One player dunking on another is always fantastic.
But some of the best jams come when the dunker artfully dodges defenders in the first place.
Mavericks forward Justin Anderson did that with this putback slam against the Pacers last night.
Twenty NBA teams started their seasons last night, providing a glorious onslaught of basketball unlike anything we’ve seen in months.
One of the best parts? It seems players forgot they were supposed to duck out of the way, rather than defend, dunks.
That led to some fantastic slams
Willie-Cauley Stein on Marquese Chriss:
An underwhelming season by the Pelicans put Davis in a strange light, and he ended the year sidelined due to injury.
Well, Davis sent a message to those who no longer view him as an elite franchise cornerstone. His opening-night performance:
The last player to score 50 in a season opener was Michael Jordan in 1989. No player since at least 1983-84 has matched Davis’ stat line across the five major categories in any game.
Yes, New Orleans lost – 107-102 to the Nuggets. But Davis’ teammates shot 36% from the field and 18% on 3-pointers.
Davis produced an all-time great individual performance. That the rest of the Pelicans couldn’t keep up says only so much.
He just knows how to make a splash in season openers.
Sevyn Streeter said the 76ers prevented her from singing the national anthem at tonight’s game because she was wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey:
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
This is why the widespread “unity” message preached by arm-locking NBA players left so much to be desired.
To the 76ers, unity meant silencing Streeter.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
No NBA players followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling during the national anthem in the preseason.
But that courageous form of protest still found its way onto NBA courts.
Another singer wanted to take a bold stance for the 76ers’ regular-season opener against the Thunder tonight by wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey, but she said the team stopped her.
A 76ers dancer performed the anthem instead:
The 76ers deserve some latitude to choose how someone uses their platform. But what about claiming black lives matter is antithetical to the 76ers’ brand?
The team did not immediately respond to request for comment. I will update if it does.