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The Dunk is Overrated

Seriously.  It’s a dunk.  They happen all the time.  Why do we still care?

As we close in on Saturday’s Dunk Contest, I confess myself indifferent – or really, just down right uninterested.  And no, not just because the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest will be a hard faught battle between Derrick Williams, two guys I’ve never heard of, and Jeremy Evans – who I think I’ve heard of, but then again I might be thinking of our local State Farm guy.  So why?  Because the dunk is easily the most overhyped, overblown play in sports.  Far worse than anything Tebowmania ever produced – at least Tebow gave us something different.

Mike Powell, Getty Images

Look, I’m a casual observer to the NBA condition, but in no other sport do we celebrate something so commonplace.  No sports talk show ever opens with: “Hey!  Did you see Curtis Granderson settle under that routine fly ball last night?  Amazing!  Let’s spend the next six hours talking about whether or not that’s the best routine put-out of all time!”  You know why?  Because it happens every game, and because the mental faculties of those engaging in such a conversation would be seriously questioned.

I mean be honest with me, are there two guys in the NBA who can’t dunk?  I’m betting no.  J.J. Redick?  Steve Nash?  Sure, they look about as likely to throw it down as that middle aged dude wearing goggles at your local Y’s pick-up game, but like Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump, stick ‘em on a community court catching alley-oops from Wesley Snipes and I’m betting that you’ll find both Duke graduate and the Canadian doing chin-ups on the rim.

I’m not trying to say that dunks are never impressive, but we’re getting more than a little carried away with it. Too often, I sit on my couch and watch Sports Center’s Top Plays looking for a gorgeous hockey save and instead am given ten dunks that look exactly like the ten dunks I saw the night before.  I don’t know, maybe we’re mentally stuck in the days where the uniforms showed too much leg and dunking wasn’t common place; where each time someone rocked the rim with authority it was a big deal.  But that’s just not the case today.  And does anyone want to go back to that time?  Anyone interested in what’s top left here?  I didn’t think so.

Look in today’s NBA – where there’s not exactly a wealth of interior defense, you’re allowed to take as many steps as you need to get your momentum going, traveling be damned, and where the entire league is filled with physical specimens who are as athletic and strong as they are long and tall – I refuse to be impressed.  Find me a dunk we don’t get every single night and I’ll get interested (looking at you Blake Griffin, you’ve done it a few times).  But until that time, this dunk below remains the only one I really care about.

Now that’s a dunk: Jump from half court, posterize the Monstars, full extension on the arm, and for the win – to say nothing of how it saved Charles Barkley’s career…

Okay, well, thanks to my in-depth analysis of Space Jam I’ve officially lost 90% of my audience.  Before that goes to 100%, let’s just say goodnight.  Goodnight everybody.

@JoeBianchino

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