April 25, 2011
Video: Vince Carter - The Dunk of Death
I want to take a short interlude from our regular scheduled programming here at the Hoopistani blog to talk about my favourite dunk.
AAAAAH... The dunk... Everyone has a favourite dunker, a favourite slam, whether it is in a Slam Dunk competition, during a fast-break in a game, or my personal favourite, an unexpected elevation from a freakish athlete right in the middle of the crowded lane. Usually, these are the dunks that make for the best posters.
With so many choices, how do you pick just one? I'm starting off my narrowing my field down a little bit - the dunk has to be elite and relevant - and by that I mean, the dunker has to be a relevant basketball player at his time and the stage has to be at the most elite/competitive. So, sorry random dunkers (with little other basketball skills) in Algeria (Kadour Ziani) or streetball dunkers (Taurian Fontenette), or our own Indian Blake Griffin, TJ Sahi (who dunked over a Mumbai taxi two weeks ago): I'm officially unconsidering you all for my list.
The next thing I want to count out are dunk competitions altogether. Yes, they are nice to watch, sometimes. Yes, the likes of Jordan, Dominque, Dr. J, Kobe, Vince Carter, Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, and Blake Griffin have been spectacular in dunk competitions, but they don't count for two points and crushed souls of the opponents like in-game dunks do. This paragraph is officially dedicated to TJ Sahi, the finest dunker in India, who one-upped Blake Griffin in India's own slam dunk competition 10 days ago with a dunk for the ages in Mumbai, when he jumped over a kali-peeli taxi.
Anyways, now seeing that my field has been narrowed down so far, you probably expect an in-game NBA dunk. You probably expect to see a big man like Amar'e Stoudemire, Shawn Kemp, or Blake Griffin eating opponents alive here. Or a backboard breaker by Shaq or Darryl Dawkins. Or John Starks pulling out a classic. Or Scottie Pippen making Patring Ewing cry, or Dr. J, Michael Jordan, or Dominique, or Vince Carter making posters out of ordinary human beings in an NBA game.
My favourite dunk of all time does indeed belong to one of the names above. The last one, actually. Vince Carter. But it isn't from an NBA game - it's from the Olympics.
To a new NBA fan, Vince might be that dude who comes off the bench for the Suns, behind Jared Dudley. He's that slow-footed guy who looks like he doesn't care about the game at all, and averages about 14 points a game. Well, my friends, you need to go back in time, about a decade back actually, to realise that at point, Vince Carter was the most unstoppable force in the league. Without going into superlatives, I'll just say that where other talented players choose to slide in a tough lay-up, Vince Carter chose to rise above and slam it in. He is the man behind countless SportCenter Plays of the Day, countless Slam Magazine SLAMADAMONTH's, countless in-game humiliation, and the single greatest slam dunk competition performance of all time.
But for me, Vince's finest moment came in the 2000 Olympics, where he was representing the USA Basketball Team. This moment came in the game against France on September 25, 2000. Carter (6"6), jumped OVER the 7"2 Frédéric Weis' head and slamming the ball in. This dunk was so famous that it made the man who was dunked on famous. Just think about that. Weis, A French player, who never played in the NBA, and was barely an influence in the French national team, is known amongst hoop-heads for one reason, and one reason alone - Vince Carter. Hell, this dunk is SO famous it has its own nickname: The French Media called it "le dunk de la mort", or "the dunk of death".
It's a pity that, being an Olympic game, there are few excellent copies of it available on the internet. I present you the best copy available. Enjoy!
The Dunk of Death, indeed.