This weekend, a guy jumped over a mascot and dunked a basketball. No big deal. Sure, it wasn’t Taylor Swift dissing Kanye at the Grammys or a political statement by Kendrick, but man, was it entertaining.The dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Weekend can be a thing of beauty, and this year it was. It was a phenomenal display of athletic talent by two young men no older than myself. Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine dueled Saturday night and showed the world why nothing beats the NBA’s All-Star Festivities.Who doesn’t want to watch athletes show off their superior athletic talent and do tricks in the air that leave you wondering how it was even possible. The slam dunk is not only one of the most entertaining plays in basketball, but also all of sports.It doesn’t carry the same weight as a Grand Slam or a Hail Mary, but those are special; the dunk is normal. It happens in every basketball game we watch, and yet it got the most special treatment when two spectacular athletes battled each other, topping each other again and again to earn the crown of Slam Dunk Contest champion.The SDC shows the most basic beauty and love for the game, something easily translated across languages and cultures to fans of all ages around the world.Aaron Gordon showed us his stuff when he leaped over Stuff the Magic Dragon, the Magic’s aptly named mascot, doing something seemingly even more impossible each time. He jumped high enough in one dunk to have earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.On the other hand, champion Zach LaVine displayed the power and agile movements of a cat, soaring through the air with grace, speed and force only to slam the ball down at the last moment after executing a series of turns and spins that would make a gymnast do a double take.The roots of the love for the game of basketball were exposed in this contest. There was competition, finesse, grace, power and execution, but most of all there was fun. All of the dunk contest participants and other NBA players sitting courtside looked like they had the joy of young kids playing ball in the park. The show being put on was unlike any NBA game where millions of dollars and playoff berths are on the line; this was purely for the love of the dunk.Nothing is more electrifying to an arena of anxious fans than a dunk. Nothing puts an exclamation point on the game quite like a dunk can do in the final seconds and nothing quite impresses like a dunk if for no other reason than everyone is aware of how physically incapable they are of emulating it. This translates well to our own basketball team that is one of the most electrifying teams in the conference, if not the country. The rate and skill with which the Trojans dunk the basketball is an absolute joy to watch.The team has a total of 86 dunks through the first 23 games of the season, more than doubling their opponents’ total of 41. Freshman dunking phenom Chimezie Metu has 36 dunks. Junior Julian Jacobs is second to Metu with 23 on the year, already surpassing his 19 from last season.This exponential increase in dunking has led to an increase in excitement and is one of many reasons why the Trojans are such a fun team to watch.The glee and fierce competitiveness that comes from a slam dunk is so unique to the game of basketball. Within the select number of athletes who can execute it, there is then another level of athleticism required to make it memorable.During a fast break during USC’s game against ASU, Metu threw the ball off the backboard to himself and finished it with a slam. The creativity or perhaps desperation of this move is something that can stand on his personal highlight reel for years to come.In the same way, LaVine and Gordon have made a name for themselves from the unbelievable performances they gave Saturday night.The dunk is exhilarating, majestic and captivating all in the span of a few moments and that is why the dunk is so special. So for all those who have the capability to dunk, please let this be your go-ahead. We all love it. Thank you for letting us vicariously soar through the clouds for a few moments every time you reach up for that hoop and throw the ball down.Hailey Tucker is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs every other Wednesday.
Drew Brees may have talked himself into a bad spot, but it seems like at least a few of his teammates are willing to forgive him.In an interview with Yahoo Finance, the Saints quarterback reiterated his stance against kneeling during the national anthem, saying he’ll “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” Meanwhile, Brees completely ignored the issue — police brutality and racial injustice against black people — of which those protests, as well as the ongoing protests in the country, have been trying to address. I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:22am PDT”(My comments) lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.”A handful of Saints players accepted Brees’ apology, which did include a denouncement of racial injustice and police brutality.His backfield partner, Alvin Kamara, tweeted that he was “disappointed and hurt” by Brees’ comments, but he reached out to Brees and the two came to an understanding.I’ve had a day to digest the comments that Drew made. I was disappointed and hurt. We talked and i explained to him where he dropped the ball and he understood. But now it’s time for us to be part of the solution, not the problem. We have to educate to progress.— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) June 4, 2020New Orleans linebacker Demario Davis went on CNN to commend Brees for his apology. View this post on Instagram New Orleans safety Malcom Jenkins was particularly frustrated with Brees’ later self-admitted lack of awareness, saying that he once had respect for Brees, “But sometimes (he) should shut the f— up.””Our communities are under siege and we need help,” Jenkins said. “And what you’re telling us is don’t ask for help that way, ask for it a different way. I can’t listen to it when you ask that way. We’re done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those, and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem.”MORE: ‘F— Drew Brees’: New Orleans marchers respond to Saints QBAfter the backlash, Brees issued an apology on Instagram on Thursday morning, saying he “completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.” JUST NOW: “For him to admit that he was wrong.. I think that is leadership at its finest.”New Orleans @Saints linebacker @demario__davis reacts to hearing @dreabrees’ apology in real time. pic.twitter.com/ynY2Ssy6je— Alli Hedges Maser (@AllisonLHedges) June 4, 2020″For him to admit that he was wrong.. I think that is leadership at its finest.”Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas tweeted in support of Brees, saying “he apologized (and) I accept it because that’s what we are taught as Christians.” He then sent out a series of tweets reminding people that the issue —the reason all of these protests are going on nationwide — is to bring an end to police brutality and racial injustice.One of my brothers made a public statement yesterday that I disagreed with. He apologized & I accept it because that’s what we are taught to do as Christians. Now back to the movement! #GeorgeFloyd— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 4, 2020Let’s focus back on the real issue going on in the world. And not get distracted.— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 4, 2020″Let’s focus back on the real issue going on in the world,” Thomas wrote. “And not get distracted.”
Manuel finished with 23 points to lead the Aces while Calvin Abueva finished with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double.Balkman put up 32 points and 13 rebounds in his PBA return while rookie Christian Standhardinger had 22 points and six boards.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PVL: BaliPure soars to 2nd place after taking down Tacloban Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations LATEST STORIES Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Alaska held a lead that ballooned to as much as 22, 72-50, in the third before the Beermen went on a relentless attack and tie the game at 100 on a Chico Lanete three-pointer with 2:05 left in the game.After JVee Casio scored on a jumper to give the Aces a 103-101 lead with 57 seconds left, Renaldo Balkman countered for the Beermen and tied it at 103 just three seconds later.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownAntonio Campbell made a crucial swipe to steal the ball from Balkman’s hands with 19 seconds left on the clock to ensure Alaska’s possession that led to Manuel’s winner.Alaska streaked to their fourth straight win to get to a 4-1 record and tied TNT and Rain or Shine atop the standings while the Beermen dropped dead last with a 0-3 card. MOST READ View comments Vic Manuel saved Alaska from collapse after his buzzer-beating jumper lifted the Aces over winlesss San Miguel, 105-103, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday in Dumaguete City.ADVERTISEMENT Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial