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Top 5 Dunks in January

With All-Star weekend coming up, a common topic to debate is always the best dunk contests of all time. The slam dunk has many forms, where it can be a soft dunk that’s essentially dropping the ball into the net, a finesse dunk that looks extra fancy, or a simple poster where a defender is completely humiliated.

The art of the dunk in a contest differs the art in game. Opposed to a contest when players have plenty of time to create an idea, practice, and then execute in front of an arena full of fans (or hopefully execute, remember Chris Andersen?), in game dunks give the player a split second to analyze the situation, make the decision, and make sure that their body executes well.

No. 5 – Donovan Mitchell splits the lane

In this dunk, Mitchell, who was drafted number 13 in the 2007 draft, gets a pick from Jonas Jerebko. The Kings defenders (Buddy Hield and Kosta Koufos) attempt to trap him at the top outside the perimeter, but don’t close the gap. Mitchell splits the gap, takes two quick dribbles, and explodes to the rack from the dotted line. The dunk had crazy extension, power, and a landing that says that he knows he just did something special.

No. 4 – Terrance Ferguson hurts himself

In this game, the OKC Thunder are well on their way to an easy W with just less than 6 minutes left. It’s full garbage time and fans in Staples are in for a treat. They probably didn’t know who this kid was before the night, but they’ll definitely remember him. Off a steal, Felton leads the break and gives Ferguson a bounce pass which he smashes through the rim. The word “smash” was chosen very carefully here as he’s seen holding his wrist after the dunk. Easy glide through the air and lots of power behind it, Ferguson shows us that he wants in the Dunk Contest this year.

No. 3 – De’Aaron Fox for the win

This dunk was just really impressive. It’s easy to show that you’ve got hops when the lane opens up, or if you’re on a breakaway. It’s really different to have a monstrous put-back slam with 3 seconds left on the clock. That’s exactly what Fox did, after the Bogdanovic miss. He came in from the wing perimeter position, and just glided right of Dragic for a two handed putback slam to win the game for the Kings. Now if you don’t like that, you don’t like NBA basketball.

No. 2 – Andrew Wiggins going Back to Back

I’m sure even Drake likes Wiggins going b2b against the Raptors in Minnesota. Wiggins, who is often criticized for not showing a lot of emotion, completely hammers it down on Jakob Poeltl twice in the first half of their first meeting this year. In the first one, he just beats his defender off the dribble and soars over Poeltl at the rim. In the second dunk, he gets the ball off a pick and roll, side steps, and then explodes on Poeltl, making this a double whammy.

No. 1 – Embiid mean mugging

Joel Embiid is possibly the NBA’s funniest follower on social media. From his antics of trying to hit on Rihanna over Twitter, to now chirping his opponents (and father’s of opponents) on Instagram, Embiid continues to amuse his fans and reminds them to #TrustTheProcess. In this dunk, Embiid pump funks a three that makes Steven Adams bite (showing Embiid’s versatility that a really good defender would actually jump at a pump fake), takes two dribbles towards the net, and then jams it over reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, while gliding through the air at a 45 degree angle. Versatility, smooth, elevation, and down right attitude give Embiid the dunk of the month for January.

Blast from the Past: Rubio Kart 64

The Timberwolves have one of the youngest teams in the league and have continually marketed the young brand around the team. Centralizing all branding around ROY candidate Andrew Wiggins, PG Ricky Rubio, and villain-lookalike Nikola Pekovic, the Timberwolves have done it again. Now, the Wolves have taken a step back with their social media work, using a technology that’s over 15 years old.

Pekovic

The Timberwolves released their own version of Mario Kart 64, which they called Rubio Kart 64. The N64 was released in the late 90s and available until the early 2000s for kids to play. With such hits as Mario Kart 64, Golden Eye, and Diddy Kong Racing, the N64 brought pleasure into many households. As someone who never had an N64 (we’re a Playstation family), I vividly remember going to my friends’ house every other day to play Mario Kart.

Now, as an adult, the Wolves have brought it back and all I can say is, thank you. It’s easy to say, it’s officially time to hold our breath and anxiously await the release of Rubio Kart 64 in ’98…

Rubio Kart

NBA Mascots Unite

It’s no secret that NBA mascots have been rivaling with Robin Lopez for the past couple of years. He’s become the villain against every team that has a mascot, and he’s done it brilliantly. With the hair flailing everywhere, he has personified Sideshow Bob and become one of the most feared and loveable characters in the NBA.

He’s so menacing to mascots that teams have to fly in other mascots to form a mob rather than engaging Robin 1-on-1. The Raptors had to bring in a team of mascots in a recent game against the Trailblazers (note Harry the Hawk being in Toronto in a game against Portland) while Harry the Hawk called in his own mascot posse to battle Robin in late January.

Despite the small wins, none of the mascots have had a strong victory against Robin. Not until Robin was in Memphis on March 21. Griz proposed a truce with Robin and pranked him perfectly. Well done Griz, well done. Along with his striptease for the fans in the front row and powerbombing a guy in a Gilbert Arenas jersey through a table, Griz has become one of the best mascots in the league. It’s hard to determine who’s truly better between Griz and Benny the Bull, but Griz is putting up a strong fight for the Championship belt.