Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Dunk Contest

words_Brandon Richard

It wasn’t as great as we thought it would be, but Blake Griffin put on a show Saturday night to become the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Champion. It really speaks to how highly we think of somebody when they dunk over a car and we’re still left a little disappointed, but the reality was that Blake’s early misses were more appealing than the dunks he completed. Plus, you can’t roll a car on the court and just jump over the hood, right?

Though falling short in the contest, JaVale McGee may have been the most creative dunker of the night. Building on concepts originated by the great Larry Nance, McGee dunked two balls on two different hoops and then dunked three balls on one hoop. His creativity did come up short in the end, though, when he had to make a last-minute change to a dunk because Oklahoma’s Serge Ibaka completed something similar.

Speaking of Ibaka, not a bad showing from OKC’s big man. He certainly had the theatrics going for him, as he was led out of the tunnel by a parade of “NBA Africa” flags to complete a legit behind-the-line free-throw dunk. For a follow-up, Ibaka helped a youngster retrieve his stuffed animal by biting it off a prop on the rim during a dunk. Both dunks, however, were underscored at 45 and Ibaka was eliminated early.

Flying under the radar was Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who may have actually completed the best dunk of the night. Coached by Darryl Dawkin’s suit, DeRozan completed a remix to J.R. Rider’s “East Bay Funk Dunk” and an extremely impressive one-handed reverse that scored a 50.

Overall, the Dunk Contest started off hot, but progressively got worse as the focus was put more on the gimmicks than the dunks. A lot of these NBA players will tell you that it’s hard to be creative because everything has been done, but that’s simply not true. YouTube is concrete proof that there are still incredible non-prop dunks that haven’t been seen in the NBA’s contest. That’s why DeRozan’s lob one-handed reverse sticks out – it was all about the dunk.

Below is a look at the sneakers worn in the Dunk Contest. Blake Griffin was said to be debuting the Nike Hyperdunk 2011, but settled for a similar colorway of the Air Max Fly By. “Air Congo” Serge Ibaka did his dunking in adidas’ “Sun” adiPure. DerMar DeRozan continued to wear iD colorways of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI. Lastly, JaVale McGee did an excellent job getting Chinese brand PEAK some recognition by wearing five different colorways of their Relentless kicks in the contest.

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly ByBlake Griffin with what Kenny Smith called the “Plan B” dunk in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly ByBlake Griffin pulls a Vince Carter in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly ByBlake hops the car wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By.

JaVale McGee wearing the PEAK Relentless WolverineJaVale McGee dunks on two hoops in the “Wolverine”-inspired colorway of the PEAK Relentless.

JaVale McGee wearing the PEAK Relentless CamouflageMcGee dunks three balls in the camouflage PEAK Relentless.

JaVale McGee wearing PEAK Relentless USA & ChinaJaVale McGee salutes the friendship between the United States and China with national colorways of the PEAK Relentless.

JaVale McGee wearing PEAK Relentless USA & ChinaA closer look at JaVale’s USA & China PEAK Relentless colorways.

JaVale McGee wearing the PEAK Relentless Truly BlessedMcGee finished the contest wearing the “Truly Blessed” PEAK Relentless.

Serge Ibaka wearing the adidas adiPureSerge Ibaka takes a bit out of Rumble, the Oklahoma City Thunder Mascot, in the “Sun” adidas adiPure.

Serge Ibaka wearing the adidas adiPureIt wasn’t as picturesque as MJ’s, but Ibaka completed a legit behind-the-line free-throw dunk in the adiPure.

DeMar DeRozan wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VIDeMar DeRozan had perhaps the most impressive dunk of the night with this reverse in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD.

DeMar Derozan wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VIDeRozan rocks the Darryl Dawkins-named “Eastbay Funk Remix” in his Zoom Kobe VI iD.

images via ESPN