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2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Turns Into a Blake Griffin KIA Commercial

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Last night when my best friend and I were watching the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, he mentioned to me that the winner of this was already determined before the participants attempted their dunks. That of course is Blake Griffin, who was hyped up as a partcipant in the slam dunk contest. 

The 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest featured Griffin and three players pretty much the entire country has never heard of. Unless you are fan of their teams, play fantasy basketball, or follow the NBA closely, you never heard of Serge Ibaka, Javale McGee, or Demar Derozan.

Going into this, Griffin was clearly the reason to watch last night. He's an amazing talent and provided he stays healthy, he could be a Top Five player in the NBA for a decade or more.

The surprise of the evening was the Washington Wizards' Javale McGee, who got robbed. McGee was clearly better than Griffin. His double-backboard dunk in Round 1 was something that was never done before. After all, that is the point of the slam dunk contest - to go boldly where no one has previously gone. McGee followed that up with dunking three basketballs, which defied the laws of physics. And, he even performed a dunk with the ball bounced behind the backboard, while putting it through his legs, nearly smacking his head on the backboard and making it look effortless.

What dunks did Griffin perform that were any different? He did a 360 dunk while his head was near the rim. And, for Griffin's finale, (which turned into a KIA commercial) he jumped over a KIA sedan. At this moment I turned to my buddy and said the contest turned into a complete joke. Once they rolled out the "official car of the NBA" - the KIA, the fix was in. The slam dunk contest ceased to be an open competition and it was handed to Griffin, while serving as a glorified commercial for the NBA.

As if that's not enough, a choir came out and sang "I can believe I can fly" while the KIA was parked under the rim. And, then Griffin took off IN FRONT of the foul line and jumped over the car. Basically he won the contest by doing the same dunk that Serge Ibaka performed and his wasn't even as good. Ibaka actually took off from the foul line in a previous round, but got a worse score than Griffin. But, of course Griffin did it over a shiny new KIA being peddled by the NBA.

The shame in all of this is that all four participants were great in their own way. Griffin certainly wasn't the best one out there last night. If he was a nobody like the other players, there certainly would have been a different winner.

The NBA manufactured a superstar last night. They annoited Blake Griffin the next superstar of the league. And, they weren't afraid to put him in a KIA commercial either.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com