This is far, far from official… but we pretty much all knew that the NBA was going to invite high flying No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins to the All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest. So this tweet from Hoopshype Canada seems very realistic.
For the record, the All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night, Feb. 14, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Friday and Saturday night’s events are in Brooklyn, only Sunday’s game itself is at MSG). His teammate Zach LaVine should be in the mix with him for the Dunk Contest. With those two it will be a real show.
Why is it good Wiggins is in the Dunk Contest? Glad you asked.
Right now, the Lakers are 10 games back of the eighth seed and the final playoff spot in the West. The Suns are on a 46-win pace with the Thunder and others chasing them, while the Lakers are on a 25-win pace.
It’s safe to say the Lakers are not making the playoffs.
With that reality, and considering the Lakers’ desire to keep Kobe healthy for one more year of the farewell tour, there is buzz the Lakers may try to shut him down. On Wednesday coach Byron Scott said that could happen somewhere after the All-Star break, reports Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
First, Kobe would have to sign off on this, and he very well may not. He’s not really that kind of guy, plus he feels a genuine responsibility to the people who pay to come see him play. He doesn’t like to let those people down.
Kobe is just going to be on a maintainance program for this season and next. It will be interesting next season, with that one considered his last, how much he’ll want to be out there for every game for those same reasons.
This story starts when Gerald Green was back in the sixth grade. He had his mother’s class ring on when he tried to dunk on a makeshift rim (what, you couldn’t dunk in sixth grade?). He went up but the ring — on the ring finger of his right hand — caught on a nail and ripped his finger down to the bone and created other problems. Doctors said the only option was amputation near the middle knuckle.
Green still made it to the show but didn’t feel comfortable talking about his hand when he came into the league. Not that it really slowed him down. The man won the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk contest and his athletic, high-flying game won him fans at every stop. He’s now a key part of the Suns rotation, has rounded out his game, and is just more comfortable with himself as an NBA player.
So the Suns are going to pay tribute to him soon with this foam hand giveaway.
Yes, that is serious.
And I think it’s great. If Green is comfortable with this it is an inspirational story of overcoming obstacles to reach your dreams. A lot of guys would have shelved their NBA dreams the day he lost a finger, but Green has become a solid, popular NBA player.
Plus, those are the best foam hands ever. Well done, Suns.