The 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest was more than a little too contrived in the opinions of just about everyone watching. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few dunks that are worth reliving, and Chase Budinger provided one of them for us in the event’s final round.
Twenty years ago, Cedric Ceballos won the dunk contest with this blindfolded number that was both exciting and innovative at the time. Sure, we all knew he could see through it, but it was an original idea that he pulled off on his first try.
Chase Budinger paid tribute to Ceballos, and his reverse jam on his second attempt while blindfolded was impressive. We wish he hadn’t excessively played up the gimmick by trying to make us believe he truly couldn’t see when he awkwardly tanked his first attempt, but on a night saturated with silliness, this throwdown was still one of the four or five best.
Rightfully most people think of him Suns player, but because I grew up in L.A. I gravitate towards his time as a Laker. I have a real soft spot for the Celballos, Nick Van Exel, Vlade Divac Lakers of the early 1990s. They didn’t win like the iterations before or after, but have mercy were they were fun to watch.
And when I think of Ceballos, this 50-point game often comes to mind. So enjoy some highlights, some Del Harris quotes, and memories of good days gone by.
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A long time fan of the Jazz breaks up with them. The lockout was the last straw. She is not alone.
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Apparently Jordan Crawford and Kevin Garnett had a little spat during some run. This stuff happens all the time, but it’s not shocking with these two participants.
One of the more popular NBA role players of his era, Cedric Ceballos is in a Phoenix area hospital after suffering a series of small heart attacks.
He is doing well enough to have released this statement.
“I feel blessed and very fortunate to be here today and to have made the decision to go to the hospital and get my symptoms checked out late last night. I ask everyone to keep me in your prayers as I make my journey back to good health. Thank everyone who has called and is concerned. While I want to respond and speak to everyone, I cannot right now, but will be in touch very soon. God bless you.”
Ceballos played 11 seasons in the NBA and was with the Suns for more than half of those. You probably remember him best for winning the 1992 dunk contest blindfolded. Unless you’re a Lakers fan, then you remember the Jet Ski incident.
He remains a part of the Suns organization as the public address announcer at games and does a lot of public appurtenances for the team around the area.
Cedric Ceballos is still in Arizona. No Lakers fans, not jet skiing on Lake Havasu, he lives there now. He’s the in-game MC for the Phoenix Suns. So, like the rest of us, he hopes to get back to his new job sooner rather than later.
“I should’ve done it (a few years ago) just so I could’ve learned a little bit more,” Ceballos said. “After talking to and learning from (Suns President and CEO) Rick Welts, he encouraged me by saying that I should go and learn and get as much knowledge as I could.”
Ceballos actually played with some ABA teams after his NBA career wound down. He wants to get into the ownership side of the NBA business and this seemed like a good way to learn. He and Ron Tilly will co-own the Phoenix Scorpions, an expansion team in the ABA. The ABA itself is one of the minor professional basketball leagues in the United States (a step or two below the D-League). Still, it’s a good place to learn.
‘I think that you would need somebody that has a proper basketball background,” Ceballos said. “All of the help I’ve been getting over the years with (Suns Managing Partner Robert) Sarver and (Suns Chairman Jerry) Colangelo letting me into the office, and just learning and being taught under Rick Welts, motivated me to get involved and take my crack at it.”
Ceballos may have his hand in the only professional basketball in Phoenix this fall, but he will still be an employee of the Suns, hoping to be working there again soon also.