You know a dunk is good when it reduces Bill Walton to understatement: “I don’t think I have ever seen Carmelo throw one down like that.” What? No! Really? Melo gets the ball up top, takes three giant steps down the lane like Coltrane, is surrounded by five defenders, and just yokes it on poor No. 11 (name withheld pending family notification) and some late help with absolutely no regard for human life! (Word to Kevin Harlan.)
Make no mistake, this was some all-time Team USA highlight reel material, right up there with Vince jumping “over his head,” the 900 dunks that MJ had in ’84 and ’92, and Charles Barkley conquering Angola all by his damn self. And you can credit a lot of things for it—Argentina bringing its B (or at the very most, A-minus) team, Melo being the perfect player for the international game (which is essentially the NBA in 3/4 scale—smaller players, shorter three-point line), the fact that the USA squad was amped to be doubling-up the defending Olympic champs midway through the second quarter.
Me, though? I look in a different direction.
That’s right, this dunk—the whole tournament, in fact—should have been dedicated to Larry Brown. Mr. Play The Right Way, who went to Athens, took his three young captains, found them a nice spot on the bench and left them there. So crack all the jokes you want about LeBronze, give the three special Ks (Coach K, JK and KB24) all the props in the world, but know this: Without LB, none of this happens.
Sorry No. 11.