Yesterday, LeBron James temporarily ended the Internet when video of his post-practice dunk display landed on NBA.com.
Just five days in advance of this weekend’s Dunk Contest, the video is clearly LeBron’s (successful) viral effort to delegitimize the event’s champion, and to maintain his place as humanity’s truest freak.
I attempted to analyze LeBron’s spectacular first dunk frame-by-frame to better hone in on the depths of His Rareness.
1. The size
First thing’s first, look at how f’ing big this man is. If Norris Cole (is that Norris Cole behind him?) takes another step to his right, he will be entirely eclipsed by the LeBron’s planet. To begin to whittle down just how special this dunk is, I researched a list of 137 NBA players who are reported to weigh more than 230 pounds (LeBron is listed at 250). They are as follows:
- Kwame Brown, Nikola Pekovic, Glen Davis, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bynum, Desagana Diop, Roy Hibbert, Zaza Pachulia, Kevin Seraphin, Byron Mullens, DeJuan Blair, Aaron Gray, Kendrick Perkins, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Enes Kanter, Carlos Boozer, Marc Gasol, Hamed Haddidi, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Kaman, Kosta Koufos, Brook Lopez, Brendan Haywood, Hasheem Thabeet, Andray Blatche, Andrew Bogut, Kevin Love, Jason Maxiell, Mehmet Okur, Zach Randolph, Anderson Varejao, Royce White, Metta World Peace, Robert Sacre, Greg Stiemsma, Jared Sullinger, Andrea Bargnani, Nick Collison, Tim Duncan, Robin Lopez, Jermaine O’Neal, Emeka Okafor, Anthony Randolph, Marreese Speights, Lavoy Allen, Omer Asik, Festus Ezeli, Miles Plumlee, Elton Brand, Kevin Garnett, Paul Millsap, JaVale McGee, Terrance Jones, Blake Griffin, Brandon Bass, Samuel Dalembert, Pau Gasol, Drew Gooden, Tyler Hansbrough, Chuck Hayes, Al Horford, Juwan Howard, Jason Thompson, David West, Timofey Mozgov, Tyler Zeller, Greg Monroe, Andrew Nicholson, Ronny Turiaf, Carl Landry, Derrick Favors, Johan Petro, Joel Anthony, Reggie Evans, Channing Frye, Al Harrington, Spencer Hawes, Dirk Nowitzki, Joel Pryzbilla, Amar’e Stoudemire, Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, Ekpe Udoh, Meyers Leonard, Markief Morris, Andris Biedrins, JJ Hickson, Derrick Williams, Derrick Williams, LaMarcus Aldridge, Ryan Anderson, Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, Marcin Gortat, Ryan Hollins, Joe Johnson, David Lee, Kenyon Martin, Josh McRoberts, Jan Veesly, Nikola Vucevic, Tiago Splitter, Thomas Robinson, Mike Scott, Shavlk Randolph, Darrell Arthur, Michael Beasley, Matt Bonner, Chris Bosh, Boris Diaw, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Udonis Haslem, Jordan Hill, Kris Humphries, Serge Ibaka, Andrei Kirilenko, Steve Novak, Paul Pierce, Thaddeus Young, Jae Crowder, Perry Jones, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, Joakim Noah, Charlie Villanueva, Ed Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jonas Jerebko, Joans Valanciuanas, Carmelo Anthony
2. The pass
LeBron’s circus dunk begins with an essentially Brees-esque outlet pass. Standing one foot inside the half court line, LeBron unleashes a chest pass that must hit a precise spot 20 feet up on a beam standing roughly 60 feet away. So, I then took my original list of 137 230+ pounders and tried to narrow it down to whom I thought would have any prayer at throwing a successful outlet pass along these lines. I got the following results:
- Kevin Love, Royce White, Marc Gasol, Jared Sullinger, Andrea Bargnani, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Paul Gasol, Greg Monroe, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, LaMarcus Aldridge, Ryan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Josh McRoberts, Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Steve Novak, Paul Pierce, Thaddeus Young, Charlie Villanueva, Carmelo Anthony
3. The catch
Then, after ripping a 65 foot chest pass to a spot on a pole smaller than an archery target, LeBron charges towards a point roughly 12 feet from the basket, where he must spear the ball off a bounce with one hand. According to my math, this means LeBron pops up from the pass and sprints about 42 feet in less than 3 seconds. Of the 23 230+ pounders who I believe would have any shot of throwing an outlet pass of the necessary caliber, only the following seem to me like they might have a shot at all of getting to the necessary spot on the floor to make this catch:
- LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Thaddeus Young, Carmelo Anthony
4. The elevation
So, after tossing a chest pass into a bedroom window 20 yards away and 7 yards up, sprinting nearly halfway across the court in mere seconds, and seamlessly retrieving a pass with just one hand while moving at full speed, LeBron simultaneously launches himself off his left foot, soaring to make eye contact with the rim. Of the five 230+ pounders who could even possibly complete this pass and catch in the first place, the following could then elevate themselves above the rim:
- LeBron James
5. The finish
No one else comes even close. Eat your heart out, dunk contest.