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Keep telling yourself it’s only two points.
While you’re busy doing that, basketball players from New York to New Guinea, from pre-school to the pros, will be using the dunk as the game’s most enduringly potent weapon.
The dunk took Wilt Chamberlain from mundane dominance to celebrity superstar. It took Michael Jordan from celebrity superstar to global icon. Once upon a time, it forced the NCAA to rewrite the rulebook for fear of Lew Alcindor single-handedly destroying competitive balance. And some day in the future, it may single-handedly make the WNBA competitively profitable. It is the common denominator that links basketball novices to experts, that ties fat guys doing laundry to elite athletes chasing diamond rings and gold medals.
The dunk can start momentum and stop momentum. It can define a game, a player, a team, a season or a series. It can make careers (T-Mac, 1996) and break careers (Fred Weis, 2000). Just two points on the scoreboard? Sure. But credit the men listed here for reaffirming that the dunk is worth so much more.
–The 10 Best NBA Players Since 2000
–The Top 10 Basketball Sneakers Since 2000
–The Top 10 NBA Teams Since 2000
–The Next 10 Who Will Shape The Future Generation Of Basketball
–The Top 10 Worst Basketball Trends Since 2000
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10. DERRICK ROSE
Keeping in line with sports media’s contractual obligation to compare Derrick Rose to his Chicago forefathers as often as possible, here is the optimist’s view: What if he turns out like Michael Jordan? What if Rose can get the Bulls to come fly with him for a handful of NBA championships, scoring and dishing and stealing and dunking his way through a decade-long reign of aerial terror not seen since MJ flied the Second City’s skies?
[RELATED: Derrick Rose Is The Realness]
Now here is the pessimist’s view: What if Rose turns out like Gale Sayers? What if the torn ACL he suffered in April robs him of just enough explosiveness, aggressiveness and hang time to â€“ if not ruin a potential Hall of Fame career â€“ anchor the best dunking point guard of all time closer to “pretty good” instead of “great”?
The doctors and D-Rose himself will have to answer those questions. Until then, we’ll never forget Goran Dragic.