by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

I’ve had a cold for about three weeks now…coming and going and coming and going and coming and going. Which is fun. And I will be treating it in possibly the worst way imaginable, by getting on a plane tomorrow and spending the weekend traveling to write a story for the issue of SLAM that we’re trying to finish up right now.

A few things before I hit the road…

• There’s been a lot of talk about the dunk contest this year, specifically the surprising inclusions of Brandon Jennings, Serge Ibaka and JaVale McGee. I knew Brandon used to dunk a lot in high school, and he’s an L.A. guy, and he’ll be the smaller guy that the crowd will hopefully get behind. So Brandon’s inclusion, I understand. And I know McGee and Ibaka are both crazy athletic, but I didn’t really know either was considered a dunker. Then we ran this video of McGee putting in work getting ready for the contest, which looks promising.

And my main man Pascal Giberne tipped me off to the video below of Serge Ibaka as a 19 year old competing in a dunk contest in Spain. Some nice stuff here…

• Last week I talked about the crazy animal deaths happening around the world. Well, they’re continuing. If you want to keep up with them, someone made a handy clickable Google Map listing them all…


View Mass Animal Deaths in a larger map

• Anyone watch the BCS title game? Oregon wore some crazy uniforms, and the story of why Nike designed them the way they did is here. By the way, I’m guessing Tostitos was really excited that there was a coach named “Chip” involved in the game.

• Couldn’t be more excited about season two of “The Ricky Gervais Show,” starting this week on HBO, and Discovery Science showing “An Idiot Abroad” here in the States, beginning next week.

• Finally, if you want some NBA talk, here’s this week’s NBA.com Hangtime Podcast hosted by myself and Sekou Smith. We talked LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and all kinds of other stuff. Sekou and I had a star-studded line-up of guests: TNT’s Steve Kerr, Yahoo’s Marc Spears and SLAM columnist and author Dave Zirin.

Listen here…

You can download the entire file here, or subscribe via itunes here.

OK. I’m gonna take some Mucinex now. Later…