If you count the 1990s as your childhood as I do, then today brought undisputable great news: New York Knicks reserve and journeyman dunker James White will likely be joining the 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. Anyone who grew up a hoops fan in the ’90s knows the best dunk contest of all-time is Vince Carter at All-Star Weekend 2000 in Oakland. Nothing will beat that for reasons that are both sentimental and performance-based. But while the 2001 McDonald’s All-American dunk contest can’t touch Vinsanity’s show, the head-to-head battle between White and David Lee has stuck with me just as much.
It’s why, 12 years later, I quite literally jumped out of my chair (my vertical isn’t the same as White’s after 12 years) upon seeing All-Star Saturday night East captain Dwyane Wade mention White would be joining the contest. Via the Miami Herald‘s Heat beat writer:
Dwyane Wade, captain of East All-Stars for Saturday night, indicated that Knicks guard James (@flight8) White will be in the dunk contest.
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) February 1, 2013
The creation of All-Star Saturday night captains intrigued me but left a number of questions in the wake of the announcement. It seemed that if players were captains, their judgments about who to enter in the All-Star competitions — three-point, slam dunk and shooting stars — would be more in tune than, say, a panel of middle-aged NBA executives. So how much creative control would the players have to pick their teams? From the tweets today about Wade’s process to choose his squad, it seems as if he had latitude. He wanted LeBron James to do the three-point and dunk contests but got denied, and has said Steve Novak and Terrence Ross are other captain’s picks for the three-point and dunk contests, respectively. The selection of White would indicate the process is working. Who else would choose the night’s signature event to include a journeyman few have heard of outside of the generation coming of age in the early 2000s? White doesn’t carry a shred of marketing potential to non-hoops fans, but players know he can still put on a show.
In case you need a reminder of what White’s dunk credentials entail, the video below shows you all you need to know in just 32 seconds. I’d be lying if I said that when White was signed this summer, I didn’t immediately hope he’d get a chance to dunk on All-Star weekend.
What do you think?
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