The world outside is scary right now, so I suggest we spend this entire Friday reliving the happier moments of this year, like the time DeAndre Jordan baptized Brandon Knight against his will and that other time when Blake Griffin dunked all stupid when he didn’t have to.
The NBA playoffs start tomorrow, so the NBA’s YouTube channel posted their picks for the top 10 dunks of the year. A lot of these have appeared in the Wednesday Dunk Battle, so it’s a pleasant trip down a brutal memory lane. Remember when LeBron James made Jason Terry feel like a useless asshole? Remember when Kobe remembered how good he can be and dunked on the entire Brooklyn Nets line-up? Good times.
The NBA’s top 10 is after the jump, followed by the ACTUAL best dunk of the year.
If this is your first Dunk Battle, here are the rules: You have to watch the following dunks and vote on which one is the best, because science doesn’t do itself. There’s a handy poll at the bottom, so take your time and go through each clip frame by frame, vote, then drop down into the comments section to let us know who you voted for.
This week’s dunks:
1. Russell Westbrook elevates and dunks on the Utah Jazz 2. LeBron James alley-oops the ball to himself off the backboard and dunks, because LeBron James 3. Blake Griffin goes for a finger roll, calls an audible, dunks his finger roll 4. Terrence Ross’ 360 180 degree jam
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has some anger issues. See also: that time he tried to rip off Mike Dunleavy’s arm. He’s the kind of guy where if somebody came up to you and said “Serge Ibaka just flagrantly punched a dude in the nuts during a professional basketball game,” you’d be all, heh, classic Serge.
If you missed it earlier in the week, Ibaka got called for a flagrant 1 foul late in the fourth in OKC’s 108-104 victory over the LA Clippers for, without grace or mercy or subterfuge, hauling off and whaling on Blake Griffin’s nuts. Everybody has an opinion about it. Kendrick Perkins thinks Griffin deserved it because he flops a lot, and that it should’ve been a “double foul.” Kobe Bryant says he probably would’ve smacked Ibaka in the mouth.
The one constant has been the assumption that Ibaka would get suspended, because seriously, watch the video. Griffin isn’t flopping, he got punched in the junk by a guy whose Eagle Claw could rip a hole in steel. News of the punishment came in yesterday afternoon, and sure enough, Serge was suspended for … wait, he wasn’t? Really?
The NBA announced Tuesday that Ibaka’s foul was upgraded to a flagrant 2 and he was fined $25,000 for striking Griffin in the groin area, but Ibaka was not suspended.
Before the ruling was handed down, Griffin said he didn’t “see how it could be let go” by the league with only a fine.
“I’m not going to cry,” Griffin said after practice Tuesday. “I’m not going to complain.” (via LA Times)
Griffin handled the situation as well as anybody could, but achieved legendary status for last night’s tweet, which cuts to the heart of the matter while remaining light-hearted and brand-conscious:
This week, the Wednesday Dunk Battle goes high concept — what, scientifically speaking, constitutes the “best slam dunk?” Does it lessen the dunk’s greatness if it’s performed in practice? What if it involves a pillar of fire and a trampoline? What if you aren’t a human being and can dunk? How do they relate to one another?
Your job, as a loyal With Leather reader, is to view the following dunks and help decide which slam dunk slammed most dunkingly. It’s important that you participate and vote in the poll at the bottom, for without you, we may never know the perfect dunk equation.
This week’s dunks:
1. The Los Angeles Clippers block/pass/dunk machine leads to a massive left-handed effort from Blake Griffin. 2. LeBron James continues to nerf the entire 2013 Slam Dunk Contest by going between his legs in practice. 3. Kenneth Faried goes up Dwight Howard’s helpless back to catch an alley-oop. 4. A ridiculous man’s fire dunk, as seen yesterday on With Leather 5. Eddie the sea otter throws it down, as seen in Danger’s post from last Wednesday
The Wednesday Dunk Battle is your most important weekly stop as a With Leather reader. Your viewing of a collection of dunks and decision regarding which dunk was the most Slam Dunk is important not only for editor-to-patron relations, but for SCIENCE, because deciding which dunks are best is science’s primary goal.
Last week’s winner (in a landslide) was Kobe Bryant. This week’s showdown features Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin, a jumble of consonants and what may or may not be Teenage Gronkowski back for dunking glory.
This week’s contestants:
1. It says “DeMar DeRozan dunks on Timofey Mozgov” but I refuse to believe that those are peoples’ names 2. Back-to-back dunks from DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin 3. Dwyane Wade’s “showtime reverse” 4. Trevor Wages from the COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES (~!) shatters the backboard
Please consult the dunk clips and make your decision below.
We don’t really ease back into our regular features scheduling until Monday, but Christmas is over, right? That’s it. When the 26th hits, it’s the end of the “everybody singing Jingle Bells” jazz and straight into non-stop year-end lists until January.
We didn’t get to write about EVERYTHING Christmas-related this season and a lot of stuff is just being shared around today, so I thought I’d perform a gesture of good will and put everything relevant to post-Christmas Wednesday in one handy spot for the enjoyment of all. Or the enjoyment of anybody still clinging to Christmas, I guess.
Up first: School children singing a Robert Griffin III Christmas carol.