Friday, February 15, 2013

Dunk Contest Memories with the Knicks



The NBA's premiere weekend is here and it's really not very exciting. It's always been a fairly ridiculous event, the allstar game and it's accompanying BS, but over the past decade it's really gotten silly. The game itself has devolved into less than a glorified pick up game. At least in a pick up game, both teams are still playing hard to win. It's more like 24 hung over guys goofin around and showing off for a couple hours, because that's exactly what it is. And the dunk contest and 3 point shootouts (once the centerpiece of All star weekend) have steadily declined as all of the big names refuse to participate. I don't care how good they are at dunking, nobody cares to see Jeremy Evans and Terrance Ross (two guys so bad they don't even get playing time for Utah and Toronto) battle it out. Nevertheless, the show must go on and this year All star weekend will be just crawling with Knickerbockers. You have Melo and Chandler in the big game, as well as Novak in the 3 point shootout and James "Flight" White fittingly participating in the no-name dunk contest. The Knicks have had quite a few guys dunking for Sprite throughout the years, though, some memorable and some not so much.

Doug Christie (1996)

Everyone remembers Doug Christie as a key member of the exciting Sacramento Kings teams of the early 2000s and for being a pussy whipped loser but most people forget his tenure with the orange and blue. Not much came of his time here, but he was in a dunk contest. 1996 was a weird time for dunking right before Vinsanity and after the glory days of the 80s when people were trying to do things like kicking it to themselves like Doug does here. This video is fun to see Patrick Ewing looking very excited, Kenny Smith in an amazing shirt and Reggie Miller choking himself in anticipation. The bounce between the legs off the backboard dunk was actually a Kenny Smith original.

Kenny Walker (1989) (Champion '89)

Kenny "Sky" Walker was a fan favorite in the late 80s for the knicks and it's easy to see why. He had the smoothest flat top (sorry Shumpert), and even rocked a gold chain during the contest ala MJ. He kind of looks like a skinny Heavy D. This one here was the winner, and it might not look so great now because, well, everything's been done now. You can tell by the reaction from Steve "Snapper" Jones and the crowd in the clip that this wasn't something that they were used to seeing. That's the thing about the 80s dunk contests, all this stuff was brand new. Nowadays, the average street baller could do half the shit Larry Nance could but back then it was pretty special. Anyway, Sky Walker was a cool guy.

John Starks (1992)

I'm not really sure how Starks snuck into the 92 contest as this was more than a year before his famous dunk against the Bulls and he really only had two types of in game dunks (either a side arm one hander or a two hand double pump reverse dunk) but here he is. Overall, 92 was a pretty good contest that included a pre back injury Grandmama, Plastic Man Stacey Augmon and most memorably Cedric Ceballos dunking while blindfolded (although legend has it he could see just fine the whole time). Starks's performance here is pretty boring (as such there's no standalone clips of it on YouTube) despite how excited Ewing is here. Check out those specs on Pat! You get the feeling that Ewing was just happy to have any of his teammates at All star weekend during the nineties with him.

Gerald Wilkins (1986, '87)

Aside from Peyton and Eli, athlete brothers are almost always unevenly matched. Brook and Robin Lopez, Horace and Harvey Grant, JR and his brother Chris Smith, Blake Griffin and whatever his brother's name is, Jason and Jeremy Giambi. And the Wilkins bros were no exception, as Dominique is one of the 50 greatest players ever and Gerald is known for being a self proclaimed Jordan stopper and failing miserably. Still, Gerald had a good couple years as a Knick and stood out as a high flyer. Good luck finding video of his dunk contests, but here's some highlights of his time with the Knicks and Cavs.

Nate Robinson (2006-2010) (Champion 06-08, '10)

Lil' Nate's a strange case. He should by all means be a fan favorite wherever he goes, and he's usually well liked especially by kids who can identify with his tiny stature, but he inevitably causes fan bases and coaches to hate him by the time he is ushered out of town. I don't know too many Knicks fans who were upset to see Nate go a few years back, and it's testament to how stupidly he could play and act that fans could turn on a guy who's under 6 feet like that. Still, that height is what propelled to him 3 dunk contest championships which is pretty much all the Knicks ever won from 06-10. His wins were somewhat tainted by how many attempts he would need for some of his dunks but dunking over fellow midget Spud Webb was a nice touch.

How will Flight White fare tomorrow? He's the odds on favorite to win it as of Friday afternoon, meaning the competition is not exactly stiff seeing as how he's a 30 year old journeyman who has maybe dunked twice all season. However it ends, expect to hear Kenny Smith lose his shit at least 7 times, and someone to proclaim the dunk contest is back. Also expect to hear Barkley poke fun at how unknown everyone is and there to be at least one celebrity used as a prop by one of the dunkers. See ya in Houston, everyone.

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