New York Knicks high jumper Obi Toppin used creativity to lift himself to the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Championship.
Last NBA All-Star Weekend Originating in Cleveland (1997), the Slam Dunk Weekend Competition was not so well received that the NBA would cancel the competition altogether, removing it from the weekend schedule for 1998.
The competition would return in 2000 when Vince Carter single-handedly brought the competition back to normal. Since 2000, dunk competitions have been held every year with no breaks, delays or cancellations.
Even the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can’t stop the dunk contest from happening. The 2021 contest will be remembered for its weirdness more than any contest performed on the night.
This year, the four participants of the NBA Slam Dunk Competition for the first time sought to get the competition back on track after an incredibly weird and tedious competition in 2021.
Despite the best efforts of contest champion Obi Toppin, the 2022 Slam Dunk Contest will go down as one of the lackluster contests in the competition’s 36-year history.
Attempts made by Toppin (New York Knicks), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Golden State Warriors), Cole Anthony (Orlando Magic) and Jalen Green (Houston Rockets) were creative but each opponent struggled to complete into their throw. In the first round alone, dunks players completed only seven of their dunks out of 25 attempts (28 cents). 7-25 (28 percent) in the first round. Jalen Green rallied 1-9 (11.1 percent) on his first jump.
The final (Toscano-Anderson vs. Toppin) featured several more misses with Toscano-Anderson not even completing his final throw. Toppin will win the competition with a jump between his legs that he hits the ground before slamming it home.
Toppin is the third New York Knicks player to win the NBA Slam Dunk Competition alongside three-time winner Nate Robinson and 1989 champion Kenny Walker.
After two disappointing NBA Slam Dunk competitions in a row, the league would be wise to figure out its offensive plan for 2023 and beyond. If not, have to ask for real conversations about the long-term health and viability of the competition.
The 2000 contest brought it back from the dead, and 16 years later, the duel between Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine has raised the bar far beyond anyone’s understanding. We’re just two years away from being knocked out of the stellar 2020 competition (despite the controversy over the score) that has seen Derrick Jones Jr. and Gordon deliver their A-games and wow the Chicago audience.
Maybe it’s just a Cleveland thing?
The night’s festivities began with Anthony swapping out his usual basketball shoes for Timberland boots and throwing them down an alleyway windmill with the help of his father Greg Anthony.
Toscano-Anderson started his night by jumping over teammate Andrew Wiggins and tossing down an impressive meniscus windmill.
Champion Toppin clearly prepared for this competition as he brought to this year’s competition a spirit of creativity, purpose and great practice. It wasn’t an accident that he jumped over famed dunk coach Chuck Millan for the first time. Millan has been teasing all week that Toppin will make an epic appearance this weekend.
In a scene that makes everyone under the age of 20 feel like they’ve aged, Green begins her jump rope competition wearing a gold necklace with a phone attached. This phone is playing one of the best shooting games in the NBA. Unfortunately, Green did not wear the necklace, choosing instead to give it to judge Isiah Thomas. Green missed the idea of playing his first dunk eight times before finally throwing down an alley windmill with a disappointing score of 38.
The second round starts with the lowest scorer going first giving Green another chance to correct the mistakes of the first round. After two attempts, Green completed a 360 between the legs.
Anthony tries to do a 360 tire, but after many tries, he can’t land it. Toscano-Anderson threw down an impressive 360 windmill to get himself a first score of 87.
Toppin will throw down a great shot between his feet, behind his head dribble but not high enough to make the shot as impressive as it could be.
The final round saw Toscano-Anderson show some love to Carter and his iconic 2000 NBA Slam Dunk contest winning track: The Honey Pot. Still, Toscano-Anderson is no 2000 Vince Carter, and while it’s a brave attempt, the inability to elbow into the barrel turns a nice homage into a regular windmill.
Toppin’s first hit in the final round was an impressive mid-foot jump.
For his final jump in the competition, Toscano-Anderson donned a Jason Richardson jersey and attempted to recreate the miracle that helped Richardson win the competition in both 2002 and 2003. Perhaps, Toscano-Anderson attempted to repeat the jump that had helped Richardson win the 2003 contest over Desmond Mason.
Sadly, after multiple misses, he couldn’t put it down.
Toppin, who could win at this point with a single miss, locked in his win with a mid-foot throw that caused the Knicks driver to touch the ball on the backboard before throwing it in. .
https://fansided.com/2022/02/19/obi-toppin-wins-lackluster-nba-slam-dunk-contest/ Obi Toppin wins lackluster NBA Slam Dunk competition