Another Streetball Tournament, another Dream come true…
After interviewing some NBA Stars in Paris a week earlier, my team and I headed to Berlin for our the KICKZ x adidas #SHUTUPANDPLAY this weekend. The competition took place at the new place to be for Basketball in Berlin, the AS1 Court in Alt-Stralau 1. What a setting!
The people in the audience got to see some spectacular streetball action during the first two days of the tourney, but the moment they’ve all been waiting for would take place at 6:00pm on Saturday. The #SHUTUPANDPLAY Slam Dunk Contest featuring the world famous Dunk Elite!
You could feel the growing excitement in the crowd the closer the contest came… Usually you have some celebrity judges to give their take on the dunks. Not this time though, as Rob, our man in charge gave me the task to assemble “The Jury“ 😉
My first choice was pretty obvious: ME! I just couldn’t let that opportunity pass by. Being a judge in a real Slam Dunk Contest, I mean, come on man! I picked 3 fellow judges to rate the dunks with me: Brian Butler, pro baller and Slam Dunk Champ himself, Dilim Oniya from the Berlin Braves and my man Gino from K1X.
So here we were. The Dunk Elite stepped onto the court, we took our seats and everything was ready to go! The competition consisted of 7 dunkers, 4 Dunk Elite guys and 3 challengers. The rules were the following: 2 rounds, 3 dunks in the first round, top 3 advance to the final round and have 2 more dunks. Total score of all 5 dunks decides who becomes the SUAP Slam Dunk Champ. Let’s go!
The contest took off and so did the dunkers… Man was it hard not to always show 10s on every dunk! Especially the Dunk Elite guys did not disappoint. Lipek, the reigning Slam Dunk World Champion, Flight and Miller, who won the Q54 contest the week before, were the clear-cut favorites to reach the final round. But there was one underdog who surprised everyone in attendance, us judges included… Piotr Grabowski from Poland!
The 5’11” guy jumped like he had springs in his legs and made his way straight into the final round. With two open spots left, the favorites had to battle it out between the three of them… Unfortunately, my personal favorite Miller (I was not biased at all!) did not have his best day and could not show off all his dunks. His colleagues Flight, real name Jordan Sutherland, from the USA and Lipek, the champ, from Poland completed the final.
Now it became really tough for us judges as we simply couldn’t hand out perfect 40s all the time… So we had a little chat about how we could determine who should win. Brian, our expert, gave us some insights and explained which details matter and what the dunkers needed to show us in order to get that 40. It became really close, I can tell you…
Lipek was in the lead after performing as expected in the first round, Flight came in second and Piotr was in third place. Piotr continued to bounce high, but he was not too creative and pulled off slight variations of the same dunks all over again… So it went down to the Dunk Elite, Lipek and Flight.
And here’s where we, The Jury, may have been a little too stingy with our points for Lipek’s signature ‘over 7 people’ dunk. We gave him straight 9s on his attempt, a total of 36. 38 may have been a better score at this stage of the competition… After Flight slammed in a whopping 39, the two were tied and had to go overtime. A classic dunk-off. 1 dunk each, the better slam wins.
From here on, however, things got easier for us. Sadly. As Lipek, who was really pissed at us for the 36 we gave him, wasn’t able to finish his dunk. Flight did his thing, jumped over a KICKZ Banner and thus was the easy choice for us as the 2017 #SHUTUPANDPLAY Slam Dunk Champ.
After the contest, Lipek came over to our scorer’s table and asked us about the 36, explaining the reasons why this was a clear 40 to him. He had a point, we were a little too harsh on him, but he had his chance in the last attempt and simply couldn’t convert… (Would have been an otherworldly 360 between the legs over 4 people!!) It’s all good though! No hard feelings 😉
Once again a crazy experience, being a judge in a dunk contest which was at least twice as good as the last NBA dunk contest… Dream come true indeed! Never Not Ballin’!