Zach LaVine won the 2015 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, a competition that he seemed he was born to participate in. With a variety of acrobatic dunks, the rookie from the Minnesota Timberwolves defied gravity and logic while besting Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic. For several years, the Slam Dunk Contest needed some life, some energy to bring back the fans. Perhaps LaVine is the player to do it.
As a rookie for one of the worst teams in the NBA, it is easy to say Zach LaVine is not a household name. That changed the moment he attempted his first slam dunk in front of a packed Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Accompanied by the Quad City DJ’s singing the 1990’s party anthem “Space Jam,” also from the movie barring the same name, the exciting 19-year-old forward was pumped. Donning a Michael Jordan No. 23 Tune Squad jersey from the Space Jam movie drew roars from the crowd. Could he deliver some memorable moments in the first round of the contest?
That was the question after LaVine took the floor.
Everyone was on their feet. With some tense music playing in the background and with the announcers adding to the moment, one of the youngest contestants ever calmly bounced the ball high. Afterwards, he caught it with his left hand, put the ball between his legs, and dunked it with his right hand.
The jam, which can be watched here courtesy of CBS Sports, took place shortly after Oladipo dazzled onlookers with a 540-degree turn on a slam dunk. Just as quick as the arena took a liking to the second-year guard, LaVine’s deft high-flying stole the show.
Since each dunker was given two chances to impress the judges, some of the who’s who of NBA lore, both Oladipo and LaVine had a second turn at it.
Zach LaVine brings back Dunk Contest. At least for a night. http://t.co/QNi7qMpToX
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) February 15, 2015
Oladipo fared well, but his primary competition did better. A similar move from the first one, with a much farther leap, was how LaVine closed out the first set. It was easy to tell that the title of best dunker was his for the taking. A couple of less stellar dunks came in the championship round. The victor, LaVine, did not have to force the issue after Oladipo failed to make one of his dunks.
Going forward, one should wonder how much of Zach LaVine we will see. Before the Slam Dunk Contest, the Timberwolves were rarely seen on television.
Unless you have the NBA League Pass subscription, watching him continue to make highlight reels will be difficult. Perhaps the praise he will receive from winning the contest will give a buzz to a fledging NBA franchise that needs a shot in the arm.
For at least a night, Zach LaVine took over the whole dang show. His expression was night and day when comparing the look he had on his face upon being announced as the No. 13th pick of the NBA Draft (per Fox Sports).
It is another moment at the Barclay’s Center which had him as the center of attention. This time he will be seen in a good, exciting light. Zach LaVine saw a moment to make a bigger name for himself. One of these days the Minnesota Timberwolves hope he can help get them to new heights.