Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Welcome to the Blake Griffin Show

A table, a chair, Spud Webb, Nate Robinson, Dwight Howard – all have been leapt over in past NBA dunk competitions. Never, though, in the 26-year history of the event, has a motorized vehicle been hurdled en route to a ridiculous slam.

As a church choir sang “I Believe I Can Fly” and Kenny Smith hyped the crowd, a Kia Optima rolled onto the Staple Center’s hardwood court. The spectacle crescendoed when Baron Davis appeared out of the car’s sunroof with a basketball.

Then, bang. Blake Griffin launched over the car’s hood, caught Clippers teammate Davis’ pass and connected on an explosive jam. The NBA world collectively passed out. Normally loquacious bloggers and journalists became stammering fools. The iconic SLAM magazine eloquently tweeted, “*dead*.”

Ever since Griffin began airing over opponents and on SportsCenter with daily regularity, we waited for his dunk contest moment. His abusive posterizations of New York Knicks Timothy Mozgov and Danilo Gallinari won him the hardware months ago; Saturday night simply offered the stage to formally induct him into highlight immortality.

Upon grounding with some sense of reality, I can admit that the dunk probably failed to transcend the boundaries of human athleticism. His lift-off occurred well inside the lane, his vertical reach did not shatter any records and his finish, while forceful, lacked much ingenuity.

The pageantry though set it apart. To appreciate the NBA to its fullest, you must buy into it as a performance. The rim-rattling power and baseline-balletic grace paired with the range of player personalities and roles has made for a colorful cast of characters and persistent plotlines for the NBA story.

The current fascination with Griffin is not new to the NBA; it is only the latest in a long line of player enchantments, and Griffin’s one stellar season fails to even stand out in the big picture.

In the 1960s, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell reigned with their big man rivalry. The 1970s belonged to the ABA-NBA divide and eventual merger and Julius “Dr. J” Erving’s transformational high-flying style. The feuding duo of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird headlined the 1980s. Michael Jordan was the 1990s. The 2000s could arguably become Kobe Bryant’s, but that is for history to decide.

Obviously, the NBA has never shied away from propping up a certain player or players for the greater marketing good of the league. The NBA logo itself, unlike every other professional sports league, resembles the likeness of an actual player (Jerry West).

Last summer, LeBron James dominated all sports and news media before choosing to play for the Miami Heat, and since, the Heat garner news coverage like no other team. Now, Carmelo Anthony’s trade to the Knicks is the melodrama of the day – the latest twist in a never-ending tale.

Commissioner David Stern has no reason to temper the storylines either. They drive up the ratings during the 82-game season and in the off-season, and he takes full advantage of them himself. I will bet my tuition that the Denver Nuggets will be scheduled to play the New York Knicks on a Christmas Day showcase game.

With a lockout looming, this last half of the season may be the last episode of this sports soap opera for a while. Let’s not talk about that depressing news yet though. For goodness sake, Blake Griffin dunked over a car.

Wesley Vaughn is a junior majoring in public relations and political science. His column runs on Wednesdays.

More to Discover