All-Star Saturday: Dunk of the Night

LAS VEGAS -- I was a bit torn coming into the Slam Dunk Contest last night. I couldn't decide between Gerald Green and Dwight Howard. I knew that Gerald Green had unbelievable hops and the showmanship to wow the crowd, but at the last minute, I decided to pick the 6-foot-11 Howard because he had the most impressive in-game dunk the past two seasons - better than Vince Carter's posterization of Alonzo Mourning last season.

On a fastbreak last season against the Celtics, Jameer Nelson threw a lob that seemed impossible for any human to catch. Instead of leading him with the lob, Nelson tossed it backward and Howard needed to extend his arm completely behind his head and still send it home. I know it's not like posterizing someone, but degree of difficulty has to be taken in consideration. I also knew that Howard had a kiss-the-rim dunk in his back pocket. I thought people needed to see it.

Judges in these competitions typically don't like big men in the slam dunk contest - it truly is discrimination! Larry Nance, at 6-10, won the first slam dunk contest in 1984. Since then, no player Nance's height or taller has won. But I thought that we had moved past this, people. It is 2007. Apparently we haven't progressed as much as I had hoped. Howard got robbed, my friends.

Green, the eventual champion, definitely was a great entertainer last night; he had two of the best dunks -- catching a pass from Paul Pierce off the backboard and ramming it with two hands and dunking over last year's champ and multiple dunk misser Nate "Don't Ever Give Up" Robinson (after he intended to dunk over a Robinson cardboard cutoff) - but Howard had the best dunk of the night.

Howard caught an alley-oop lob from Nelson with his right hand and slapped a sticker on the glass backboard with his left hand before dunking. He then pointed toward the backboard. The Jumbotron then revealed his smiling face on a sticker with the all-star logo high above the rim. Nelson then got out a tape measure to measure the height of the sticker. An announcer said it was 12 feet, 6 inches.

No matter how tall you are, that's getting up. Okay, let's break down how hard this was.

Catching lob from Nelson with one hand. Degree of diffculty (on a 10-point scale): 8
Nearly slapping the top of the backboard. Degree of difficuly: 12
Catching a lob from Nelson with one hand while nearly slapping the top of the backboard: 15

I looked over at the Mt. Rushmore of Slam Dunk judges - Dr. J, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Carter and Kobe Bryant - and I couldn't believe what I saw. Jordan was holding up an eight. An eight!!!! I wanted to stick the letter "H" over the "G" on my Gatorade bottle and hand it to Mike, because he was hating.

Overall, Howard got a 42, when he should've received a 50. It was inventive, athletically absurd and hilarious. Did I mention Howard had his smiling face on the Vegas all-star logo?

He didn't get out of the first round. The kiss-the-rim dunk never saw the light of day. (And trust me, Howard can dunk while kissing the rim. DeShawn Stevenson can confirm it). We was robbed, I tell ya. Afterward, Howard said, "We had some tough judges. I put it up there pretty high. I guess they didn't get it."

I get it. Big men need not apply for the Slam Dunk contest. You gets no love.

By Michael Lee |  February 18, 2007; 1:01 PM ET
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"Overall, Howard got a 42, when he should've received a 50."

I thought so also Mike.

I mean it was cool to see some different stuff, but I've never seen anything like that. Maybe that happens all of the time at practice with some teams players, but to me that really boggles my mind to thijnk about it.

That really left me in awe.

That was the craziest thing, like ever.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 18, 2007 2:34 PM

Lots of people thought so....Cheryl Miller was honored today at the NBA Legends brunch and Dr. J introduced her...she asked him what in the world he was thinking by not giving Howard a "10" - his reply was something about Howard being "tall" - a cop out.

Posted by: Lisa | February 18, 2007 6:35 PM

Lots of people thought so....Cheryl Miller was honored today at the NBA Legends brunch and Dr. J introduced her...she asked him what in the world he was thinking by not giving Howard a "10" - his reply was something about Howard being "tall" - a cop out.

Posted by: Lisa | February 18, 2007 6:37 PM

That was one of the best dunks ever. The fact that you didn't know it until he pointed to the sticker added to the effect. Phenomenal dunk! He definitely got robbed!!!!

Posted by: kblack | February 18, 2007 7:47 PM

That was one of the best dunks ever. The fact that you didn't know it until he pointed to the sticker added to the effect. Phenomenal dunk! He definitely got robbed!!!!

Posted by: kblack | February 18, 2007 7:48 PM

My highlight of watching everything is just seeing Gil, Caron, and Jordan introduced.

I must admit I got a little choked up tonight seeing that and it made me want the Wiz to win the whole thing even more this year.

Hands down, Jordan is the BEST dressed coach in the NBA. His wife taught him right. ;)

On a side note, does Barkley ever have anything good to say about the Wiz? I mean this is getting rediculous. Magic and the others were saying how nice it was the Gil was giving out Wiz "Zero" jerseys to many of the fans and the only thing he could say was "Those jerseys are ugly."

Mike and Ivan, tell him Ray back in DC is going to sick Robin Ficker on him unless he starts saying nice things about the Wiz. I know he knows who that is. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 18, 2007 10:27 PM

I demand the judges be Larry Nance, Shawn Kemp, Darryl Dawkins, and Bill Walton.

Then there will be some big man justice.

Posted by: dc | February 19, 2007 1:15 AM

Best line of the night had to be;Jordan is the Russian judge!

Posted by: GM | February 19, 2007 6:54 AM

I think Gilby's self promotion came to a crashing end when he did nothing during the all star game. He tried to light up the hibachi, but forgot the propane.

Nothing was really working for him, and people sure as heck did not want to see someone just launching 3's from the outside all night. They want to see dunks, moves, flash.... Gilby shot seven 3 pointers and made 2, making him 3 for 8 for the night.

