in the first round. He would wow the crowd a couple more times in this contest, but this dunk was simply ridiculous. During the broadcast, TNT announcer, Kenny Smith uttered the words “Let’s go home! Let’s go home!” When you pull a dunk like this in the very first round, then you probably deserve to win the contest, which is what Carter did. I remember watching this live, at nine years old, and simply having my jaw drop in amazement. This is regarded as one of the best dunk contests of all time.

2. Michael Jordan: Free Throw Line Dunk, 1988

His Airness, Michael Jordan, graces my list at the No. 2 spot. A lot of people will argue that this should be No. 1, but not in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, whoever thinks it could be number one has a very strong case. This is one of the most memorable dunks of all time, not just in dunk contests. When people think of a dunk from the foul line, they think of MJ. This was the 1988 dunk contest, and he needed a score of 48 to tie Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks. Jordan ran from the opposite end of the court, and then took off from the free throw line. While in the air, he pumped the ball, before slamming it home. Jordan received a score of 50, and thus won the contest.

3. Jason Richardson: Alley-Oop, Through the Legs, Reverse Dunk, 2003

In the 2003 NBA Slam Dunk Contest finals, Jason Richardson squared off against Desmond Mason of the, then Seattle Supersonics. Richardson was looking to repeat as champion, but he needed a 48 to tie and a 49 to win. He got a 50 on a remarkable dunk. He often, and still to this day, passed to himself, and that was the case here. He started from the baseline corner, threw the ball up, caught it, put it between his legs, and dunked it reverse style with his left hand. This was something new, and he pulled it off perfectly.

4. Andre Iguodala: Behind the Backboard Alley-Oop, 2006

Andre Iguodala had the other A.I., Allen Iverson, assist him with this dunk. He ran from behind the baseline, caught the ball off the back of the backboard, where Iverson had thrown it, then ducked under the backboard and dunked the ball backwards. One of the greatest dunks I have ever seen. It took him a couple tries, but when he finally got it, it was awesome. He should have won this dunk contest, as Nate Robinson, who is listed at 5’9”, won, but took 18 tries to complete his dunk. One of the most memorable dunks I have ever watched live.

5. Vince Carter: Between the Legs off a Bounced Alley-Oop, 2000

Once again, Vinsanity makes the list. In the same dunk contest as his dunk on the number one spot, Carter would have all sorts of spectacular dunks. To me, this was the second best. He was assisted on this dunk by his cousin and then-teammate, Tracy McGrady. T-Mac stood in front of the hoop, bounced the ball in the air, and then VC15 leaped, grabbed it, and put it between his legs and dunked it home. After finishing the dunk, Vinsanity mouthed the words “Its over.” This was another jaw dropping dunk. Carter assisted McGrady earlier in the contest, so this was really fitting.

Originally, I was going to make this a top 10 list, but I decided to reduce it to top 5. There are a ton of dunks that could have gone in my top 5, but these, in my opinion, are the five best dunks from the NBA Slam Dunk Contests.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)
Isaiah Rider- 1994
Spud Webb- 1986
Dwight Howard- 2008
Nate Robinson- 2009
Tracy McGrady- 2000
Larry Nance- 1984
Michael Jordan -1987
Dominique Wilkin- 1990
Kobe Bryant- 1997
Dee Brown- 1991
1988 Slam Dunk Contest
2000 Slam Dunk Contest

Merrimack College player breaks 2 defenders ankles

School is in session and Merrimack College freshman Chloe Rothman is teaching us about breaking ankles.

Watch as this D-2 women’s college basketball player crosses-up two defenders, sending them on the floor. After the carnage, Chloe finds a wide open teammate under the hoop who proceeds to blow an uncontested lay-up. Even without the basket the damage was done and this play will forever haunt the defenders basketball careers. Somebody get a medic, we have 4 broken ankles on the court!

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