Monday, February 21, 2011

Defending Blake Griffin

Really America?

Have we become that spoiled, that we do not believe that a human being jumping over a car is the coolest freaking thing of all time? We’ve become that cynical, that jaded. People say “Eh. He didn’t really jump over the car, he only jumped over the hood". Have you ever seen a car? The hood is still pretty damned high/long/scary.

I shouldn’t have to defend Blake Griffin for his Dunk Contest win from Saturday. I shouldn’t have to defend a contest that has been legally dead since 1989 (but was briefly brought back to life in 2000. Thanks cryogenics!) But I am going to. The internet has turned against him, saying things like “JaVale McGee was robbed!”. The internet was once Griffin’s best friend, the friend that made his decimation of Timofey Mozgov a worldwide sensation. Now, we have headlines like Was NBA All-Star Weekend Fixed? We have homerific articles regarding JaVale McGee. Apparently, his 3-ball dunk was enough for the Washington area. They are easily amused.

I am going to go through each player’s dunks using a test I like to call “The Nerf Test”. I should not be able to do the dunk on a Nerf hoop. If I can do a between-the-legs dunk on a Nerf hoop, so be it. Time to raise the bar.

DeMar DeRozan:

His first dunk involved a teammate passing the ball off something on the side of the backboard, DeMar catching it a putting it between his legs and dunking it. This took approximately 12 tries. That is another thing. If it takes ten tries, it is not going to be as impressive as if you did it in one clean, smooth take. Don’t blame me for having a short attention span, I am just America.

Oh yeah, I could do this on my Nerf hoop.

His second dunk had DeMar doing the classic shoot the ball ten feet, have it bounce, then I dunk move. His dunk itself was very impressive. In fact, Kenny Smith called it, at one point, “The Most Underrated Dunk in Dunk Contest History”. They should really ration Kenny’s speaking time.

I am not so sure I could do this on a Nerf hoop. For starters, the Nerf ball doesn’t bounce high enough for me to pull this off. Could I do this on an even playing ground, bouncy ball and all? I don’t think so.

Serge Ibaka:

The most underrated dunk in Dunk Contest history has to be Ibaka’s first dunk, where he actually dunked from behind the foul line. I am pretty sure no one has every dunked from behind the foul line. Dr. J and MJ all dunked from in front of the foul line on their trademark dunks.

Ibaka actually took off from behind the free throw line, and no one cared. He got a 45. He had the longest dunk in recorded human history, and we shrug it off. What the hell is wrong with us. Obviously, I could not do this on a Nerf hoop. I would have my jump interrupted in the middle. I would get all air.

Ibaka followed this dunk by engaging in the most theatric/least exciting dunk in the history of the Dunk Contest. Some kid with an ugly haircut came up the Cheryl Miller, said his doll was missing (Seriously kid, you’re 8 years old. Grow up), then Ibaka saw the doll on the hoop. He jumped up (with a basketball for some reason. That seems pretty counter-active for rescuing the doll), dunked the ball and grabbed the doll with his teeth.

Of course, Ibaka missed the dunk the first time, and had to put the doll back onto the hoop. That kid must have been pissed.

I could easily do this on a Nerf hoop. In fact, lower the hoop down to 8.5-9 feet, and I could do this on a real hoop.

JaVale McGee:

For JaVale’s first dunk, he brought out two hoops. This of course, caused the TNT crew to go into a collective shock, as they have never seen two basketball hoops placed side by side. Unlike most, I did not really think this dunk was that impressive. This dunk fails the Nerf hoop test miserably. It is a creative idea, no doubt about it. But I am not sure it is a difficult one. With JaVale’s wingspan, he should have been able to do it on the first try.

His second dunk involved dunking three balls at the same time. Not to rain on JaVale’s parade, but he hung on the rim in order to dunk the last ball, and he laid the first two in. Just watch the tape. If there weren’t so many things happening at once, America would have realized that he only actually dunked 1 out of the 3 balls. As for the Nerf test, this fails. I could hold three Nerf brand balls in one hand, and throw it down with as little authority as JaVale did.

JaVale’s third dunk was his first impressive dunk (His first two both got 50’s. 50! Maybe it was the combined age of 476 of the judges, but how were they so easily amazed. Ibaka dunked from behind the foul line! He was better than you, Julius Erving! JaVale takes out a red-white-and blue ball, and you get ABA flashbacks and are forced to throw up a 10). Given the difficulty of him being 7’1'”, and somehow not breaking his neck on the backboard, I have to give him props. This passes the Nerf test.

I don’t think he had a fourth dunk. At least I didn’t see it. I am sure it didn’t pass the Nerf test.

Blake Griffin:

If I attempt Blake’s first dunk, the ball behind the head 360, I shatter my spinal cord. There is no doubt about it. If I attempt Blake’s second dunk, I hit myself in the back of the head with the ball. If I attempt Blake’s third dunk, I break my Nerf hoop. They have notoriously wimpy rims. If I attempt Blake’s final dunk, I destroy a new car. All four of his dunks pass the Nerf hoop test. That is why he deserves to win the Dunk Contest.

Because I can’t do his dunks. Isn’t that what the Dunk Contest is all about. Giant men with 40 inch vertical leaps doing things we could never dream of doing. Doing things we cannot even do on a Nerf hoop. Blake won that contest, there is no JaVale-doubt in my mind.

The Attic Fan’s Notes From All-Star Weekend

  1. There is no more annoying personality than Kenny Smith. Whether it was picking himself for the TNT NBA Superdraft (which meant he technically was calling himself the 60th best player in NBA history), being Blake Griffin’s Dunk “Coach”, making the half-court shot in the Haier Shooting Stars Challenge, no one annoyed me more this weekend than Kenny Smith. He beat out my little brothers, and that takes dedication.

  2. When I learned that John Legend’s spilled drink was responsible for the delay in the 1st Quarter of the All-Star Game, I had to think this. Why is John Legend sitting courtside? Shouldn’t he be a little more fiscally responsible? He isn’t exactly pumping out platinum records.

  3. Why don’t we just make the quarters 8 minutes long with a running clock, like in the Celebrity Game? No one gives a s--- about this game anyway.

  4. I miss Lenny Kravitz’s Macy Gray hair. The return of that will bring him back to prominence, I am telling you.

  5. Stevie Wonder sat courtside. I am sure he enjoyed the game.

  6. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant took a combined 49 shots.

  7. How did Joe Johnson manage to take 11 shots?

  8. LeBron had a triple-double. Very impressive. In a game with no meaning and no defense, it is nice to see that someone cared

  9. The first half did not really have the trend of jump shot/lob. It was all jump shot, no lob. Usually in the first half of these games, every possession ends in either an open jump shot, or an attempted ally-oop. It was all jump shots, and all excitement!

Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column for Email him at, to talk about the game or anything. Follow him on twitter @theatticfan.

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