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We don’t cover sports on this site (although sometimes I wish we did), but sometimes they, video games and sports, bleed into each other and qualify for inclusion. Other times, something happens that captures my attention so tightly that I have to make tenuous connections to support writing about them. This one falls in with the latter.

Blake Griffin over Kendrick PerkinsOk, anyone who watches NBA basketball has probably seen the dunk by Blake Griffin on Kendrick Perkins over and over by now. You couldn’t watch Sportscenter either for more then 20 minutes without it being referenced at least once. For those who managed to miss it, here it is for your perusal.

It’s one of the better contact dunks in recent memory, obviously, and that picture on the left belongs in Kia’s ad campaign with Griffin the same way that Tiger Woods’ chip at the Masters years ago belonged in Nike’s (but like Nike, Kia probably won’t use it because it’s too obvious). I was wowed the first dozen times I saw it, and showed everyone I could who hadn’t seen it yet. It was easily better then the season’s previous standard-bearer, LeBron James leaping over/around John Lucas III last weekend. That thought got me thinking. I watched LeBron for seven years in Cleveland (being from Akron myself) and unlike allot of Northeast Ohio residents, I was hurt when he left but I understood why (he had no chance of getting the Cavs out of the East with Chicago, New York, Orlando, Boston and Miami stacking up). For those who were sick of him early in his career with the constant media coverage, well, I had been hearing it for over a year longer since his high school was just about a dozen miles from my house.
The connections here is that the dunk reminded me of one of LBJ’s dunks back during his days in the Wine and Gold, on one of Kendrick Perkin’s old teammates, yet.

LeBron on Kevin Garnett

This dunk from the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008 was one of his best highlights as a Cav. At the time the Cavs and LeBron wanted so badly to get past Boston that this exclamation point felt bigger then it probably should have. So while Blake’s dunk was great, it’s far from the only of it’s kind.

Now (this is where I try and tie all of this into gaming), next year’s NBA 2K and (probably) NBA Elite series have to match this level, right? I mean, here’s a picture of a good contact dunk from my NBA 2K12 My Player career.

NBA 2K12

No. Not even close. Dunks in videogames tend to be relatively timid. Contact can be made, but it rarely holds up in close-ups or replays. Here, despite the fact that my player acted like he hit a wall with his left shoulder – you’ll have to trust me on that – the other player (a randomly generated rookie) is nowhere near him. There are great contact dunks in the NBA year after year, but they never properly make it into videogames. With this dunk and the hoopla it created (Twitter was lit up like wildfire), game makers have to step it up. You would think, but if there’s one game genre that stagnates more then most any other – even MMOs – it’s sports games. We can hope EA and 2K Sports will get the hint but I’m not holding my breath.

(See? I tied it all back in. Kind of.)