But, after last night’s NBA dunk contest, the “Philly curse” has ventured into exhibition events.
Andre Iguodala, 6-foot-6 swingman for the 76ers who won MVP honors for Friday night’s NBA Rookie (vs. Sophomore) Challenge, clearly got screwed in the dunk contest, which is held each year as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Instead, 5-foot-9 rookie Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks walked away with the title…after taking 14 tries–about 10 minutes of everybody’s time–to make his dunk in the first-ever “dunk off” (the two were tied at 94 points after their two dunks in the final round).
Now, Robinson’s dunk was good, but there is no freakin’ way he should have been awarded 47 points for it. Two judges gave him 10s and the other three gave him nines. Now, if you take 14 tries to make a dunk, you should not be allowed to get anything higher than a nine.
On Iguodala’s final dunk, he took two attempts to convert a between-the-legs-left-handed slam that he started with a baseline drive from the right corner. It was a sweet dunk and even the TNT announcers thought that sealed the win for the second-year Sixer. And, for a brief second, they were right. Four of the five judges initially put up three 10s and a nine…with the fifth judge slow in getting his card up. But as that last judge raised his card, one judge mysteriously took down the 10 and replaced it with a nine…and the “slow” judge inexplicably put up an eight.
AN EIGHT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Iggy took about 25 seconds to complete an excellent dunk and only got 46 points. Nate #*$(*#@ Robinson took FOURTEEN ATTEMPTS to throw down his dunk and gets a pair of 10s and three nines because of a sympathy vote for being a) a midget, and b) a member of the craptacular New York Knicks.
So the judges–Kenny Smith, Elvin Hayes, Rudy Tomjanovich, Moses Malone (whose combined presence with current 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks and Julius “Dr. J” Erving helped the ’83 Sixers win the NBA title) and Clyde Drexler–basically robbed Iguodala of the slam dunk championship. If the NBA thought it would be a good idea to have a one-trick pony like Nate Robinson win the slam dunk contest this year, well, the Association just cost itself many years of exciting dunks by Iguodala in the contest. After getting screwed over, Iguodala–while publicly gracious in defeat–said he likely won’t be participating in the event ever again.
Way to go, NBA! Just give the slam dunk title to Robinson because he was able to leap over another midget–5-foot-7 Spud Webb, the 1986 slam dunk winner–for his second dunk in the final round after Iguodala picked up a perfect 50 for his first dunk, a monster slam preceded by a bounce pass to himself and an in-the-air-behind-the-back hand transfer.
Iguodala needed three attempts for his second dunk of the final round and still received a questionable 44 points, which set up the even-more-questionable “dunk off.”
And I haven’t even gotten to the fact that Iguodala completed the best dunk of the night and one of the most creative dunks in the entire history of the contest in the second round.
With Sixers teammate Allen Iverson helping out, Iguodala threw down a dunk after taking off from behind–that’s right, BEHIND–the backboard. After clearing away the photographers sitting along the right corner of the baseline to create a lane for himself, Iguodala had Iverson throw a pass off the backside of the backboard. On the first attempt, Iguodala scraped his face on the bottom edge of the backboard. After an errant pass by Iverson on the second try, Iguodala caught the third pass off the reverse side of the backboard, ducked under the bottom edge and threw down a reverse slam that will live on forever in NBA lore (see the sequence of photos from NBA.com below).
And here is Iguodala’s other 50-point dunk of the night…again, sick…
(Photos: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)