Each year, BallisLife holds a series of basketball competitions for top-tier high school players from around the country. Taking place in Long Beach, California, the event includes a dunk contest, in which participants show off their creativity and jumping abilities. UCLA commit Zach LaVine placed first in the contest.
LaVine is a 6’3″ point guard from Washington. His highlight videos show off his polished passing abilities and insane shooting skills, often from feet behind the three-point arc. LaVine was ranked 11th in his position by ESPN and fourth by scout.com, and was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Washington.
My own experience with basketball is limited to my time on an intramural basketball team that went 0-4 (we tallied a combined double-digit score over those four games). But I know a good dunk when I see one. Let’s talk about these five dunks.
Dunk No. 1: Lobbed pass to between the legs AKA Class is in session
LaVine starts off with a huge dunk. While between-the-legs dunks are not uncommon, this caliber jam is usually saved for later rounds. LaVine makes a statement that he’s starting off big with the intention of only going bigger. I call this dunk “Class is in Session” because he’s beginning his series of dunks strong. Also, my third grade teacher used to start off class with an in-between-the-legs dunk (just kidding).
Dunk No. 2: Lobbed ball to behind the back dunk AKA the Pee-Wee Herman
From his highlight tapes, I was skeptical that LaVine would be in a dunk competition. His repertoire of skills suggested that he could dunk, but it was not necessarily his strongest ability. As he lobbed the ball in the air, however, he grabbed it with one hand, switched hands behind his back, and slammed it in. For those of you who cannot imagine this dunk, it kind of looks like Pee-Wee Herman’s dance in midair and with a ball in play. Awesome.
Dunk No. 3: Lobbed ball to cocked back arm AKA the Jai Alai
LaVine started about four feet behind the arc. This would lead most to believe that he was just going to shoot the ball during a dunk contest – but that’s silly. Once again LaVine lobs the ball in the air but this time he grabs the ball and cocks back his arm to behind his head. My skepticism had me fooled for a second time because I thought this would be a dunk that anybody could do (disclaimer: not everybody can dunk like this).
But wait a second. No way.
He’s still in the air. Excuse me, Mr. LaVine, do you mind staying in the air while I do a quick 5-minute work out in my room? Thank you. I return just in time for BOOM. At first glance, sure it was a powerful dunk, but did you notice the camera actually shake a second after he dunked it? This doesn’t happen in any other dunks in the video. Seismic activity is not out of the question.
Dunk No. 4: Between the legs to pass off of the backboard to 360 spin AKA the cheat code.
It was difficult to literarily describe this dunk, mainly because I know it better as “square, circle, circle, x, x, up, down, up, down” in “NBA Live 2003.” The easy part is the between the legs jump pass. He must have been doing lots of plyometrics to train, because his ability to land and go straight into a 360 dunk is awesome. The recovery time is extremely key, in that he still needs to catch the ball and spin all in one motion. LaVine’s acrobatics could be beneficial for the Bruins next year as the point guard looks for the open man and uses his body to his advantage.
Dunk No. 5: Lobbed pass to between the legs reverse AKA money AKA Blue Ivy
The highest sign of praise in a dunk competition is the towel spin and throw. LaVine received multiple gross towels to the face after his monstrous dunk. He practically did the entire Cha-Cha Slide in flight. I can’t help but wonder what would be going through LaVine’s head during the dunk, mainly because he was in the air for so long. He had the time to answer some of life’s greatest questions. He absolutely slammed the rim, and almost fell because of his jump height and body contortion.
Which of Zach’s dunks was your favorite? Tweet us your answer @dbmojo or comment below.