Some argue that the NBA Slam Dunk Contest has lost the panache that once made it a great event. There are plenty of reasons for that, with a lack of a cash prize and the risk of injury prime among them. Still, there are plenty of reasons why the NBA's best high-flyers should consider suiting up for the annual slam fest, and they've never been articulated more clearly than by this middle school basketball player in a random YouTube video directed squarely at (who else) LeBron James.
The young man you see in the video above is named Sollomon Gessesse. Prep Rally honestly has no idea what his age actually is, but we can tell that the Portland, Ore., native is still in middle school (if that) because he recently tweeted about his basketball team finishing its regular season with a 3-5 record, and no high school team plays only eight regular-season games.
Regardless of Gessesse's hoops acumen, he punches above what his weight is on Twitter, where he often tweets directly at NBA stars (and is followed by the likes of HoopMixtape, who originally introduced Prep Rally to the Portlander). While the pre-teen has yet to get any formal Twitter responses, his critiques are often on point, never more so than with the YouTube plea you see above, in which he presents a cogent argument for why King James should compete in the annual All-Star dunk contest in the style of a Jim Rome caller.
Essentially, Gessesse's argument runs like this:
1) Fans are sick of seeing rookies and bench warmers compete for the dunk title; he caps this line of thought with the terrific line, "It's the NBA where magic happens, not where rookies go because the All-Stars are at the hotel clubbing and drinking and stuff, man. Come on!"
2) Having stars like LeBron sit out the All-Star weekend's showpiece event essentially makes them a hypocrite. As Gessesse points out, LeBron frequently tweets with lines like, "Don't let my Saturday night go to waste." Gessesse argues that LeBron sitting out the dunk contest is doing exactly that for all the fans who are desperate to see him compete.
3) What else could better help LeBron reclaim his status as the people's choice of NBA superstar? Here's Gessesse: "I know hanging out at the hotel with everybody is fun, or you could choose to go dunking and make everyone in the country chant your name … well, except Ohio."
It's those last, add-on lines to each of Gessesse's claims that really makes his YouTube treatise so great. It's like he's playing his own straight man in a comedian's rant about what LeBron and other NBA stars are doing wrong in trying to rebuild their personal PR.
Of course, Gessesse is exactly right about the whole mess, too. Just months removed from an ugly lockout that painted NBA players and owners as selfish, why shouldn't the league's big stars actually be competing in a once signature event that has grown stale precisely because they now refuse to take part? That rings as selfish as anything else about the annual All-Star event.
That being said, Gessesse's rant, like so many others, will almost certainly fall on deaf ears. The Portland native deserves more credit than that. He may never call in to "The Jim Rome Show" or Portland's 1080 "The Fan" or the likes of legendary New York station WFAN. Regardless, we're giving him an honorary "Rack him," for his efforts. He deserves it.
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