Posts Tagged ‘Dunks’

 

The dunk is beautiful of course, but watch it a few times to appreciate the following:

  1. Alan Anderson (top of the screen) dances back on defence.
  2. Coach Casey is obviously upset that no foul was called.
  3. Quincy Acy gives the old “scuze me while I hump the sky”.
  4. Aaron Gray stays seated for a second, before realizing what just happened.
  5. Bargnani (bottom of the screen) just looks lonely throughout the whole play.
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2000 – Tracy McGrady

When Tracy McGrady lost the 2000 slam-dunk contest to Vince Carter, he was not just another victim of Vinsanity. He was the first in what would become a long and proud line of Raptors to lose the NBA’s dunk competition.

McGrady’s dunks are now footnotes to the night that belonged to his cousin, but they were all solid. Had he been in the competition a year later, he may have won with dunks like this one:

2008 – Jamario Moon

As the decade continued, Raptor participation evaporated, despite Toronto’s roster being filled with human highlight reels such as Lamond Murray and Loren Woods. But then, in 2008, Jamario Moon appeared came out of nowhere and started dunking on everybody. The former Globetrotter had the difficult task of being the first dunker in the competition. (Interestingly, McGrady and DeRozan also had to break the ice in their respective years.) But in 2008, Moon broke the ice with a gorgeous dunk:


(Note: The 2008 contest also featured two familiar faces teaming up for this dunk.)

2010-2011 – DeMar DeRozan

Next up was DeMar DeRozan, who turned losing the dunk contest into an art form. He lost to sentimental favourite Nate Robinson in 2010, and returned the next year, only to lose again to the prop-heavy theatrics of Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee. In 2011, rumours circulated that the contest was rigged, and DeRozan swore he was done with the whole thing. Only a Raptor could put together such an impressive repertoire of dunks and come home empty-handed two years running:

2013 – Terrence Ross

After last year’s yawn-fest, the 2013 edition boasts an impressive field of former champions, young stars, and international dunking legends. And right in the middle of all this is Terrence Ross, the only person who will be attending All-Star weekend in a Raptors jersey. Here’s the official Holy Craptors prediction for this year’s contest:

  • Kenneth Faried will finish 6th. A good in-game dunker, I have a hard time seeing how Half-Man/Half-Hair will impress in this one, especially given the competition.
  • Eric Bledsoe will finish 5th. He’s short, but not Spud Webb short. And without Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler making the call, his dunks might not be as impressive.
  • Jeremy Evans will finish 4th. Won it last year, but his closest challenger was Chase Budinger. I’m pretty sure John Lucas could beat Chase Budinger in a dunk contest.
  • Terrence Ross will finish 3rd. But his dunks will be beautiful. Some players just look good dunking. Vince Carter was one; give him a run-of-the-mill dunk, and he’ll make it look good. Something about Ross’ dunking motion is smoother than most players, and not many people outside of Toronto are familiar with his athleticism.
  • James White will finish 2nd, Gerald Green 1st. All eyes will be on these two, who competed in the 2010 Russian league dunk contest, cited by many as the best competition ever to take place outside of the United States. White will be framed as the journeyman, the dunking specialist who, at age 30, is taking his last shot at the spotlight. Green will be framed as the former champ (2007) who has bounced around internationally, and fought his way back to the top.

Never mind that Ross’ dunks will probably be nicer than White’s or Green’s. He will bow out early to give someone else a chance to shine. Because that’s what Raptors do.

Go get ’em, Terrence.

I am officially declaring the Toronto Raptors to be the most lovable losers in sports.

Maybe I’m a natural optimist, maybe the spring air is making my head feel funny, or maybe after so many years of living in Toronto, I just expect sports teams to be terrible.

Whatever the reason, I find that now, as the final buzzer sounds to end the dazzling ineptitude that was the Raptors’ 2010-11 season, I am a bigger fan than ever before.

Why?

Let’s take a look at some of the things the Raptors lost this year to see if we can figure it out.

1.   They lost Chris Bosh.
Everyone knew it was coming; after all, this is a city where you play to build your resume, then go on to success somewhere else. Bosh was well-liked in this city. He was funny. He played hard. He had crazy hair. But he wanted to win, and that was clearly not going to happen here.

Just look at how excited Bosh is in that video. He can’t believe that he might be headed for the playoffs. I can’t help but be a little happy for him.

So we lost Bosh. But it’s okay.

 2.   DeMar DeRozan lost the dunk contest.
Serge Ibaka grabbed a stuffed animal with his teeth. JaVale McGee brought out an extra backboard. Blake Griffin jumped over a blatant piece of product placement. DeRozan, meanwhile, dunked the ball.

No props, no gimmicks, just one of the best in-contest dunks ever; and he did it on the first attempt. And yet, a year after losing in the final round to sentimental favourite Nate Robinson, who won by virtue of being short, DeRozan was out again.

So he lost the dunk contest. But it’s okay.

3.   They lost the first (and second) NBA games ever played in Europe.
I’ll never fully understand why, in a league filled with eye-popping talent, the NBA decided to send the Raptors and the Nets to be Britain’s first taste of live basketball. But when the Raptors lost back-to-back games against New Jersey in London, the arena was sold out both nights. The fans loved it. The second game went into triple-overtime, and the whole experiment was seen as a resounding success.

So they lost both games in England. But it’s okay.

4.   They lost the 3-point streak.
This one went kind of un-detected in the media, but for over a decade, the Raptors hit at least one 3-pointer in every game for a record 986 games. And then, in a depressing last-second loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the streak came quietly to an end.

A few weeks later, the Dallas Mavericks surpassed Toronto’s short-lived record, and became the first team to run a 3-point streak to over a thousand games.

I love this video of the shot that cost us the game and the streak; the despair in the camera man’s voice, the way he just knows what’s coming, really sums up the season for many Raptor fans:

So the Raptors lost a lot this season. As I write this, the season has just ended; our good friend Chris Bosh has just finished handing the Raptors their 60th loss of the season.

But it’s okay.

Chris Bosh has new life, and playoff dreams, in Miami.
Blake Griffin is the Slam Dunk champion.
The Mavericks hold the record for most consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer.
And somewhere in England, some young lad who was always a bit too tall to play “footie”, is picking up a basketball for the first time.

For anyone to win, someone has to lose. And that’s what the Raptors do.

See you next season.