The rookie having the most success in the NBA this year isn’t even from the class of 2010.
Blake Griffin, of the LA Clippers, has established himself as the most exciting young player in the NBA. His impressive stats and unforgettable slam-dunks almost every game make him a bona fide superstar – and at only 22 years old.
Griffin cemented his superstar status on Saturday night when he won the NBA Slam Dunk Competition. He pulled off one of the most incredible feats in the event’s history during the final round when he dunked over a car parked in the paint.
It is clear Griffin knows how to put on a show. At his home arena of his Los Angeles Clippers, the Staples Center, his gravity defying dunks every night fill the seats. And his slam-dunk competition repertoire was a pre-meditated work of art.
His two dunks in the first round single-handedly were more impressive than the collective body of work that the Slam Dunk contest has seen in the past few years, in which Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson has undeservingly won two out of three times.
The Slam Dunk contest used to be where legends were made. In the past, it has been home to some of the most iconic moments in NBA history. This is where Doctor J dunked from the foul line only to be matched by Michael Jordan twenty years later. This is where Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb built their legacy.
But the once-historic event has been demoted to a mockery the past few years; with capes, props, and 17 missed attempts on his final dunk by the eventually crowned Robinson.
Griffin brought the event back to its glory days in the very first round. In his event-opening dunk, Griffin executed a 360, two-handed slam. He followed that up by throwing the ball off the side of the backboard, catching it in midair, and slamming it home to advance to the next round.
He then literally evoked a legend of the event with his first dunk of the final round, in which he executed a one handed dunk and dangled from the rim by his elbow a la Vince Carter in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.
Then came the car.
In addition to the 2011 Kia Shark that he eventually leapt over, Griffin brought out a gospel choir to half court to sing “I Believe I Can Fly”.
Griffin’s car-defying dunk will most certainly go down in history as one of the greatest dunks in the contest’s history, but more importantly, it resurrected what should be one of basketball’s most exciting events.