The fact that Blake Griffin was crowned dunk king 2011 is no surprise. Throwing down monstrous jams in front of hometown fans with viewers all over the world texting in votes to choose a winner almost ensured that he’d go home with the trophy.
But, while Griffin even had a miss that brought the house down, took the “elbow” dunk to the next level by throwing the ball off the glass before throwing his entire arm through the hoop, and pretty much ended the night jumping over a car and throwing down a two hander, I’m not sure if he had the best dunk of the evening.
Personally, I’m fond of both the dunks that DeMarr DeRozan pulled off, with his first dunk really standing out to me as he caught a lob off the stanchion and then went between his legs for the finish. His second dunk where he lobbed the ball to himself and then caught the ball one handed and cupped home a crazy finish was just as good.
Meanwhile, the other contestants were throwing down monsters too. Serge Ibaka took off from the free throw line with his first dunk of the night and got head high at the rim throwing down a second.
JaVale McGee spent most of the night testing the limits of what we thought was possible by first dunking two balls on two different baskets and then trying to top that by throwing down three balls all on the same hoop. His under the rim cradle dunk was one of the best I’ve seen in a while after actually seeing it in slow motion.
And maybe that’s the real lesson from the night. All four guys had an arsenal of dunks that had the crowd ooh-ing and ah-ing all evening. Any of the four guys could have advanced to the finals and I’m sure any of them could have won considering what they showed on the big stage. The fact that Griffin is now the champ shouldn’t take anything away from what the other guys put on display for us to see.
So, what was your favorite? McGee’s double rim hammer? Maybe his up and under cradle? Griffin’s off the side of the backboard finish? On of DeRozan’s? Ibaka’s tribute to Jordan and Dr. J?After thinking more about it, I’m actually having trouble choosing myself.
I liked Blake Griffin’s over the car dunk best, I do not think that has ever been done before, and his 360 dunk was pretty cool also.
I liked the creativity push going with all 4 competitors. I felt JaVale was best personally. But the fact that he went from best to worst dunk as the competition went on, while Griffin got better, doomed him to lose. That also goes with the knowledge it was going to take something miraculous to beat Blake in L.A., with all the hype that had built around him over this entire season.
I thought it was a bit too much to have a KIA car be the winning dunk, although it was a great marketing job by KIA. I find it interesting that many of the media folks are making sure that Griffin is jumping, not over just a car, but over a KIA Optima when they write about it. Oh well. Official sponsor and all that, but I somewhat feel for Sprite 😉 Who knows, next year we’ll have somebody drink a can of Sprite on his way up or something.
But in general, I liked all of them and really things are improving with the outside-the-court props and all that.
They all deserve major props for creativity, but DeRozan’s dunks were insane. I actually thought Griffin’s off-the-glass elbow dunk was his best of the night. McGee was the most innovative and Ibaka should probably have been facing him in the final round.
Easily the best dunk contest I’ve seen in years. Not one of those 12 dunks was a dud, although McGee’s last one was anticlimactic. Only negative was that most of them took multiple attempts, but given the difficulty that was understandable.
I believe DeRozan was robbed again from being crowned by the pre determined judges and crowd. By far he had the better dunks like last year. This is making the nba look like the wwe, real fake. I was already convinced with last years finals but, this just justifies the ref who wrote the book on how bias the nba has become. Too worried about making the big dollar.
If Blake Griffin would have pulled off what he really wanted to do with his second dunk, my mind would have literally exploded. With that being said, I really enjoyed JaVele McGee’s multiple basket dunk. The degree of difficulty on that one was much more difficult than what he made it seem (not if only he can put as much effort into his actual game as he has in this contest… but that’s a different story for a different day).
Both of Derozan’s dunks were fantastic, as well. I kind of wish Ibaka would have made it to the finals. I just feel like he had something absolutely spectacular planned.
Hopefully they get rid of the fan vote. Part of the Slam Dunk culture is the judges holding up the score cards, and the Final round misses that. But the burden on crowning the champion on the judges, that’s the way things are supposed to be. Great dunk contest though. Definitely top 3 of the past decade in terms of entertainment value.
Matt R. says
I wasn’t all that impressed by Griffin’s last dunk of the night. He didn’t jump that far or that high. He jumped over the hood of a car. That’s what? 3 or 4 feet?
I think the more impressive thing about his last dunk was that a Clipper tried a stunt that involved jumping over a car and didn’t suffer a career ending injury.
I thought DeRozan had some amazing dunks. I thought it should have been DeRozan and McGee in the final round.
