Tuesday, February 26, 2008


If there was ever a doubt that Superman could fly, 6'11 Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard answered that question with his cape flying, gliding dunk from the free throw line in round 2 of the 2008 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest. Crowned the winner by unanimous vote by the All-Star judges (Magic Johnson, Darryl Dawkins, Dominique Wilkins, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, and Karl Malone) and 78% of fans worldwide, Howard's high flying antics were reminiscent of Michael Jordan, Dee Brown, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant hey day when the windmill, 360, one hand reverse, blind (one hand covering the eyes) and gliding from the free throw line were king. It was these dunks that set the standard for excellence and raised the bar to make the dunk contest the most anticipated event during All-Star weekend next to the All-Star game.

Since then there have been dunks that have captured the attention of and delighted audiences everywhere and earned that player entry into the dunk contest hall of fame.

2000 -- Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
Reverse 360 dunk
Through the legs off the bounce dunk
Two-handed dunk from the free throw line
Vince Carter 2000 Slam Dunk Contest

2003 -- Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors (Only dunk champion to two-peat since Jordan in the 80's)
Two-handed off the bounce reverse dunk
One-handed reverse (off the bounce, racing down the baseline and jumping with his back to the basket)
Jason Richardson 2003 Slam Dunk Contest

2004 -- Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors
Underhand, off the glass, between the legs, one-handed dunk
2004 Slam Dunk Contest Highlights

2005 -- Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Off the glass (at an angle), high off the glass, off Steve Nash's head for an alley-oop, spinning with a one hand flush dunk
2005 Slam Dunk contest Highlights

2005 -- Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks (Second youngest player to be crowned Dunk Champion)
Donning a Wilkins throwback jersey, windmill dunk
Leapfrog over Kenyon Martin, for an alley-oop dunk
360 reverse spin dunk

2006 -- Nate Robinson, New York Knicks (Only player under 6 ft other than Spudd Webb to win a dunk contest)
Bounce pass for a soaring jump over Spudd Webb dunk

Nate Robinson 2006 Dunk Contest Highlights

Regardless of the intensity and notoriety that the past 6 years of dunks have ignited, no dunk contest winner has sparked more recent hype than Dwight Howard. Living up to his hype in the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest, Howard rocked the crowd with an donning a superman cape and shirt, launched off the ground from just beyond the free throw line, skyrocketing the ball through the net, erupting a wave of perfect ten cards shooting up in a tidal wave of thundering applause and flashbulbs.

Technically speaking, the dunk of the night was a shot but WHO CARES?!! This year fans witnessed a return to creativity that the contest has only witnessed in spurts. Howard put the hit out on returning champ Gerald Green early, rounding out the first round with a head behind the backboard dunk. It was a improved version of Andre Iguodala's 50 in 2006. Held to the edge of my best friend's couch, the replay of Dwight Howard spinning and contorting his body mid-air, released a chorus of oohs and ahs, followed by a bevy hysterical giggles from my lips as my friend and I expressed mass disbelief at the monster dunk that had just flashed across the screen.

You gotta be KIDDING ME! This 6'11 wonder with the broad shoulders and boyish white tooth grin had just banged a 50 pointer home!

A tough act to follow would be putting it lightly but somehow, Minnesota Timberwolves guard, Gerald Green putting the icing on the cake so to speak with a dunk he called "Birthday Cake." I swear if the replay hadn't been shown on this one, the genius of this creative dunk would of been lost on me. As I watched, Green climb a ladder, place a lone cupcake at the top of the basket and climb back down, I couldn't fathom what he possibly was gonna do? Sing Happy Birthday? Dunk without making the cup cake fall off the rim?

