Remembering The Forgotten Brilliance And Unparalleled Controversy Of The 2011 Dunk Contest

02.14.18 2 months ago

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“Was that the Blake Griffin Kia one?”

Ask around the NBA about the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest and you’re likely to receive some variation of that response, even after priming with some details about the event. The lasting image of the event is Griffin dunking over a Kia, at once the explosion and the jumping-the-shark moment of integrated marketing in live sports. A series of tremendous dunks from four dunkers, and the first thought that comes to mind is Griffin catching a pass from a grinning Baron Davis, a car commercial come to life.

It is unfair, insomuch as the collective memory of a dunking exhibition registers on any scale of justice, because the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest in Los Angeles was one of the best in the modern era.

It’s likewise unfair to lay the blame at the feet of Griffin, who had a number of tremendous dunks to go along with the Kia spectacle and didn’t get to do the car dunk he wanted. Get your money where you can, nobody is mad at that. What they are mad at is a “janky” outcome that left every competitor feeling robbed and claiming the throne for themselves seven years later.

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