Let the record show the 1996 NBA All Star Game was by far one of the Association’s most memorable. The East’s starting lineup was nothing short of breathtaking with the duo of the present (MJ and Pippen), the duo of the future (Penny & Shaq) and the league’s leading vote getter that year and a player who had the talents of being an all-time great (Grant Hill). The jerseys were fresh as hell. And the midseason classic had what will go down in recorded history as a permanent highlight involving Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson.
There’s a variety of factors centering around the dunk which make it so fun to revisit. Shaq was young and nimble hell meaning he could run the court as well as any seven foot, three hundred pounder ever has. The game was played in San Antonio, so The Admiral getting baptized on national television for the second time in less than a year by a fellow all-world caliber center was nothing short of peculiar. And amazing. Then there’s always that sneaky suspicion The Diesel was still salty about being left off the ’92 Dream Team and saw this as a plan to extract revenge. Whatever the case may be, the planets came into alignment as Grant Hill dropped off a dump pass to a trailing O’Neal. From there, it got ugly for D-Rob.
And how ugly did it get? Well, Marv Albert and Doug Collins were one more replay away from having a fangasm in the announcing booth. Not that I blame them though because in real-time motion it was like watching a stick of dynamite explode. Plus, in slow motion, it’s beyond evident Robinson had no shot whatsoever in blocking the dunk. Pretty much, David had a “Wanna Get Away?” moment in midair and those are the worst. Just ask Damon Jones. Shaq then threw up the hooks towards Michael Jordan signaling the first and only time I’ve ever seen Mike do anything Omega Psi Phi related on the court (unless you count the wagging of the tounge). Also, stop me if you’ve heard this before, Shaq then bricked the free throw.
On top of it all, however, ’96’s All Star Game featured a total of six legendary centers (Shaq, Robinson, Hakeem, Ewing, Alonzo and Mutumbo). There aren’t four great centers period in the game today and the best one we have now is crippling his own career in front of our very eyes. So, yeah, appreciate the clip for whatever nostalgic purposes applicable. Here’s a fun fact, too. This game was played two days before All Eyez On Me dropped! That has absolutely nothing to do with this dunk though.