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Nate the Great

By Sebastian Kotowski

Last night during the much-anticipated Sprite Slam dunk challenge, Nate Robinson became the first three-time Slam-dunk champion by edging out DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors in the final round. After a somewhat mediocre first round, which included apathetic efforts from Gerald Wallace of the Bobcats and Shannon Brown of the Lakers, the high-flying Nate went to work beating DeRozan with 51% of the fans' vote via text message or through NBA.com. Although its rewarding that at least one player from the Knicks can enjoy some kind of success, this year's contest was disappointing to say the least. In recent memory the participants of the dunk contest, besides Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson, have been end-of-the line bench players with some high-flying athletic ability. But these players have little to no marketability; they are relatively unknown players, which in turn unfortunately diminishes what they accomplish. To retain the magical ambiance that the dunk contest once possessed, the NBA needs to get superstar names into the competition. This year's festivities were a far cry from the contest's heyday when Jordan and Dominique were wowing the audience. We saw a slight resurgence with Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson; but after Nate announced yesterday that he is retiring as a competitor in the contest I fear next years lineup of dunkers. If they can somehow entice LeBrown to participate he might just save us all from another pedestrian competition. In fact, this will be the perfect opportunity for King James to be the savior that the game needs. If he throws his name in the mix, others will follow. If they can't get someone like LeBron to headline the competition maybe they should just allow D-Leaguer Taurian Fontenette a.k.a. "The Air Up There" to compete in the dunk contest. (He threw down the first ever 720, are you kidding me?)

Since last nights competition was such a disappointment, it got me thinking about previous years and what my all-time dunk competition lineup would be. So I compiled a list in my head that I figured I'd share with every.

1. Michael Jordan - You can't have a dunk competition without his Airness. Jordan was the first ever back-to-back champion and is regarded as one of the best dunkers of all time. He's a no brainer.

2. Dominique Wilkins - Dominique was the innovator of the windmill and paved the way for future dunkers. Not to mention his explosiveness and seemingly effortless power kept fans at the edge of their seats.

3. Vince Carter - Vince Carter's performance in the 2000 dunk contest to me has to go down as one of, if not the best performance in a dunk competition. Every single dunk is now shown on all the highlight reels.

4. Spud Webb - The first ever competition winner below 6 feet tall. When Spud dunks it's almost scary how much vertical he has. It's one thing when you see someone who's 6'5 throw down a 360 but when someone who's 5'7 does a 360, its in another league entirely.

5. Nate Robinson - I figured the first and only three-time winner deserves an invitation, and there's just something about sub 6-foot dunkers that amazes me. Every dunk he does just looks so much better because of the sheer vertical.

So there you have it. That's my ideal lineup for a dunk competition. I'm not sure who would win but I can guarantee it would be entertaining. Let me know if you guys think I left anyone out.

1 comment:

  1. Let me start by saying I am a die hard Knick fan. Now I can't stand Nate I love watching him put it in the bucket but, only because he is on my team. I hate the attitude he has where he thinks he deserves to be the superstar of the team while he acts like a 12 year old on the court. If you can't be the star on the Knicks...Nate has an issue. When he decides to grow up and be a team player he has a shot to be a valued player like a lesser Jamal Crawford or Ray Allen. As for his dunking it is all in his vert. His dunks are nothing special but this year it was made for him to win. Wallace is boring, Brown is usually a great dunker but he didnt bring his game, and DeRozen will be a winner in upcoming years but they had to give Nate his 3peat first.