Lakers guard Shannon Brown falls flat in NBA Dunk Contest
Lakers guard Shannon Brown and his strong fan base both viewed the 2010 NBA Dunk Contest as something that would just add another chapter to his impeccable growth in just his second season with the Lakers.
He had wowed crowds with his jaw-dropping dunks, ranging from his slam against Denver's "Birdman" in last year's playoffs to the posterizing against Golden State center Mikki Moore and to the three dunks he slammed in just one game against Washington, a day after President Obama wished him luck.
President Obama wasn't just speaking in theatrics. Since the Charlotte Bobcats traded Brown and Adam Morrison for Vladimir Radmanovic to the Lakers last season, Brown immediately emerged as a reliable reserve on a unit that's been plagued by inconsistency. Though his career-high 7.8 points per game this season better accurately reflects what he provides to the Lakers, it is the highlight reels he's provided for LetShannonDunk.com that's defined his popularity in the Southland -- a fitting reason why he was chosen to compete in the dunk contest along with New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson, Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace and Toronto forward DeMar DeRozen.
The general public gave him a perfect lob to throw down, yet Brown bricked his chance to make himself known beyond Southern California. He scored a 78, which tied for last place with Wallace, as Robinson ultimately won for the third consecutive year.
Rather than greeting the crowd at Dallas' American Airlines Center with an explosive first impression, Brown missed his first dunk by bricking a 360-degree statue of liberty. He followed that up by switching from his right hand to left in mid-air for the one-handed dunk, which sparked a few golf claps and scored a 37. Brown followed that up in the second round with a one-handed slam off a lob from Kobe Bryant, a dunk that scored a 41 but was mild compared to some of the ones he's done in an actual game.
For all the platitudes Brown talked weeks ago about preparing -- with Bryant no less -- and looking at past dunk contests, it appeared there was no planning that went into it at all. Of course, that's not the case. And if he had made his first attempt, Brown may have sparked a better reaction and fed off of it in the second round. But in the end, Brown put together a poor performance in an overall poor dunk contest itself.
This won't define his career, nor should it. It's a dunk contest we're talking about here. Brown rightfully had put this contest in perspective, saying when he was nominated that it was simply a bonus and just one indication of how far he's developed as a player. But Brown also said he wanted to build off any momentum the dunk contest could create. And for all the hype Brown's website, the Lakers and the media were equally responsible for building, it's hard not to leave the contest feeling disappointed.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers guard Shannon Brown failed to advance to the finals of the NBA Dunk Contest, compiling scores of 37 and 41. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images.