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The 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Competition - Featuring David Thompson's 360 Dunk and Julius Erving's Foul Line Dunk


DonRocks
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The last line in this video can teach us that greatness almost *always* stands on the backs of giants. Had Erving only known, had he had himself to draw from, had he spent ten years practicing this dunk and training to do it, who knows what kind of flare he would have come up with? Instead, it's something he came up with on short notice.

Michael Jordan and Vince Carter (shown at the end of the video) grew up in their gyms dreaming about being Dr. J.

One very interesting component to Jordan's version: He held the ball low, with a bent elbow, at the same level of his forehead, right up until the point when he began to descend. Only then did he slowly extend his arm upward, so it appeared that he was rising the entire way to the basket, when, in fact, he began dropping long before he reached the rim. It was a brilliant slight-of-hand illusion, and was probably well-thought-out in advance.

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On 3/7/2016 at 8:19 AM, DonRocks said:

One very interesting component to Jordan's version: He held the ball low, with a bent elbow, at the same level of his forehead, right up until the point when he began to descend. Only then did he slowly extend his arm upward, so it appeared that he was rising the entire way to the basket, when, in fact, he began dropping long before he reached the rim. It was a brilliant slight-of-hand illusion, and was probably well-thought-out in advance.

Also notice that half way through the dunk he bends his knees which brings his legs up and raises center of gravity.  That dunk is still so iconic because it is so compact (lowered hand, bent knees) and then just explodes at the end.  There is the real sense that he is defying physics based on how it played out. To be honest, aside from the bent arm, I bet he didn't even plan it that way.  A big part of Jordan's greatness was his body control, the way he was able to adapt and adjust on the fly (witness the famous change-hands-for-no-real-reason lay up against the Lakers) better than probably anybody who has ever played the game.  I bet he took off on that dunk, momentarily thought, "I may not make this, need to sustain this trajectory" and his body, in the split second it needed to, just adjusted necessarily.

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