This sounds like a really dumb video. And it probably is. But for some reason, watching seven minutes of the “top” 70 missed dunk contest dunks in NBA history is rather entertaining. Much more entertaining that the 2010 Dunk Contest at least.
Here are the highlights:
At 0:56, Terence Stansbury falls down comically.
At 1:15, Jerome Kersey, yes, that Jerome Kersey, awkwardly flails at a self-lob attempt, which leads to this comment from the announcer: “I don’t think he wanted to do it with the left hand, Steve.” I think you’re correct, Phil. Also that’s what she said.
At 1:45, Shawn Kemp’s misses a windmill that probably could have won this year’s contest.
At 2:04, as always, John Starks sucks.
At 2:25, a human being actually says this following about Clarence Weatherspoon: “He reminds me of a young Charles Barkley.” Then Clarence airballs a dunk.
At 3:00, Antonio Davis severely overestimates the amount of air in a basketball.
At 3:19, I learn that a guy named “Jamie Watson” apparently once played in the NBA.
At 3:38, Darrell Armstrong makes a reverse layup.
At 4:06, we see the infamous Michael Finley cartwheel.
At 4:57, J-Rich misses his attempt at a 360 elbow hang. That kid just wasn’t human.
At 5:06, they inexplicably show only one of Birdman’s 387 straight misses.
At 5:15, Amar™e drinks some serious Sprite — reverse Sprite even.
At 5:21, Iggy damn-near decapitates himself.
At 5:35, we hear this non sequitur from Sir Charles: “I think Big Baby was eating all his food.”
At 6:20, we see the best dunk that Shannon Brown had after they #letshannondunk.
NBA-centric human interest stories usually tend to be repetitive. It’s not that I don’t care about the struggles that individual people had to go through in their lives, and I definitely don’t want to suggest that tales of overcoming the hurdles of socioeconoimic decay have become cliche’, but there is a commonality running through many of the most oft-heard backstories of those populating the NBA (and the NFL, for that matter). The Chris Anderson and Trevor Ariza stories that have resonated recently have both been interesting but, with all due respect to those guys and what they have overcome, Gina Marie Incandela has become by far the human interest star of the 2009 Playoffs.
When Gina was about 2 years old she was diagnosed with PDD NOS (an autistic spectrum disorder). The pervasive development disorder diagnosis was a result of evaluations soughtbecause Gina could not speak at age 2. In fact, Gina did not really start speaking words until after age 3.
Fortunately, she was able to find some good doctors and start getting some therapy to help her adjust. And, in time, she was able to figure out her own way to operate as someone whose brain operates differently than most other people in society.
Gina has worked very hard over the past few years to reach every goal set for her. Now, this beautiful child that once could not speak, has established herself as an up and coming vocal star. … She still works hard every day to function in a world which she perceives much differently than most. But, she gives every day her best efforts. She never gives up and she is a shining example of what children with disabilities are capable of when they are given the tools they need to succeed.
This little girl has come so far in such a short period of time. When people meet Gina today they focus on her abilities, not her disabilities.She is an amazing individual. She has surpassed everyone’s expectations for her. Many families that receive a similar diagnosis are struck with fear and react with denial. They are overwhelmed with the feeling that their child will never achieve the same goals as other children. Well, Gina is an example that these children are capable of wonderful things.
Wonderful things indeed. Until last night, the Magic were 7-0 during this year’s Playoffs when Gina Marie sang the National Anthem before a game. Unfortunately, that streak was broken last night. But while that’s a cool little factoid that helped give her story additional exposure, actually getting to hear her sing is what makes this such a good story. And, even greater than that, is getting to watch the happiness on this seven-year-old’s face while she patriotically takes everyone in the arena to church.
Earlier today, I shared with you a Birdman quote of infinite genius. Unfortunately, you will not find anything quite that good in the video below of the best quotes from the 2009 Playoffs, but there is a lot of good stuff here. And LeBron’s introductory quote reminds me of Nick Naylor’s “Michael Jordan plays ball. Charlie Manson kills people. I talk,” which is always a good thing.
Now that the Nuggets have evened up the Western Conference Finals at two games a piece, it is becoming increasingly clear that these two teams are who we thought they were. The Lakers have the most talent in the NBA and they are pretty difficult to beat when rolling on all cylinders. But the Nuggets are gritty, ornery and infuse an infectious emotional charge into the game that regularly disrupts the objectives of any team they play
In a cold, calculated series played in the half court and predicated on execution, the Lakers would be everyone’s clear favorite. That type of play, however, no longer seems possible in this series.
On TNT’s Inside the NBA, Kenny Smith’s most common refrain is to discuss how every great team always has an identity. You cannot just be a good basketball team; you need a style of play that defines you. I am pretty sure that the Lakers do have an identity even if I can’t define it (professional inconsistency, maybe?). But something I am absolutely certain of is that Denver does have a style.
Last night, for example, the Nuggets effectively won the game in the first three minutes of the second quarter by taking the contest to a place where this team shines above any other remaining in the Playoffs. The Lakers had been out-played for the whole first quarter as well, but after Kobe hit two shots in the final 35 seconds of the period — including an impressive, driving bank shot as the buzzer sounded — the Denver lead was down to three and the Lakers seemed to have taken some momentum going into the quarter break. But as the Nuggets would soon show, “seem” is the key idea in that sentence.
Right out of the huddle, JR Smith drove the lane and found a wide-open Chris Anderson for a commanding alley-oop dunk. A minute later, after several Denver offensive boards and a JR jumper, Anderson again inflamed the PepsiCenter crowd with a sudden, vicious block of Shannon Brown’s lay up attempt. Then after yet another scoreless Laker possession, JR missed a three but tracked down his own offensive board, knifed through traffic and finished with a right-handed lay in from the left side.
The Nuggets were up 11. The Lakers never caught up. Sure, there was more to this foul-ridden game than those few minutes, but the start of second quarter (altogether Denver went on a 17-5 run in the quarter’s first six minutes) summed up this win.
And, more so, that second quarter summed up this entire Nugget team.
Carmelo and Chauncey are Denver’s undisputed captains. They execute and they provide unwavering assuredness for the rest of the team. If the game is close, they slow it down and make all the major decisions.
Kenyon and Nene are Denver’s anchors. They bang, they defend and they bang some more. Like the interior tandems of Dale Davis/Antonio Davis or Charles Oakley/Anthony Mason before them, they don’t do anything fanciful, but they fill the paint with enough grime to ensure that guys like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom never get comfortable near the hoop. Basically, these two guys force a tactical, whitewater kayaker like Pau to prove he can also manuever in a swamp.
Then comes JR Smith and Chris Anderson: Denver’s bone marrow. They are raw, relentless and unrestrained. They only know how to play one way and there is no dimmer switch. JR is the more versatile of the two with three different settings: (1) shoot, (2) drive, and (3) shoot. Chris Anderson has but one: Birdman.
Of course, without Chauncey and Melo, this team would be a joke. And without Kenyon and Nene, they would be too soft to contend. But without JR and Birdman, they would have no soul. And if we witness the Nuggets reach their first NBA Finals next week, I have a feeling that Denver’s bone marrow will be the main ingredient.
(This great Birdman interview/puff piece ran last night during half time. via @JumpShot911)
“You gonna have to talk to him about that” just beat out the entire Yao/Artest press conference as my favorite quote of the Playoffs thus far.
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