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Serge Ibaka gets screwed; Blake Griffin wins Dunk Contest after leaping over product placement

Feb 20, 2011, 9:10 AM EDT

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Well, everyone was pretty sure Blake Griffin would win the dunk contest, and it turns out, with good reason. The young phenom and prohibitive favorite, playing on his home court, turned up the showmanship just enough to overcome the actual lackluster execution of his final dunk (in which he jumped over the hood of a parked Kia, to the sounds of a choir singing R. Kelly and my own stifled yawns) and take 68% of the fan vote en route to being declared the victor over JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards, who demonstrated some real originality both in dunking on two baskets at once, and later by flushing 3 balls through the same hoop. All in all, it was the best dunk contest in years.

Now, in Blake’s defense, his first three dunks were awesome (particularly the one where he threw his elbow through the rim), but come on, is it really impressive at all to jump over the hood of a Kia? It’s not like he cleared a Hummer or anything. It’s a Kia! I would’ve been more impressed if he jumped over Charles Barkley laying on his back.

Meanwhile, the best dunk of the night (and you could even argue, of all-time) belonged to the Oklahoma Thunder’s Serge Ibaka, who took off from BEHIND THE FREE-THROW LINE and slammed one down with force. Not with a foot on the free-throw line, a la Brent Barry or Dr. J or a young Michael Jordan, but legitimately BEHIND it. That’s ridiculous. Somehow, the judges only saw fit to give him a 45 (!!!) for his efforts, in a bit of sham scoring usually reserved for the Winter Olympics and junior beauty pageants. Which one of them had money riding on this?

It was Griffin’s contest to lose, and as the dunk star of the year, it’s hard to argue that the trophy doesn’t belong on his mantle. But a few years down the line it’s going to be Ibaka’s foul-line clearing throwdown that gets remembered (or even JaVale McGee’s absolutely silly two-hoop double dunk), not the anointed one jumping over a not-very-tall advertisement for a not-very-spectacular dunk. I guess for Serge (and JaVale), that’ll have to be enough.

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Blake Griffin wins slam dunk contest [ESPN.com]