Nothing is sacred these days. Banks lie to and manipulate you, you’re statistically more likely to get divorced than stay happily married, and a national tragedy can’t bring us together because we’re too busy farting out accusations and conspiracy theory hashtags. We’re terrible, and we can’t have anything nice.
The only thing that seems to have weathered the storm of our culture is half-court shots. Half-court shots are wonderful and can win you things like money or cars or jersey numbers. They are the great unifier.
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
While last week’s Beef Thursdays column featured actual beef, in the sense that athletes were trying to rip each other’s heads off en route to a horrific international incident that could have only been prevented by the United Nations or James Bond, this week’s edition is more of an imposed sense of rivalry. Namely, we thought that Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan became the clear frontrunner for Dunk of the Year last week, but then LeBron James popped up this week and said, “Hold on just one second.”
Funny how I’ve always thought we’d never be able to settle a Jordan-James debate.
Jordan and the Clippers raised the bar for humiliating opponents last week, when the 6’11” dunk machine threw down over an incredibly mismatched Brandon Knight. The result was two point for Jordan and a meeting with the floor for Knight.
Under Armour was quick to jump on the DeAndre Jordan’s Dunk Was Memorable bandwagon, have produced a series of animated t-shirts and are asking fans to recreate Jordan’s signature “eesh” face for an Instagram contest:
Want to win a trip to LA for you and a friend to meet DeAndre Jordan? Upload your best #DeAndreDunkFace to Instagram to enter for your chance to win.
The rules are intensely thorough, and I invite you to read them all for gems like “photo must not contain images of athletes in uniform,” and the suspiciously let-my-nephew-win-this fine print reading “sponsor reserves the right to contact competitors for additional information prior to selecting the winner.”
If you’re entering this, be sure to post your dunk face in the comments below.
Edit: I got these links together on Monday afternoon and set this to post for Tuesday morning thinking, “oh, I’m probably the only person who cares about Jim Ross calling DeAndre Jordan’s dunk on Brandon Knight, it’ll be fine to share in the AM.” Then Deadspin shared it.
So hey, if you haven’t heard the Jim Ross King Of The Ring ’98 call set to the monster mother of all posterizations, check it out. If you saw it last night, watch it again. It’s still really, really great.
By now you’ve probably seen it, DeAndre Jordan’s life-altering dunk on Brandon Knight in last night’s ridiculous 129-97 Los Angeles Clippers victory over the Detroit Pistons. Blake Griffin has called it the “Dunk of the Year” and Twitter instantly turned it into the 2013 version of the Dominique Wilkins poster I once had hanging in my bedroom as a kid. Poor Brandon Knight, just minding his own business as he traveled into the paint against one of the NBA’s most aggressive dunkers. Knight can go ahead and take a seat next to John Lucas now, because his career won’t ever be the same.
That’s not hyperbole. Dunks like this change lives, because no matter how well Knight performs the rest of this season or every season beyond until he retires, we’re always going to hear his name and laugh – “You mean the guy that DeAndre Jordan killed?” As fast as we move from meme to meme and GIF to GIF in this Internet era, we never forget. Just like Manny Pacquiao before him, Brandon Knight was dragged through the streets of Meme City last night after that “Just another day at the office” dunk by Jordan.