The 2012 Sprite slam dunk contest didn't start off well for Jeremy Evans. The little-known Utah Jazz forward — a late entrant into the grand finale of the NBA's annual All-Star Saturday proceedings after New York Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert pulled out due to injury — kicked off the competition by softly reversing an off-the-bounce self-alley-oop with a camera on his head.
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The opening dunk was a neat idea — "Let's show the folks at home what it is like to dunk a basketball!" — but it didn't come off nearly as well as he'd hoped, in part because the pass carried him too close to the rim to throw down with any thunder, and in part because the camera was a tiny little thing that looked like a Bluetooth headset instead of the more obvious and awesome choice, the Ettenauer helmet camera that Albert Brooks wore in "Real Life."
But things got better for Evans in the second round, thanks to a little help from Jazz teammate Gordon Hayward and the introduction of a second ball. Behold:
It took Evans more than one try to complete the double dunk — multiple tries were kind of a running theme of this year's dunk contest, as just about every contestant seemed to have trouble wrapping things in one take — but it certainly paid off.
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Despite a not-so-hot third attempt that saw him rock a Karl Malone throwback and pose like the Jazz legend while dunking over comic Kevin Hart, who dressed like a mailman in a nod to Malone's nickname, the lasting image of Evans' run was him throwing down the double-stuff. At least, that's what stuck with fans — Evans bested opponents Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets to take the crown in this year's dunk contest, the first in which fans' votes were (allegedly) used as the sole determinant of the winner, owing in no small part to the popularity of the double dunk. The win makes him the first underdog named Jeremy to experience any NBA success this year.
Evans' two-ball finish comes one year after Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee performed two multi-ball dunks in the 2011 competition — a two-ball, two-basket slam that took advantage of his amazing wingspan, and an assisted three-fer that earned him the Guinness world record for most basketballs dunked in a single jump. While the judges favored Blake Griffin's Kia-leaping over McGee's multiple choices, though, Evans' double dunk helped propel him to victory.
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