"If you got Jordan on your back, this better be special."
Kenny Smith will never doubt again.
Zach LaVine didn't just win the dunk contest. He killed it. Flat out hit it over the head with a shovel and buried it so deep in his backyard that you legitimately felt sorry for the competition.
Zach came out to the theme music for Space Jam....which oh, by the way, was released a year before he was born...and proceeded to utterly shock all possibility of expression out of Dr. J.
And reminiscent of Vince Carter circa 2000, Zach also set the standard for the night impossibly high right out of the gate.
LaVine raised the bar so damn high crowd doesn’t feel like reacting to anything less than BONKERSWOW amazing.— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) February 15, 2015
Everyone is Stackhouse right now— Hayley Byrnes (@HayleyByrnes) February 15, 2015
For those of you who don't quite remember, Stackhouse had the unfortunate honor of dunking behind Vince Carter's reverse 360 windmill in 2000. Stack did a 360 of his own. It wasn't half bad. But on the heels of Vinsanity? No chance. Shut it down. Go home. That's what Zach did. He made everything that happened between him dunking and him dunking again look thoroughly pedestrian.
We know this dunk, don't we? We've seen Zach do it before.
Zach LaVine's signature on repeat. I call it the 2K Special https://t.co/4qpnANXzRI— Key Sang (@Phantele_) February 15, 2015
GUESS WHAT. It impresses every time like it's the first time. This is Zach's bread and butter; his signature, unbelievable, "I've never seen anyone do THAT before" dunk. If this performance really does go down in history as one of the all time greats, then this is the dunk Zach will be remembered for. It's his reverse 360 windmill...his East Bay Funk, his cradle-the-baby. I call it the 2k Special because it looks too impossible for real life. Zach has to be a video game create-a-player to do that. Right?
It didn't matter there was still a 2nd round to go; when Zach hit this, it was over. You knew it, I knew it, Ben Golliver knew it, and Andrew Wiggins knew it.
Mercy rule time......... shut it down, let's go home.....— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 15, 2015
Zach scored a perfect 100 in the first round. He didn't need to. He literally could have done a layup for the second dunk, taken the lowest possible score of 30, and still advanced. But where's the fun in that?
Zach LaVine Between The Legs With Andrew Wiggins https://t.co/2TWagGtlUs— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) February 15, 2015
FUN STORY: Tracy McGrady didn't want to do the 2000 dunk contest. In fact, Vince only got him to participate mere hours before the event, and if those sideline chatter rumors are to be believed, TMac knew he was going to get annihilated. He and Vince are cousins. They were teammates at the time. McGrady saw Vince every day; he knew Carter's limits...or lack thereof...better than anyone.
Like I said earlier, I feel somewhat confident that Andrew Wiggins is not in this dunk contest because he’s seen Zach LaVine dunk.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) February 15, 2015
Look, I want to see Wiggins in the dunk contest as much as anyone. And this isn't shade at him at all. But if he knew Zach had this kind of stuff up his sleeve, I do not blame him for sitting out. At all. Pick your battles, my man.
It was LITERALLY over at this point. Once again, Zach could have taken the minimum possible score of 30 and still won. That's how dominant he was. But he once again went video game on us.
I mean, we've seen some crazy dunks over the years: Andre Iguodala threw down a pass off the back of the backboard. Vince Carter stuck his elbow through the rim. But have we ever seen someone throw down a pass off the side of the stanchion?
I wanted to see the windmill but damn I don't think I've ever seen someone dunk it off the stanchion not in a videogame...— Akis Yerocostas (@Aykis16) February 15, 2015
To complete that dunk, Zach is going 10 feet horizontally, 10 feet vertically, coming from behind the hoop, catching the ball in midair and putting it between his legs. I've seen high bar gymnasts with less hang time than that.
One More - Thanasis & Giannis Antetokounmpo React To Zach LaVine's Final Dunk https://t.co/fv8v8Ux5VX— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 15, 2015
Andrew Wiggins told us before All Star Weekend even began. And us here in 'Sota poured over his work in dunk contests previous. And somehow we still weren't prepared. Zach LaVine dominated this contest, to the point he could have sat out the final dunk of both rounds and still have won. No props, no gimmicks, no hype men or choirs. Just Zach, the court, the ball, and the revival of All Star Weekend's most glamorous event.
(Oh, and not seen here are two more dunks we know he can do: off the backboard 360 and the windmill from the free throw line.)
After the contest, Zach was asked what he thought of the Vinsanity comparisons. He was effusive, saying, "Vince Carter is above me. I don't want to get into that area. I'm still a rookie." But clearly there were parallels, and a lot of people saw them. Zach may have a long ways to go to reach Vince as a player, but for one night, he stood with him as a dunker. And asked if he'd do it again, he was definitely up for the idea.
"Hopefully. I like dunking."
I don't think any of us would complain if LaVine defends his crown in 2016. But maybe, just maybe, the NBA might want to exclude him, because who in their right mind would volunteer to take him on after this?