"Babe Ruth was the Michael Jordan of Baseball" - David Stern
By: Jemel Agulto (Follow on Twitter: @nycboi411)
The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be in Houston, TX and the city is sure to have a chalk full of activities all weekend long. Amongst the confetti and thousands of champagne corks that will be popped this weekend, Michael Jordan will also be celebrating his 50th birthday, which is Sunday 17 Feb. To celebrate and go along with the festivities of NBA All-Star Weekend, we shall take a walk down memory lane and reminisce on the performance that his "Airness" conjured during the 1988 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Regarded as the best, most competitive and entertaining slam dunk contests of all-time, the results of this event firmly cemented Jordan and his brand into superstardom.
Call it fate or call it coincidence, but oddly enough Jordan's birthday-weekend falls on the same weekend as the contest's 25th anniversary. The stage was set for the, then 24 year-old defending dunk champion Jordan, to compete against former champ Dominique "the Human Highlight Film" Wilkins, Clyde "the Glide" Drexler and Otis Smith in front of the hometown crowd of Chicago. Dunk after dunk, the ruckus-crowd erupted in awe and amazement after each agile high flyer thunderously threw down each remarkable slam. Once the rim-dust settled, Drexler and Smith were eliminated after the semifinal round, setting up a finals rematch for the ages. Wilkins did not disappoint fans in this heavyweight matchup, as he tallied two perfect 50s and a 47 with his dunks in the final round. Jordan, however, received a 50, as well as a controversial 45, on his first two attempts. This meant he would need a 50 on his final dunk in order to weather Wilkins advances and claim victory of the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest. With the crowd behind him, Jordan--signature tongue out--started his approach to the basket. Building up speed he finally decided to take flight from the free throw line. At this point everything seemed to be in slow motion, as Jordan seemed to defy gravity by gliding across the 14-foot-gap, silencing "the Madhouse on Madison" with disbelief. Finally, he approached the front of the rim and stretched his body to go just a few more inches and with a loud swoosh of the net, rattle of the rim and eruption of the crowd Jordan became the first human to take flight. Not only did he earn a 50 for that unbelievable display of athleticism and consequently the 1988 title, he forever branded himself as "Air Jordan."
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