In the end though, the thing that sunk McGee was not having a backup plan for his very last dunk after “Serge already did it.”
McGee’s first dunk in the final round was probably my favorite.
Had Griffin actually managed to pull off the 360 pass off of the side of the backboard from Davis, that would have been my favorite of the evening.
I agree with Joel, the most amazing thing about this contest is that each of the 4 guys brought insane creativity to each dunk.
Blake had the best presentation and hype courtesy of Kenny Smith, but if you actually dissect the dunk, it wasn’t that impressive. He just jumped over the low part of the car, which any number of guys could have cleared. Jumping over the high part of the car (the middle) would have been much more impressive. His first dunk would have been INSANE if it had gone down, I haven’t seen anyone ever dunk with that velocity of spin.
Javale was my guy going into it, and I love the creativity he brought. The thing that hurt him (in my eyes) was that it took him so many attempts. If he had nailed his two multiple-ball dunks on the first tries, it would have been one of the best performances of all time. His under-the rim cradle was a bit like Vince Carter’s elbow-in-the-rim – when it happened, no one was quite sure what he had done. But the more you watched it in slow motion, the better it got.
DeRozan surprised me. The behind the legs one was great, but his second one might have been even better. It should have been DeRozan and Javale in the finals.
Serge got robbed on the first one, but I think part of it was the finish was a bit shaky – not really emphatic, like we’re used to. I thought the 2nd one was just cheesy. A little too close to the ridiculousity Dwight and Nate brought.
At the end of the day, none of them jumped over a moving car. Which means Kobe still owns all of them.
I agree with Phillip in that the fan vote will always unfairly favor hype and entertainment. But the judging process needs to be fixed. In the last 5-6 years, the judges have been consistently awful. They usually hand out 9’s and 10’s on the first dunk of the night, so that when someone tops it, they can’t give them a higher score. Maybe going to half-points would be a easy fix.
To answer Darius’s question, I really can’t pick a favorite. Every time I think about it, my answer changes. For me, it’s between DeRozan’s 2nd dunk and any of Javale’s first 3. If I had to pick, I think I’d take Javale’s 3 balls dunk. Not as smooth as his under the rim cradle, or as flashy as DeRozan’s, but just so, so creative and through the roof in terms of level of difficulty.
one word. JAVALE.
Jim C. says
Javale’s dunks were freaking sickening. Honestly, I felt that Blake’s dunks, even the one where he jumped over a car, while impressive overall clearly trailed all three of the people who DIDN’T win.
When you think about it, his car dunk really was no different than a normal alley-oop given that he jumped over the front of the car and not the middle. Impressive, but not as much so as the other folks.
This was a popularity/marketing contest and it made me feel a bit bad for the others. Outcome here was predetermined.
Neither liked the teddy bear dunk nor the car dunk very much. Especially since the car dunk has been done much better:
I liked Javale best, he had me giddy up until the last one. Had he gone solid dunk X + 3-ball dunk in the first round and gone with the under-the-backboard and the two-baskets dunk in the finals, he could have won it. The lesson: bring an extra dunk just in case…
Loved Derozan’s reverse off the bounce, this was just an elegant clean-cut dunk like in the old days.
Darius Soriano says
For what it’s worth, Blake said after the event that he wanted the chorus to surround the car and he was going to jump over all of them! He then explained that Kia said that he couldn’t “cover the car” and that it had to be in view. Ha.
Blake was the 3rd best dunker that night.
Has Kia already released the Optima coupe or is that for 2012?
Andres Garcia says
If Blake had completed the first dunk attempt, that would have been the sickest thing I’ve ever seen. As it was, that miss was still probably the most impressive thing of the night for me.
I don’t think people realize that there has been others who dunked over the TOP of a car already. Knowing that, I was disappointed by the last Griffin dunk.
Ibaka had the best dunk of the night. MJ and Dr. J both got 50s for their free throw line dunks, so wtf? Ibaka had a true behind the line dunk.
Darius, in that case, i think he could have had the chorus scatter in fear and ‘reveal’ the optima 😉
dave m says
It was definitely one of the better dunk contests in recent years. A case can be made for any of the four, they were throwing down with power.
Kaifa – nice link. I couldn’t tell who it was but it didn’t look like Hook Mitchell who was the earliest car dunker I knew of but I’m sure there were earlier. He was Shaw and Kidd’s contemporary in Oakland, lived a very messed up life and spent a lot of time in prison, never made it to the league.