Posted by: Dc Man88 | February 19, 2007 7:02 AM

So last night I settled down to watch a meaningless All Star game and to enjoy the athleticism. I told myself "don't sit there and analyze the coaching rotation. It's just an exhibition." But as the west loaded up with assists and the east players especially tried to play one-on-one streetball" to make highlight films, and as Dwight Howard, an absolute monster in the middle who could have scored 55 if they fed him the ball... and then as they went to a lineup of Carter, and Butler at fowards and Jermaine O'Neal at the center and the western lead and dunk-fest got worse and then there were no other adjustments to this, I just reminded myself that this was not a Wizards game. "It was just an All-Star game. Just enjoy it for what it is." So I slept in peace. But I woke up this morning with an uneasy feeling that it was more than that.

Posted by: BmoreRev | February 19, 2007 7:54 AM

People want dunks,so he gave them the time out dunk with the mascots. At least the guy was having some fun, I bet he was the class clown in school! The rumor was Shaq put him up to it, wonder if the big guy will pay up this time. But, there sure would have been hell to pay if he hurt himself on that stunt!
Watching the game you've got to admit that about the only player who took it seriously was Kobe. A good time was had by all, mostly off the court. Now it's time to get back to real basketball and the playoff run.

Posted by: GM | February 19, 2007 8:10 AM

Ray, I agree with you about Barkley...which is one reason I really wanted Bavetta to win the Barkley/Bavetta race. It would be wonderful if the Wiz actually make it to the finals just to shut Barkley up.

However, after seeing the game last night -even though it was all for entertainment - I can't see any way the East comes out the victor in the Finals...the West is just too loaded.

DC Man, what's with all the Gilbert hate? Did he hit on your girlfriend or something? Actually, he did much better last night than in his previous All Star appearances so I was glad. And the dunk he made on the trampoline was priceless.

Posted by: Lisa | February 19, 2007 9:17 AM

One good thing: Ivan, I actually saw Wes Unseld, Jr. smile....TWICE!

Posted by: Lisa | February 19, 2007 9:25 AM

Lisa, The rumor is that it cost Shaq $50,000.00 or as Barkley would say two hands at the Black Jack table.
By the way, are we sure DCman88 isn't Barkley?

Posted by: GM | February 19, 2007 9:41 AM

"Best line of the night had to be;Jordan is the Russian judge!"

Yeah, I think Mike Wise's piece today says it all and makes me wonder if there is a little jealousy with the old guard.

There's finally a "post" MJ league now, something that the young players can identify with that everyone was so worried about. I don't think the young bucks disrepect the old guard, it's just a different generation thing is all.

Gil is going to get yelled at by the organization for jumping on that tramopline at half time. :)

The guy is nuts!

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 19, 2007 9:54 AM

"DC Man, what's with all the Gilbert hate? Did he hit on your girlfriend or something?"

He's clearly a misplaced Philly fan. Who else hates on their own players so much? He's probably just bitter that he was born too late to boo Mike Schmidt.

Posted by: burke | February 19, 2007 2:53 PM

Lisa, I'm glad that something that happened during warmups entertained you. Hope you didn't waste time watching the rest of the game.

I'm just calling Gilby's bluff. He said he was going for the MVP, was going to win the 3 point contest, etc., but came away 3 for 8 and looked like he didn't belong. Sorry Gil.

I love Caron and Antawn, but not too much love for Gilby. As good a game as Gilby has, he's more talk than game. That's saying a lot. Much more.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 19, 2007 5:53 PM

All you dudes (Burke, GM, etc.) out there showing overwhelming love for Gilby, are ya'll on his payroll and trying to be his boy? Does he have you running errands like buying more underwear?

Lisa, is he bedding you good and that's why you're showing him so much love? Kept woman?

Posted by: Dc Man88 | February 19, 2007 5:57 PM

The only redeeming part of All-Star weekend is Saturday night. The 3 point shooting contest is the only event that you really see everyone's best effort. Somehow, the dunk contest manages to hang on by its fingernails. Howard's dunk was insane. He was robbed.
I love Barkley (OK...full disclosure here, went to Auburn with him). His comments are on the mark. If you watched Dallas/Houston last Thursday, you saw real playoff teams at work. I just hope the Wiz wake up...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2007 8:55 PM

The worst event was definitely the stupid shooting skills with the WNBA player. You knew it was going to be a long night b/c the old farts couldn't hit the 3's, especially Michael Cooper.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 19, 2007 9:10 PM

"Hands down, Jordan is the BEST dressed coach in the NBA. His wife taught him right. ;)"

Eddie Jordan may be well dressed (if he is now, he'll lose the crown when Pat Riley returns), but he's got to do something about his mug. He not a good looking man, and he needs to get a consistent haircut. Everytime I watch him getting interviewed, I wonder why someone doesn't tell him to get his lower grill fixed. It's scary.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 19, 2007 9:18 PM

Clearly, whoever wrote Eddie Jordan is the "best dressed" coach in the NBA is of a very shallow nature. Good Grief Charlie Brown!!!!..the man makin millions of dollars is missing his darn TEETH..which are also brown BTW. It makes you wonder if he bathes. The Eastern All Star Team looked like the Wizards. Kudos to the guy that went to Auburn w/ Barkley.
Gilbert Arenas and his self promotion is sickening. He is obnoxious with it. As DCMann88, Barkely and K. Smith said..the guy is all about Gil. Is he really Jesse Jackson in disguise? If there's a camera, reporter and publicity..he'll prostitue himself forever. He's like the chics in Vegas walkin round half naked for attention. You folks really need to get out sometimes.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2007 11:03 AM

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