If not the greatest -- and one could probably claim he was the greatest -- Michael Jordan was at least the most influential dunker of the NBA's modern era. Now a new "MJ" is trying to get his name in the conversation of great dunkers, though his impressive dunks are notable for a different reason: He's only 12 years old.
MJ Walker, whose given name is James Michael Walker, shocked onlookers when the rising eighth-grader won the annual dunk contest at the Junior All-America camp this summer. As you can see above in footage from the contest which just leaked out, his repertoire of slams was extraordinarily advanced for a 12-year-old.
On the dunk that won him the contest, Walker, a Georgia Stars AAU player who hails from College Park, Ga., used a human prop to demonstrate his explosive verticality, soaring over a standing campmate before throwing down a nasty slam.
In fact, if you look at Walker's body posture as he elevates over his manned prop, it is eerily reminiscent of Jordan's ubiquitous "Jumpman" logo. Perhaps a bit too symbolic for such a young age, but a hard omen not to notice when a teen named "MJ" is competing in a national dunk contest.
While Walker's winning dunk might not be a world class slam, it's pretty impressive for a 12-year-old. In fact, it's almost unfathomable that a kid who was in sixth grade until just weeks before this competition could get that high, that easily.
He did, and by doing so he stole some of the acclaim from now-famed eighth-grade dunker Adrian Moore, who finished as the contest's runner-up.
In fact, as you can see from the dunks Moore completed in the video above, one could make a pretty compelling case that he could have been a justified victor in the competition as well.
In the end, it seems that the new MJ's showmanship and precocious leaping talent won out, though that will surely only stoke Moore -- and other would-be future-Jordanesque dunkers -- to reach for similar skies in the future.
Regardless of how they develop, one thing is certain: If the likes of MJ Walker and Adrian Moore represent the new youth revolution, we should all hope that the revolution is, in fact, televised.
- Michael Jordan