Fri Feb 15 05:00pm EST
Don't sleep on Gerald Green.
(I might as well ask Gerald
Green to stop sleeping, while I'm at it. Stop sleeping through practice,
through shootarounds, through games while on the bench, and through
play on the defensive side of the ball. Don't sleep, Gerald Green.)
That said, come Saturday night's Dunk Contest, don't overlook the reigning champ. I'm not telling you that he's going to win the competition, the angry ones usually don't, but he's probably going to put together the best batch of technically-perfect dunks we'll see.
He'll also probably fall short as Jamario Moon releases a dove from his compression shorts in mid-air, Rudy Gay's reverent windmill-laden tribute to the Marsalis brothers warms over the judges, and Dwight Howard's insistence on starting a scholarship fund for every child in section 32-A - again in mid-air -- while attempting a two-handed 360 wins him the key to the city. Aww.
The others are going to go down (up, really) smiling, and Green's probably going to pout his way to the best dunks of the night.
Don't feel sorry for the kid, because even at the age of 22, he's essentially a relic. In the wake of the Gilbert Arenas Experience, having taken its lead from the Shaquille O'Neal School For Teaching Youngsters Incredibly Endearing Nonsense, pro ballers both good, bad, and Joey Graham-esque are expected to be ready with a cute quip, a cheeky blog post, or a YouTube clip of your starting small forward in a giant chicken outfit (don't worry, it's coming, and Peja looks good).
And there's nothing wrong with that. We're a pretty self-aware society these days, always ready to take the mickey out of one-another and lay waste to our own self before allowing someone else to do it for us.
Such disarming notions make for great comedy, sometimes, and it's crossed over to pro sports: Jock A says he's the best, while smirking and trying to tell you that he's nowhere near the best, while desperately hoping that you still regard him as the best. Billy Corgan would be proud. An angry Michael Jordan, on the other hand, is somewhere putting a lit cigar out into some very expensive carpet.
Somehow, I don't see Gerald
Green has having any room for such machinations. He's an All-Star
talent who is probably a year removed from being an NBDL benchwarmer,
or hooking up with an overseas contract that doesn't have a chance
of being fulfilled. The guy doesn't get it, but he does know
how to dunk. Holy Lord, the man knows how
It's a goofier time, and
I've no problem with that. The NBA won't allow the rim to be raised
(and I also have no problem with that - what happens if one of these
guys gets stuffed by the front of the rim and wrenches their back? Two
of these participants are franchise-level players, and the league had
to play the bad guy at some point), but we'll see a batch of creative,
likely unseen dunks on Saturday night, and I can't wait.