How YouTube Ruined the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

YouTube ruined the NBA slam dunk contest.

Back in the day - say 1988 - if you told me Michael Jordan dunked from the free throw line, I'd believe you.  In fact, if I missed the news that night, I'd have no choice but to believe you.

But here's the thing - Jordan didn't take off from the free throw line.  He was a good 1/2 step inside it.  Oh, and he never double clutched, as many now believe. So the dunk that launched a thousand marketing executions was not quite what it was reported to be.

And I can't tell you how thankful I am YouTube didn't exist in 1988.  I would rather remember that dunk as it was reported, rather than as it really was [see clip below].


Fast forward 23 years.

"Blake Griffin just dunked over a car!" screamed the Internet a few nights ago.

But here's the thing - he dunked over the hood of a car.  And while a great physical accomplishment, not quite as it was reported.  Very similar to the Jordan situation, except these days, everyone's an analyst - and we all have access to the greatest instant reply machine ever invented ... YouTube.

In the days since Blake's dunk I've watched it probably 10 times, from various angles and speeds.  And I've picked it apart like no dunk I've ever seen.

And I hate that.  It feels like I've ruined a great moment.

Bill Simmons recently had David Stern on his podcast, and they talked about YouTube becoming a great accellerant for the popularity of young NBA talent.  And I agree.  Blake is Blake, in part, because of YouTube. But with that upside, comes the down.  And the down, for me, is a loss of wonderment and imagination. 

I wouldn't go back to the old way.  I'm too addicted to YouTube and too strapped for time to watch a lot of live TV.  But it does make me pause and think.

So yes, for me YouTube ruined the NBA slam dunk contest.  Then again, the silly props and seemingly infinite attempts at each dunk don't help either.

And for what it's worth, this is how the dunk contest should be.  Courtesy of the NBA D League. 


How to Avoid NASCAR Blindness? Watch the Daytona 500.

Want to avoid NASCAR blindness?  Watch the 51st annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 15. 

Get over whatever negative perception you have about the sport - give it at least one shot.  And if you've never been to a race (I'm guessing very few of my readers have), trust me when I tell you it is one of the most remarkable experiences you can imagine.

Daytona 500

While NASCAR may be 60 years old, its attitude is that of a young gun.  Drama, danger, speed – it all adds up to America’s biggest spectator sport.  It is NOT a bunch of good ole’ boys driving in circles.  Races are won on pit strategies, car "set-ups," alliances, and nerves of steel.  The story arc that unfolds over the course of a four-hour race is riveting.

So on Sunday afternoon, put down your latte, keep the luxury SUV in the heated garage and skip yoga class.  Buckle up ... it's a wild ride.

Jack Bauer Goes Green?

Interesting nugget today from the Washington Post (full article here) about Fox's Cool Change initiative, and how it will affect season 7 of the show "24" ...

"... the seventh season of "24" will take steps to reduce and offset the carbon emissions from the show's production, with the goal of having the season finale be entirely carbon-neutral.

The show's electricity bills will go toward renewable-energy credits that will bring a share of wind, solar and water power to Los Angeles's grid. A diesel-powered soundstage will be converted to electricity, thus lessening the show's contribution to the local air pollution problem, and the show's five location scouts will be given Priuses to drive. Scripts, schedules and memos -- which used to be hand-delivered by car -- will be sent via e-mail."

LOVES the environment, HATES bad guys and bureaucrats!


Bud.TV Plans Fixes

The Hollywood Reporter serves up a short article on what the folks at A-B are planning to do to overhaul  Wasn't too hard to see this all coming (even I picked up on it a few weeks ago ... here).  You can read the full article, but here are the highlights of the new strategy according to THR ...

1. Putting its content—tagged with Bud.TV—on morepopular sites like YouTube, AOL0072435229782_500x500 and Yahoo to gain awareness and encourage people to check out more on Bud.TV.
2. Reducing Webisodes to mostly one minute from the previous 5-6 minutes.
3. Changing content providers to come up with edgier programming and playing a larger role in deciding on the type of content it thinks will work.
4. Making Bud.TV an aggregator of Web content it deems its beer consumers would enjoy and building a social networking element to the site.
5. In the marketing arena, converting some traditional media and sports sponsorships to mention Bud.TV; working with wholesalers to create Bud.TV point-of-sale materials that can be put up at retail and at bars to help create awareness; and placing Bud.TV ads on the sites of sporting events sponsored by Budweiser, like Nascar races, NBA games and AVP Tour matches.

Sopranos Finale = DVD Sales

Big_moneyIt's shocking to me that in all the discussion about the Sopranos finale, not a lot of people are putting forth the theory that the vague ending is simply a vehicle to sell DVDs ...

... Is the guy at the counter Phil Leotardo's cousin?  Get the DVD.

... Are the two guys who enter the diner the same guys who tried to kill Tony in season 1?  Get the DVD.

... What exactly did Bobby say at the lake house about what it must be like to get killed?  Get the DVD.

See a pattern?  I'm guessing David Chase and the folks at HBO do also.  If they are smart they will just keep fanning the flames.

Do you agree?  Or am I just terribly cynical?

New Season of Hell's Kitchen ... Chef Ramsay is Back

I've written before about Chef Gordon Ramsay.  There's an article [click here] in today's Chicago Sun Times about the new season of Hell's Kitchen.  I'm not naive enough to think that any of the previous or future winners of Hell's Kitchen will go on to garner the respect of world-class chefs ... I just love watching Chef Ramsay take out his frustration on the contestants.  As the article says:

Ramsay is the R. Lee Ermey ("Full Metal Jacket") of cooking.

"It tastes like gnat's piss!" he shrieks at a cook's dish.

Gunny Ramsay_narrowweb__300x3810