Gerald Green won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, and who really cares. After last year's debacle, there was the glimmer of hope that rule changes may breathe a little bit of life back into this year's. No such luck. The judges are always horrible, and I think Nate Robinson threatens them with little man violence if they don't at least give him a charity pass into the finals.
Gerald Green had a nice dunk in the first round, Paul Pierce threw him a pass off the side of the backboard, he soared through the air and threw it down with two hands. Robinson had one good dunk in the first round, a pass to himself with a twist and two-handed finish, and one that was an absolute joke. David Lee stood in front of the hoop and held the ball up in the air, Robinson jumped, took the ball out of his hand, and dunked it. WTF? The difficulty involved in an alley oop is that the ball is moving and you're moving. This is like Ryan Howard putting the ball on a tee for the homerun derby. And this dunk put Robinson in the finals over Dwight Howard, who put a sticker on the backboard about 13 feet above the ground with his left hand, while he caught an alley oop from Jameer Nelson with his right and slammed it home. Michael Jordan and Dr. J gave him 8's for this dunk, everyone else gave him 9's. Not nearly enough to make the finals.
The finals were completely boring. Neither player tried to do anything innovative on their first dunks, then Nate Robinson tried to do a pass off the backboard to himself with a 360 finish, and he missed it 10 times before finally making it on his last attempt. Green jumped over a 2-foot high table on his final dunk for the win.
A couple of notes on the Slam dunk contest:
- The term "alley oop" derives from French allez-oop, the cry of a circus acrobat about to leap. (this must be true, I found the definition on wikipedia)
- Kenny Smith, one of the men who gave Nate Robinson a 10 last year when he finally completed a dunk after failing in his first 20 attempts said, "I think they should subtract points when they miss this many attempts." F-ing ponderous.
- Charles Barkley: "Any time a little midget do somethin' like this you gotta give him a ten." OK, he gets a pass because of the Bavetta win.
- I think it says something about the "guards" on the Knicks roster when Robinson chooses to have a power forward who really can't pass set him up in the slam dunk contest.
The Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout was put away by Jason Kapono with a near-record 24 point effort to lead off the finals. Nowitzki and Agent 0 choked after that. It was fun seeing Damon Jones completely spit the bit too, is there anyone out there who likes that guy?
Slam Dunk winner Gerald Green. Enjoy it, cause it's gonna be a while before you sniff the playoffs.