Sure, go ahead and pay attention to the judges - Michael something and that Dominique guy, some doctor and a couple of younger guys. But on Saturday night at the slam dunk contest, I had my own scoring system to gauge the worth of the rim-shakers: my professional credibility.
Gerald Green comes from the right side on his first dunk, soars to find the ball via alley-oop bounce pass, and seems to fly so high that his shoulders just might be skimming the rim. I see all of this out of the corner of my eye while sitting inside the Thomas & Mack, as I have stories to write on other topics and deadline is fast approaching. But Green's dunk was apparently so spectacular that it breaks into my subconscious, and before I know it I have broken the No. 1 media rule.
Just one clap, accompanied with some sort of look of astonishment in a moment in which I quickly segued back into "professional" mode. But you know what? The kid in me was still having a good time.
From what I could gather, the contest offered enough to excite the masses watching on TV, and had a definite nostalgic feel with Jordan and the others on hand. What's interesting is that a little birdie told me it could have been even better.
Green won, of course, with one of his dunks having a Vegas touch as he jumped over a gambling table. And apparently, that was nothing compared to what Nate Robinson had planned. The reigning champ from New York had concocted a super dunk with Palms Casino owner George Maloof, who arranged to have a gaming table and Playboy bunny/card dealer set up for Robinson to dunk over. They even tried the dunk at a local high school, loading the table in a truck and bringing the bunny to make sure it was possible. Robinson pulled it off, and I'm told it was spectacular. The league apparently nixed the idea for what one could only assume were image reasons, leaving Green's over-the-table act to help him win the night. But maybe it's a good thing Nate got nixed on what would have been another sensational feat. I might have clapped twice. - -- Sam Amick