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No, dunk you

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  February 18, 2008 05:49 PM

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Dunkmania once again grips America, and once again I find myself asking why?

Well, sure Dwight Howard is creative. Great. Has anyone noticed that he's 7-feet tall?

It makes a difference.

In a better, saner world, no one over that 6-6/6-7ish range could enter a dunk contest. Period.

It's that simple.

I was more impressed with Gerald Green. Love that cupcake thing.

But, really, what's the matter with everyone, slobbering over Howard when he's 7-feet tall? Oh, I forgot. He's athletic. We're supposed to be dazzled that a 7-foot guy can do what Dwight Howard did Saturday night.

Excuse me, but do you really think he is more athletic than Kevin Garnett, who is also 7-feet tall? Well, he isn't.

Nor is he more athletic than the prime-of-life Wilt Chamberlain, who ran the quarter mile and threw the shot in his spare time. Wilt wasn't famous for specific dunks. He just flushed entire teams with his power moves. I assure you that if the 1959 Wilt were re-incarnated today and were asked to devote a little time to dunking as an art form, he could do anything Dwight Howard did.

Sorry if I sound like an old f-word, but somebody has to bring a little perspeective to this debate, and I'm nominating myself in the apparent absence of other interested candidates.

As for Gerald Green, would that he spent as much time learning the T-Wolves plays or figuring out how to defend the pick-and-roll as he does conjuring up dunks involving edibles.

For the record, the greatest dunker I ever saw was 6-5. His name was Jackie Jackson and he was the original pick-a-quarter-off-the-top-of-the-backboard guy. And the greatest performer in the history of ABA or NBA dunk contests remains Spud Webb, for obvious reasons.

By the way, Jackie Jackson, like Wilt, was in full athletic flower during the 50s and 60s. Hate to disillusion you young-uns, but "athleticism" was alive and well four and five decades ago.

Coming Up: A look at ESPN's Top 25 College Basketball Player list.

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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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