Maybe I'm in the minority on this one, but I'll put it out there -- I enjoy the Saturday festivities at the NBA All-Star weekend even more than the game on Sunday night. The slam dunk contest, the three-point shooting contest, the "whatever-they're-calling-the-game-with-rookies-and-sophomores-this-year" game. That's all good stuff.
(And if you think that previous paragraph is my own defense mechanism because the Rockets have no one playing in the Sunday game, you're probably right.)
So imagine my excitement (and bewilderment, more on that in a second) when Rockets forward Chase Budinger was tabbed for All-Star Saturday!
Now, when I initially heard Chase was going to Orlando for Saturday, I immediately assumed it was for the three-point shooting contest, not because Chase has turned into some extraordinary marksman from distance, but more because with Shane Battier now gone, Chase has evolved into the designated "stand out at the three-point line, catch and shoot" guy for the Rockets. It's about all he does these days, and some days are better than others.
Then I heard he was going to be in the dunk contest and that's where bewilderment comes in.
How bewildered? Well, go ahead and start out with the fact that a white guy in the dunk contest immediately begins with a floor of about 7.5 on the 1 to 10 bewilderment scale. From there, I would say add another point, mainly because I've never really seen Chase Budinger throw down a dunk and said to myself, "Now THERE'S a guy who should be in the slam dunk contest."
Frankly, the closest thing I've probably thought was, "Wow, Chase jumps really good for a white guy!"
Fortunately, in 2011, we have video proof of almost anything that's been done in the last fifteen years streaming on YouTube, and that includes Chase Budinger getting all sorts of nnniiiicccee in the 2006 dunk contest at the McDonald's high school All-American game.
If Chase can dial a few of these babies up, maybe he's got a chance, especially since Blake Griffin is leaving his KIA at home and bowing out of defending his 2011 dunk crown:
The second windmill dunk makes me want to run out onto the floor tonight at the Rockets game, shake Budinger and tell him to stop floating around the perimeter.
The other participants in this year's dunk contest will be Indiana's Paul George, New York's Iman Shumpert and Minnesota's Derrick Williams.
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Naturally, I predict Jeremy Lin will be the winner.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.