March 30, 2004

But, what about the fundamentals?: Candace Parker, who will attend the U of Tennessee next year, has won the McDonalds High School All-American Game Dunk Contest. Will this be the beginning of the end for sound fundamentals in the women's game, a la the men's game over the last 20 years? How soon before more women are able to play above the rim with consistency, and possibly get more attention for their game?

posted by bcb2k2 to basketball at 03:13 PM - 16 comments

to infinity and beyond.

posted by Mike McD at 04:10 PM on March 30, 2004

I don't see this as the harbinger of doom, as far as women's fundamentals are concerned. The majority of the sports skills (and it's outcome) still depend upon what happens below the rim, male or female. Although I do not believe that this signals the end for boxing out, setting picks, and what-not, I find it sad that so many fans feel that the female game needs the dunk to legitimize the sport.

posted by lilnemo at 04:25 PM on March 30, 2004

From a PR standpoint, it was inevitable and it'll only help the women's game become more popular. From a quality of game standpoint? It's a non-issue. It'll be another few years before even one woman per team will be dunking consistently even at the WNBA level, and the greater focus on passing and flow will continue to make the women's game infinitely more watchable than the men's version for decades to come.

posted by chicobangs at 10:21 AM on March 31, 2004

For anyone who wants to see it - ESPN will be showing the dunk contest at 8PM EST tonight, I believe.

posted by blarp at 10:49 AM on March 31, 2004

Am I watching the same women's basketball as you people? When I watch a WNBA or women's NCAA game, I see lots of bad shot selection, wild shots, and a lot of out of control play. I don't see the emphasis on fundamentals that you guys see. In fact, I think the phrase "good fundamentals" have somehow become codeword for unathletic slow players (see it being applied to Princeton and other predominantly-white men's teams and now being applied to women's basketball).

posted by gyc at 12:06 PM on March 31, 2004

Whew, thank's gyc...I thought maybe my TV was broken or stuck in some slow motion time warp whenever women's hoops was on. Glad it's not just me.

posted by pivo at 03:08 PM on March 31, 2004

Normally I shy away from posting in such categories because the pc police are alive and well on this site. But anyone who sees her "forearm over her eyes" dunk and thinks that it's on par with anything the guys do, is delusional. There is no doubt that she is a premier female player coming out of high school, but this is a token award. Now, the highlights I saw did not show any of the men's dunks, and I think quite a few of them missed theirs, so maybe that is why she scored so highly? She hit all three of hers. But I love how she scored all 10's and they point out that Barry Sanders was the only one to score her a 9. And get a load of the previous winners of this contest as told by the AP: Vince Carter, Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Also, espn built her up, and now they are taking her down.

posted by usfbull at 08:57 PM on March 31, 2004

If it wasn't for this line in the ESPN article, I wouldn't even care: There are moments, stunning indelible moments, that transcend sport, crumble barriers and create icons. There's Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome in 1973. Brandi Chastain clinching the Women's World Cup in 1999. Annika Sorenstam teeing off at the Colonial last May. Here's what happened.. She was in the final round with 3 guys (I didn't watch before, so I don't know how they qualified). Everybody gets 3 dunks, and if you screw up a dunk, you get a second try at it. She completed all three dunks (on the first one, she missed on her first try, but on her second attempt, she dunked), with the third "Dee Brown-like" dunk consisting of her running to the hoop, putting her arm across her eyes for a second, moving her arm away, jumping, and dunking. The Dee Brown dunk, if I recall correctly, had Dee Brown with his arm over his eyes while he was dunking. Completely different. Then, each guy who followed her ended up completely screwing up at least one dunk and thus getting 0/80 points for the screwed up dunk. (There are 8 judges who can give up to 10 points for a made dunk.) So she pretty much won by default. I think it's impressive that she can dunk, but to go on about how this "transcends sport" is simply insulting. It's a freaking slam dunk contest with Barry Sanders and "Big Country" Bryant Reeves judging. Even if one of the guys made all 3 dunks and she won, it still wouldn't "transcend sport". Ugh.