Maybe next time, he'll don a birthday hat, dunk, blow the candle out and lick icing off his fingers after taking a bite! Ha ha

(MJ on the Evolution of the Game)

“I’ll give you a great example of the evolution of the game,” Jordan said. “In the slam dunk contest, the major feat was to take off from the free throw line. Dr. J was the first to do it, then I did it. What was different about the way the two of us did it?” When a pause produced no answer, Jordan said: “Dr. J, when he took off, he ran. I dribbled, which is harder to do because you’ve got to get your rhythm together. People never even noticed that. That was my way of improving on what Dr. J did. That was taking it to the next level—the evolution of the dunk. And then in the All-Star Game in 2000, Vince Carter took off with two hands from the free throw line. That’s the evolution of how change happens. Dr. J ran, I dribbled and Vince Carter is adding the two hands, which is increasing the norm.”

The evolution of the slam dunk champion continues...

More on 2008 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest

2007 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest and Past Dunk Contests

Friday, February 15, 2008


On Sunday, February 3, 2008, the nation witnessed the greatest upset in Super Bowl history. The second most watched Super Bowl game saw the New York Giants (10-6 during the regular season) and Eli Manning be transformed from underdogs to the princes of New York and Super Bowl XLII champion darlings. What formula of success did they follow? What lone tactic did they execute to go down in history books as the first NFC wild card team to win a Super Bowl while simultaneously robbing Las Vegas of $2.6 million (Can you say all time record?)? Here’s a peak into the Giants not so hidden arsenal of gridiron weapons. Patriots, are you listening?

– I Can of Whoop Ass -- It was a 3pt loss to the Patriots 38-35 during the regular season that gave the Giants their road rage, resulting in a wild card playoff bid and three playoff wins against the Bucs, Cowboys and Packers on the road. Yes having a can of whoop ass unleashed on you sometimes does wonders. In the Giants case, it was a good old fashioned ass whupping that gave the Giants their swagger and confidence to go on to become record setting Super Bowl champions.

Eli Eli Manning – America’s goofy kid brother seemingly shed his dork status overnight. From stealing Tom Brady's mojo with a 12 play drive of his own to shaking off four or five defenders in a scramble, Eli’s antics on the field have gained him an upgrade into the rising quarterback league with the likes of Tony Romo, Ben Roethlishberger and Drew Brees, a Super Bowl ring, an Super Bowl MVP trophy and a horde of advertisers foaming at the mouth. Early in the game, Manning ignited a scoring drive with a 45 yard pass to rookie tight end, Kevin Boss and a perfect end zone strike to David Tyree to seize the lead, 10-7 in the first half. Not bad for an ex-prima donna criticized for poor decision-making and leadership skills.

1) Defense – Giants defensive ends, Michael Straham, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora know something about the phrase, “Defense wins championships.” The Giants defensive line accomplished what no other team could do all season; Put a lock on the Patriots virtually unbeatable offense, holding them to 81 yards and 7 points in the second half while putting Tom Brady in the pressure cooker (Brady was sacked 5 times. The most sacks Brady received all season).

Giants leave Brady dazed and confused

20 Rookie Class 2007 --Perhaps the most unlikely of heroes, wide receiver Steve Smith (drafted in the second round from Southern California), tight end Kevin Boss (drafted from Western Oregon in the fifth round) and Ahmad Bradshaw (drafted in the seventh round from Marshall). Smith delivered his best performance carrying for 50 yards with five catches, four of which resulted in first downs. Kevin Boss set up New York’s first touchdown in the first half with a catch for a 45 yard Giants gain. Bradshaw utilized his speed while Brandon Jacobs tore at the Patriots defensively. Jay Alford, another rookie notable, delivered one of Tom Brady’s sacks forcing two ill fated ‘Hail Mary’ plays that ultimately sealed New England’s fate.

Rookies deliver crown for Giants

Whether you take into account the above four factors or you just realize the Patriots just played poorly, the Giants are the thrilla in manila that had 97.5 million viewers glued to their seats. Will they repeat? Probably not, but the 1972 Miami Dolphins team will forever sing their praises as the team that single handedly saved their undefeated record and posed the question ‘How will the Patriots be remembered?’ in analysts minds nationwide.

Related articles:

The ten things we learned from the Giants Superbowl win
Giants staggering win watched by record 97.5 million
Giants win costs sports book record $2.6 million
Supernatural catch by Tyree one for the ages