Michael Jordan, who really should need no introduction, turns 49 years old today. To commemorate that and the upcoming Slam Dunk Contest, here’s a highlight video of 3 of Jordan’s Slam Dunk Contest Performances — his duels with Dominique “The Human Highlight Film” Wilkins, one of which he won and one of which he lost, and his win over Jerome Kersey the year ‘Nique was injured.
All three contests feature Jordan taking off from the free-throw line, and the first contest features him doing it while wearing some gold chains. These dunks probably wouldn’t score high in next Saturday’s contest, but something tells me that Chase Budinger and Iman Shumpert aren’t going to generate the kind of electricity and buzz than MJ and ‘Nique did in their classic late-80s dunk-offs.
What exactly was he going to do for an encore, anyway? Jump over a Zamboni?
There will be a new NBA All-Star Dunk Contest champion because Blake Griffin is not going to defend the crown, he said Thursday. From ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“As of right now I don’t plan on being in it,” Griffin said Thursday night. “Those dunk contests aren’t my thing, I said that last year. There’s a lot of guys that can put on a great show and do some good stuff….
“Last year was hectic and it kind of made it unenjoyable,” Griffin said. “So this year, we’ll see what will happen, but I will try to tone it down a bit and get a break instead of being so busy.”
Last year he was the new star in Los Angeles and the game was in his home town and building, which meant a lot more responsibilities. And that he had to go over the top for the dunk contest. So he did and jumped over a Kia with Baron Davis throwing a lob out of the sunroof.
This year was no-win for him — he would have had to out-do the car dunk and if he didn’t win the contest it would be an embarrassment. If he won, it was expected.
It does take a little wind out of the sails of the contest though; Griffin would have been the biggest name in it. Blake’s buddy and teammate DeAndre Jordan could represent the Clippers. Utah’s human pogo stick Jeremy Evans has a campaign going. We’ll see who else wants to step up and take the crown. And we’ll see if guys keep going in the direction of the prop-assisted dunk (over a car with a choir singing) or if it goes a little more old school.
LeBron James is one of the more powerful dunkers in the league but he’s never don the Dunk Contest All-Star Weekend. He obviously could get in whenever he wants, but he had an injured ankle a couple years and was too cool for school some years. Three years ago he said he would do it, then kind of let the issue drop and backed out.
“I have thought about it before and a few times in the past I kind of had an ankle injury that kind of kept me out of it and a couple of times I was just like, ‘You know what, I’m going to go in here and rest my legs for this weekend and then get back to the regular season,” James said. “But, I mean, they say a lot of the greats have done it and I’ve watched it over the years….
“I don’t know, I’ll be on the fence every year about it,” James said. “It’s always a fence year for me. I know they’re getting tired of me, though, so I’m not even going to start up nothing.”
He’s going to choose rest again this year, just watch. But the temptation is still out there.
Right now there is only one guy campaigning for a spot, that is Jeremy Evans of the Jazz. He’s already got the viral videos going.
Dwight Howard will be center stage All-Star Weekend in Orlando — the guy with the trade demand will either be in a different uniform or still in a Magic jersey but with trade rumors swirling around him and dominating the weekend.
What he will not be center stage at is the dunk contest.
NBA players Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee and Shannon Brown talk dunks and get their pictures taken dunking in suits. Which might be the next barrier to break at the Dunk Contest. Plus there is a fantastic article from Free Darko himself Bethlehem Shoals.
Here are our two favorite dunk quotes from the spread:
“If you’re just dunking by yourself, it’s really nothing special. You have to dunk on someone—then you feel like you’re demoralizing them.”
“When I dunk, I’m in the air for a while, almost in a daze or a trance. I embrace the moment and let everyone take their pictures.”