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Sports Illustrated presents: NBA Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers (VHS Tape from 1993)

jordan winning the nba all star break dunk contest in 1988

I needed to give a shout-out to one of the most awesome sports tapes ever created.

You can find the link here to the original VHS Tape.

This video is a great because the many segments involve comedy, bloopers,
in-game dunks, and most importantly, the history and highlights of the renowned NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

The tape is full of bloopers that compare athletes to police and/or S.W.A.T. teams; players get labeled certain names as the highlights play back and the screen motion pauses for comedic relief.

There are many, many in game dunks, most of which take place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

There is some hilarious footage of cheerleaders, fans, coaches, players, referees, and even Mike Fratello talking about how to properly season Italian red sauce.

Each segment, when completed, then goes back to Marv Albert and Frank Layden, who discuss the previous segment and then prepare the audience for what is coming next.

The NBA Dunk contest and its roots are clearly outlined and displayed on screen, with roots going back to the early dunk contests featuring Doctor Julius Erving. With Erving, it may of actually been the ABA, as the ball had red and white colors like the one shown here. There are other breathtaking segments involving dunking that are narrated by Marv Albert and have emotional music as the backdrop. I can remember one quote, albeit not verbatim, where Marv basically states that humans have always been intrigued and even obsessed by flying, and that perhaps this the closest we can get to flying. The slow motion dunking, music, and emotional narration is simply beautiful and inspiring.

There is also candid footage of NBA players on the sidelines of the many dunk contests, and you get a real feel for the comradery, intensity, playfulness, and competitive nature of the players. Larry Nance has a good deal of highlights from the All Star break dunk contests, and the classical music mixed with the forceful nature of dunking and the crowd reactions is very entertaining.

I was certainly most intrigued by a young Michael Jordan, donned with his gold chains, as a rookie in the NBA. This video goes through the many dunk contests, a couple of which Jordan did not participate in due to injury, but with which Spud Webb took over the hearts of the fans and judges, and ended up beating the “human highlight film”- Dominique Wilkins. The footage of Spud vs. Dominique is spectacular.

Eventually, a couple years later, a healthy Jordan finally participates in the contest where it can be him vs. Dominique. These two superstars go back and forth with one another, both receiving a score of 50 multiple times. With the suspense building and Dominique currently in the lead, Michael Jordan needs “a 48 to tie, a 49 to win,” and consequently does his Air-Jordan dunk from the free throw line, receives a perfect score of 50, and takes home the NBA dunk contest trophy while in his home arena in Chicago.

The bloopers and comedic feel of the video mixed with the power and grace of the dunkers make this video a can’t miss for any fan of the game.

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