Tag Archives: zach lavine

The Dunk Contest is Alive and Well

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The participants in the 2016 NBA Dunk Contest included, Denver Nuggets SG Will Barton, Pistons Center Andre Drummond, Orlando Magic PF Aaron Gordon, and defending champion Zach LaVine. The contest kicked off with Barton and Drummond scoring sub-par scores which left fans wondering if this would be another lackluster event. But then the event changed course when Gordon threw down a between-the-legs reverse dunk, this got the crowd going. LaVine answered with a behind-the-back reverse slam, scoring a whopping 50 from the scorer’s table. After this, it was obvious that the contest would be decided between these two heavyweights. Back and forth they went, one spectacular slam-dunk after another. LaVine’s success came from his multiple slams after leaping from the free-throw line and Gordon’s highlight of the night was when he executed a between-the-legs over the mascot dunk which many are claiming one of the greatest dunks ever performed in the history of the Dunk Contest. The two high-flyers ended the night in a dunk-off which eventually saw Zach LaVine walk away with the hardware for the second straight year. This contest provided the entertainment and fun that fans and media had been hungry to see, from the variety of crazy slams to the reactions of LaVine’s teammates and competitors.

The media held this dunk contest in high regards along with the fans. Stephen A. on first take went so far as to say, “To me the Slam-Dunk Contest was resurrected Saturday night.” He also went on to give his opinion on how he thought Aaron Gordon should have won and how Shaq dishing out low scores played a pivotal part in raising the bar to contestants so they would give a great performance. There were also multiple media personnel that compared the showdown of LaVine and Gordon to Dunk-Contest greats Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. This is the quite comparison and just demonstrates how these players have brought the event back to the forefront of All-Star weekend entertainment.

In my opinion, this contest certainly was entertaining and may have changed many people’s outlook on the competition. I thought even the 2015 dunk contest took a huge step forward in drawing in viewers and causing a buzz around the league as well as the twitter-sphere. We can only hope as fans and as media that the Dunk Contests to follow will be as entertaining as this one.

NBA Dunk Contest Revitalization: Zach LaVine

By Matt Stevenson

February 20, 2015

NBA All-Star Weekend has gained possibly the largest following of any sports regarding all-star games. The various competitions and games played by numerous players from across the league makes for a fun, high energy weekend. Of course, the event most pay attention to is the Dunk Contest. However in recent years the Dunk Contest has lost its vibe. The overuse of props and recycled dunks has many fans bored with the competition as it doesn’t even feature the best dunkers or big names in the contest as it once did.

The Dr. J free throw line dunk, Michael Jordan’s classic “Air Jordan”, and of course Vinsanity have all been created on the Saturday Night phenomenon. Yet as we see highlights from the Dunk Contest now, you don’t remember seeing recent years dunks as much as over a decade and further.

The ratings have been down and the media ridicules the competition for the lack of enthusiasm. This year though, a rookie from the Minnesota Timberwolves would have something to say about the lackluster contest.

Andrew Wiggins held up the MVP trophy at the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night, but his teammate Zach LaVine would steal the weekend with his almost heroic performance the following evening. Like a town in need of saving, the Dunk Contest needed a superhero-like figure and Zach LaVine delivered. Being a 90’s kid we all know of the classic movie featuring Michael Jordan, “Space Jam”. He was the hero Toontown needed to proceed happily.

Well Zach LaVine whipped out the Toontown jersey with the theme song playing in the background and put on a dunk performance for the ages. Flashy, original, and perfection are three words to describe what LaVine did at the contest. A self lob off of the court, LaVine rose up with the ball and put it between the legs and reversed it home for his first dunk. The second dunk he bounced off the court again, rising up with it and smoothly putting it behind his lower back and powering it in the hoop with a forceful jam. The crowd roared with energy, all-stars stared in amazement, the announcers were screaming with excitement,  and challenger Victor Oladipo along with Dr. J had a face that said it all.

Receiving the highest ratings in the events 26-year history, Zach LaVine had revitalized the once spectacular NBA Dunk Contest and made it spectacular once again.