For some time I have had a yearning to sit down and embark on a quest to discover the greatest dunks of all time -- well at least those that have been committed to the illustrious servers of YouTube.
This collection of dunks in one competition by James White could well take that trophy. White has had many great performances in slam dunk competitions, of which this is just one. All the same, this is a worthy initial entry in my journey to uncover the greatest slam dunks of all time.
Check out White going between the legs from the free throw line, as well as hooking it back for a tomahawk from a step behind the free throw line.
Unstoppable basketball blog With Malice is hosting a Mountain Dew "Voltage" themed competition, asking you the fan to name your Favourite Non-Superstar in the NBA.
Nicolas Batum has the voltage to win this one. Many outside of the ranks of Portland Trail Blazer fans may not know much about the young Frenchman who has become an immediate starter for the Blazers in his rookie season. Pau Gasol can tell you exactly how good this 6'8" wiry 20 year old is, after being on the receiving end of two vicious dunks already this season.
First up was a fast break posterisation in January, on Gasol's home court, as Batum's arm just seemed to keep on extending.
Then in March, as the Blazers decidedly embarassed the Lakers, Batum put on a flurry of dunks, including the one pictured at the top of this page. The plucky Frenchman even managed to remind Gasol that it was the second time he had bettered him, with a two-finger salute (you might want to turn down the music on this video, I did).
However, to focus on Batum's dunking ability would be to lose sight of the real beauty of this young player. He possesses a certain finesse on the court that is rare -- particularly in this era. His body control, for a player of his age, is almost incomprehensible. He is the type of player that makes you glue your eyes to him, waiting to see what he will do next. Batum promises a level of constant improvement and potential for ascension that is almost sacrilegious to mention outside the ranks of the LeBrons and CP3s of this league.
Whilst the youngster from Lisieux may never blossom into a superstar or even an All-Star, he provides the whiff of promise that he just may. How many teams can boast a player of that pedigree, as arguably their ninth or tenth best player?
Blazers coach Nate McMillan trusted Batum enough to install him as the starting small forward in only his fourth ever regular season game -- a decision as much hinged in keeping Portland's bench crew together as it is a vote of confidence in Batum's future as a fixture in this league.
It is on the defensive end where the swingman's value begins. Already in his short career he has been entrusted with guarding LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Indeed, Batum has not embarassed himself in his assignments, whilst he learns the ropes of the NBA. He is undeniably a boy amongst men and has as many uninspiring games as he does brilliant ones. However the flashes leave you wanting to see more of this defensive whiz whose ceiling could be on par with any defensive stopper you can name in recent times.
His game is built on both instincts and athleticism and a clear desire to improve. He is not a Generation Y player who wants adulation, rarely showing emotion on the court. Rather, Batum appears to be locked in the moment, putting his all into improvement and stopping his man.
Going back to November 12th, Batum had already claimed Dwyane Wade's scalp with a nice fast break block -- a taste of things to come.
His 2008-09 numbers will not leave you gobsmacked, but if you're a basketball purist, his game will. That is what makes Nicolas Batum an A Stern Warning favourite and the site's nomination for Favourite Non-Superstar.
Check out the other entries at With Malice.no comments
What do you look forward to when you are a supporter of a young, rarely-winning team such as the 2008-09 Minnesota Timberwolves? You look forward to high flying dunks from young players such as Rodney Carney.
This was Carney throwing it down on the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.no comments
Shaquille O'Neal has moved into fifth place all-time in NBA scoring, surpassing Moses Malone during the Suns' 128-96 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
At this stage, the chances of the Big Cactus playing long enough to move past fourth-placed Wilt Chamberlain are slim, with the Stilt sitting a shade over 4,000 points ahead. At the Diesel's current scoring rate he'd need at least three more seasons to move that far. Despite his current renaissance season, that would seem to be an optimistic goal.
The current NBA scoring list looks as follows:
In terms of combined NBA and ABA scoring, O'Neal ranks eighth, with Dan Issel and Dr J joining the leaderboard. However Shaq should pass Issel in the next two or three games.
The Arizona Republic had the Big Aristotle's usually confident thoughts on the milestone:
"It shows how I've been consistent at what I've been doing, and the next guy is my illegitimate father, Wilt Chamberlain," O'Neal said.
"So just like in 'Star Wars,' hopefully I can catch up to my father.
"If I get one last deal then, yeah, (I could catch him). The way Nellie (head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson) has me feeling, I could average 20 and 10 until I'm 41 (or) 42. Easily."
