By: Kevin Traynor
Lots of people can catch a football. Even more people can hit a baseball, but not everyone can dunk.
Since 1984, the NBA has annually celebrated their kings of flight during the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. Winners have varied in height and notoriety, but the feat still brings crowds to their feet.
“Jordan flew,” said Shaun Dunn, a student at Siena College. “Last year Dwight Howard jumped from the free throw line, but Jordan actually flew.”
In 1988, trailing with only one dunk left, Jordan looked lost. Then a familiar face offered some advice from the sideline. Julius Erving, the first person to throw down from the free throw line, told MJ to take off from the charity stripe. Jordan won with a perfect score.
Since then, Jordan has become the measuring stick to which every other dunker is held to.
This year did not lack in excitement.
After near perfect scores in the preliminary round, both Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson wanted to bring an extra element to their spectacle.
Howard stormed into a phone booth and re-emerged as his alter ego: Superman. Donned in a cape, Howard proceeded to throw down an alley-oop off-the-glass pass on a twelve foot hoop. Need I remind you that Howard is a casual 6-foot-10?
Robinson’s rebuttal was a thing of beauty. Clad in green, Robinson was the remedy needed to dethrone the reigning champ.
“Wait a minute,” said Tyler Thurston, a Marist junior. “Is he wearing Kryptonite green?”
Anchored in the paint, Howard stood still as Robinson readied for take off at mid court. With the green light from the tower, Robinson darted down the court, and cleanly leaped the foot taller Howard. The U.S. Airways Center erupted.
Did I mention that the ball he used was green too?
Howard had a chance to win, but his two-handed slam from just inside the free throw line was not enough to regain the lead.
Embolden in Kyrptonite green, the small man, Robinson, won 52% of the fan’s votes en route to victory.
This round went to Lex Luther.