The DJ at the Seattle Pro-Am was on point on Sunday afternoon. As Zach LaVine walked in Will Smith’s “Summertime” filled the air and gave me a big whiff of nostalgia — then LaVine took flight and I caught myself getting all “he seriously looks like a young Vince Carter” on anyone who would listen to me.
The Pro-Am is not allowed to hold an official dunk contest per some NBA rule for sanctioned off-season events, however they are permitted to let players dunk for the amusement of fans in attendance, and with social media, fans around the globe as well. Jamal Crawford was also able to get Kevin Kemp (also known as Golden Child) of Team Flight Bros to come out and together they wowed fans for a good 10 minutes with an array of dunks.
The dunks themselves weren’t really the thing that caught me off guard, it was the explosion LaVine showed anytime he rose up to throw (as you will see literally throw) one down. The dunks themselves could be done by others, but the difference was the aesthetics, the grace, the style, and the ease at which Zach is able to pull off with a high difficulty level.
In my opinion the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest is the last one to really wow me. Some of that is that it’s really challenging to come up with new dunks, but again some of it is the style at which guys dunk. Michael Jordan‘s dunks were revolutionary for the time, but it was the style with which he dunked that made them truly iconic and LaVine has that style in spades.
As we sat court side watching this in awe, a bystander walked by and said “that kid could beat Vince Carter in his prime right now!” Obvious overreaction as VC is one of the best dunkers of all-time, but if LaVine is in the 2015 NBA Dunk Contest (and he better be!) he will win it — and it will not be close. And to all of you who think LaVine will never form into a Vince Carter type of player, I leave you with this — LaVine averaged 9.4 ppg last year as a freshman in college; Vince averaged only 7.5 ppg as a freshman at North Carolina. Hey, it could happen.