For the NBA media department's sake, we hope that he keeps on going. He just makes the league that much more entertaining. And Twitter wouldn't be the same without his constant presence on the hardwood.
The Portland Trail Blazers blew out the Pacers in Indiana tonight, but encountered a setback in their preparations for the Cleveland Cavs, with both LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum going down with injuries towards the end of the game.
Whilst Aldridge's injury appeared to be a temporary hit to the head which caused some pain and is likely of no on-going concern, Batum came down on Danny Granger's foot and may have caused damage to his ankle.
The photo slideshow below shows the situation.
The good news was that Greg Oden returned to the court -- something Blazer fans have been waiting on with baited breath.
Charlie Villaneuva, also known as @CV31 to his Twitter buddies, has been in the news lately for his love of Twittering. In case you hadn't heard, his coach Scott hardnose Skiles gave him a little father-to-son talk on the use of Twitter during half-time of a recent game.
Charlie V has said that he doesn't think it is any different to him being interviewed during the half-time break, but respects his coach's wishes.
In the further adventures of CV31 and Twitter, today he showed us all his 2004 NCAA Championship ring (see above). He had mentioned about an hour prior, that he was going to have a nap. The most hilariously unintentional, inappropriate comment came in response to this photo, from user daniel_k_yu, who responded to the twitpic with the comment:
"Nice...isn't it time for your lap already?"
I'm sure he meant "nap"... but perhaps he wanted to see much more of Charlie than just his hand on his knee?no comments
Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers reveal every one of the Orlando Magic's tricks last night, it felt like playoff basketball had come early. There was a huge level of intensity to the game, with the Magic manhandling LeBron James early, Rafer Alston knocking down threes like everybody's business and the King finally proving in the end that he is a class about everybody else.
The Cavs won 97-93, which when combined with the Los Angeles Lakers' shock loss to Philadelphia, put the LeBroneers squarely on top of the heap with the best record in the NBA, with 54 wins. They also created some breathing space between themselves and the Magic, who sit in second place in the East.
Down the stretch of March the Cavs will face likely playoff teams Portland, Atlanta, Detroit and Dallas -- as well as easier-beats New Jersey (twice) and Minnesota. The Lakers have a much lighter load in March, with Detroit, Atlanta being the only real challenges, in addition to Golden State, Chicago, Oklahoma City, New Jersey and Charlotte.
Then again, with the way James was playing last night, noone should be a challenge. His line looked like this: 43 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 15/27 FG, 9/10 FT, 4/7 3PT, 6 TO. Wouldn't it be great to see a series full of LeBron v DWade? At this stage that is unlikely -- though not impossible by any stretch.
The Strap: Re-casting Star Wars with NBA players.
5iveMag: The history of basketball -- did you know that our sport was originally governed by the Handball Federation?
Zoner Sports: The Best Names in Sports Blogs. Please, please, pretty please, go and vote for A Stern Warning (scroll down the page), as well as friends of the blog, Pete Marasmitch, And One, PSAMP and Pippen Ain't Easy (which is run by The Zoner).
NBA Mate: Watch out Kobe, LeBron is about to screw with your legacy.
Over at Ballhype there is an NBA Playoff Predictions jousting match of sorts going on. I've decided to throw my pole into the ring (I probably should be thrusting it, but nonetheless...) with the following hastily put together predictions for the first round of the NBA playoffs to help you with your online betting. As always, the floor is more than open to criticism of my choices, including who those final 16 teams indeed are.
Eastern Conference (winners underlined)
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers
(8) Charlotte Bobcats
(2) Boston Celtics
(7) Philadelphia 76ers
(3) Orlando Magic
(6) Detroit Pistons
(4) Atlanta Hawks
(5) Miami Heat
Series worthy of your attention: Atlanta Hawks vs Dwyane Wade. This will be a series to firmly cement Wade as a clutch performer and a constant entry into MVP discussions for the next 5-7 years. Joe Johnson is a phenomenal leader, but if this season is anything to go by, Wade can not be stopped.
Western Conference (winners underlined)
(1) Los Angeles Lakers
(8) Dallas Mavericks
(2) San Antonio Spurs
(7) Utah Jazz
(3) Denver Nuggets
(6) New Orleans Hornets
(4) Houston Rockets
(5) Portland Trail Blazers
Series worthy of your attention: Rockets v Blazers. The Blazers will make smoother work of this than many would envisage. Oh yes, it's a controversial prediction, but the clutchness of Roy will be aided by a strong, injury-free playoff performance from Oden to silence the critics. It all will hinge on LaMarcus Aldridge -- but in the end, another early Rockets exit from the playoffs.no comments