All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles was full of all kinds of unforgettable moments. Largely, it was the desperately-needed return of aggressive play within the sport itself that had NBA basketball followers feeling refreshed, however as all the time, the ancillary occasions weren’t with out their very own cases of appeal.
The Dunk Contest is all the time among the many most highly-anticipated moments of the weekend, and even when it’s underwhelming or outright disappointing, the extent of showmanship and/or novelty concerned is definitely worth the value of admission alone.
For first-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, it was the complete spectrum of expertise, and being one thing of a showman himself, he wasn’t afraid to tug out the gimmicks when it got here time for him to return to the Dunk Contest, an occasion he misplaced three years in the past to Zach LaVine.
Alas, Oladipo wouldn’t discover redemption on this 12 months’s contest, however he was answerable for a really cool and prescient homage to the world’s No. 1 film on the time, the Marvel superhero flick Black Panther. Oladipo not too long ago defined how that second with the long-lasting masks and lead actor Chadwick Boseman in the end got here to cross.
By way of Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
So how did you go about making that dunk occur the place you bought the Black Panther masks from Boseman earlier than your dunk and put it on?
I wasn’t the one who type of got here up with it. Folks in my camp type of got here up with it. They perceive comics, in order that they type of got here up with it. We had mutual pals, me and Chad. We acquired a maintain of him and he was gonna be within the area, fortunately. It type of simply labored out on itself, and I felt prefer it was the best time to carry that out simply because Black Panther is such a monumental assertion.
It’s a part of a motion in our technology that may go down in historical past as clearly one of many first black superheroes, and I simply felt as if it wanted to be introduced into the NBA and I assumed it might be an important thought so as to add him into it. He was with it they usually acquired the approval from Disney, and it simply turned out the way in which it turned out. I’m simply glad I made the dunk.
The dunk itself wasn’t notably noteworthy, however as Oladipo stated later within the interview, the truth that he couldn’t actually see or breathe by the masks renders it that rather more spectacular.
Oladipo additionally alluded to the extra overarching cultural significance of the movie. Black Panther is the primary superhero film during which the vast majority of the primary characters and actors are black, and upon its preliminary launch, athletes across the NBA and different professional sports activities organized free screenings for teenagers throughout the nation in an effort to show children to extra optimistic black position fashions.
Oladipo did his half, too, and regardless of rookie Donovan Mitchell in the end taking residence the Dunk Contest trophy, the Pacers guard gave the world one of many weekend’s coolest moments.
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