The NBA‘s Slam Dunk Contest has been a night of spectacular competition and creativity for just over thirty years. Despite criticisms over its limits in spectacle and potential superfluous risk of injury, or controversial claims in authenticity of previous winners, there are still plenty who find enjoyment in the event’s potential for some very memorable moments. Moments like 5’7″ Spud Webb blowing away the competition, Michael Jordan becoming the first to win back-to-back titles, and an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant become the youngest winner ever have all made their mark on sports history. This past weekend, on Valentine’s Day, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest was held, and 19-year-old Zach LaVine made his mark like no other. Clad in his #23 Tune Squad jersey, LaVine won the hearts of geeks and ’90s kids by drawing inspiration from dunks in the movie Space Jam.
What is Space Jam? Seriously!? It is the 1996 mash up of live-action and animated film in which Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes team up to take on a highly superior team of aliens (who have stolen talent from Earth’s greatest NBA players) in a basketball game to save Bugs Bunny and friends from becoming an amusement park attraction. The catch is that Jordan has retired from basketball and must get himself back into the swing of playing. During the film he pulls off several impressive slam dunks, including ones that go behind the back, under the leg, and hook around the net. For his tribute to the legend, LaVine combined several of these actions into what he has dubbed “The Space Jam Dunk” and it earned him a perfect score for the round, which lead to winning the contest as a whole, and the praise of just about everyone in attendance.
Check out the video below to see LaVine honor our childhood, and stop by the comment section lament with us about how disappointing it is he didn’t stretch his arm out from half-court to beat the buzzer.