Let’s face it. In years past, the NBA All-Star Weekend‘s Slam Dunk Contest – the jewel in the crown of the weekend, more or less – has grown kinda stale. It’s not that the athletes and their abilities have been on the wane, though a lack of star-power certainly hasn’t helped things. It’s more that increasingly players have been relying on props and gimmicks to spice up their dunks, be it superhero capes and backing music or jumping over the hood of a freakin’ car.
The point is, not many have approached it in regular, methodical fashion: That is, get the ball, approach the ring, and throw it down as hard as you possibly can.
19 year-old Zach LaVine apparently reads more from the book of Vince Carter or Michael Jordan than Dwight Howard or Blake Griffin.
The Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard took the contest to levels not seen in years, throwing down some of the meanest dunks seen in an NBA arena in quite some time – enough to make tenured All-Star players lose their minds on the sidelines.
First, there was the Space Jam dunk, complete with a Number 23 Tune Squad jersey.
Then there was this beyond ridiculous behind-the-back effort.
This, with teammate Andrew Wiggins assisting. Which by this point had the crowd so enthralled all they could do was stand in awe.
And the final nail in the contest, which could very well be the best of an extremely good bunch.
In fact, so revved up was the crowd that practically the only person in the arena not actively on their feet during LaVine’s efforts was Dunk Contest rival Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic. Don’t get me wrong, his efforts were more than admirable, and in just about any other dunk contest he would’ve been walking home with the gold.
But sometimes, in those situations, it’s somewhat comforting to know that you got beaten by the best.