posted by blarp at 10:26 PM on March 31, 2004

Normally I shy away from posting in such categories because the pc police are alive and well on this site. Your perspective on this contest is interesting (and probably right), but it's a shame you had to play the victim card. Your sad tale of victimization at the hands of the PC police reduced me to tears of inchoate rage. Let's find these horrible people and Fallujah their asses. I didn't see her dunks, but slam dunk contests are the basketball equivalent of ice dancing. The judging is always inherently bogus, whether or not the winner's male or female, so I wouldn't be surprised if she got a bit of an edge for being the first female competitor to land a dunk. It's definitely a significant milestone in the history of women's athletics.

posted by rcade at 06:22 AM on April 01, 2004

It's definitely a significant milestone in the history of women's athletics. Yes, and that milestone is being paraded around on the Today Show this morning, as well as every other nationally syndicated talk show as we speak, as the savior of women's sports. That's where my problem lies. If the contest and the judging are viewed as such trivial events, which you and I both agree, then why go through the whole dog and pony show? Because it's a feel good story for the national media to remind American males that we are all equal. I can already hear acl's tearing all over the country as women attempt to dunk.

posted by usfbull at 07:06 AM on April 01, 2004

Why shouldn't she be paraded around? Dunk contests are a joke, but it's still cool that a female athlete has enough game to compete in one. And if she slams one in a game next season at Tennessee, it will be huge for her sport. I don't get why the publicity is a supposed affront to "American males."

posted by rcade at 07:45 AM on April 01, 2004

Just to finish this off, an interesting article by Jason Whitlock on ESPN's Page 2..

posted by blarp at 02:22 PM on April 01, 2004

Whitlock brings up a good point about TV ratings. ESPN aired this after it was over and was able to hype the results. It worked with me since I watched a few minutes of it. However, my ADD quickly took over and it wasn't until after it was over that I realized I never saw the end. And to finish off my earlier point since I was unable to post all day at this thing we call work. The celebration of her winning just seems to be a backhanded compliment.

posted by usfbull at 04:57 PM on April 01, 2004

Normally I shy away from posting in such categories because the pc police are alive and well on this site. pc police? is their a charter of their members? is it anything like the little pink mafia? I agree with the assessment that it is somewhat a backhanded compliment. But if she doesn't perceive it as such, why not just let it be? Is it so horrible that she gets a moment in the spotlight? And lets face it, she might not get this kind of attention again. The reason behind the whole dog and pony show is that this is the first time it (a female winning the contest) has happened. It's the same thing the US Basketball team went through this past summer when the "pros" lost the World Championship. And playing the pc card bites. I would just assume that every poster has a valid reason for their opinion and leave it at that. To arbitrarily drop a blanket statement like that assumes that members aren't capable of cogent thought. Whatever side of the fence a poster lands on is their choice, regardless as to how you, I, or anyone else perceives it. :) I'm just saying I found your analysis interesting enough that it didn't need a disclaimer. *keep on keepin' on*

posted by lilnemo at 06:16 PM on April 01, 2004

Let's find these horrible people and Fallujah their asses. I was very surprised that nobody jumped on this comment since it references 5 US Military personnel and 4 contracted US civilians being burned and dragged throughout a city square, that being in Fallujah, Iraq. That typifies my pc comment on this site. I let it slide the first time since it has nothing to do with sports, but I find it ironic that nobody jumped on it. You may hate Bush, but throwing men in uniform under the bus to make a point seems quite classless. so Keep on keepin' on.

posted by usfbull at 09:46 PM on April 02, 2004

So my comment is politically offensive, but was ignored here, which proves your point that the PC police are alive and well on this site? That doesn't make any sense at all. PC police would have hammered the shit out of me for that tasteless turn of phrase. Regardless, I'm sorry for using the term. It was a reference to Fallujah's reputation for being a brutal bad-ass city, not some kind of political dig. However, when you fish for sympathy with the "pc police" crack and now this, you're doing an awful lot of crying on a site where disagreements are 10 times as tame as any political weblog.

posted by rcade at 02:52 PM on April 03, 2004

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