When Bobby Sura’s G.A.R. Memorial (Wilkes-Barre, Pa) team was losing, he knew exactly how to change the momentum. A big jam. It got the crowd into it, fired up his teammates and often bought his team back. Entering his third season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sura’s a well-rounded player—but even now he clearly loves to dunk the ball. Sura’s desire for the slam burned brightly at Florida State, and even being drafted by the Cavs, the most plodding team in NBA history, did nothing to douse it.
November 16th, in front of a sleepy crowd at Cleveland’s Gund arena, was the night that Sura announced his presence as a vicious dunker and Sportscenter regular. Late in the first half, with the Cavs down three to the then 7-1 Pistons, Sura decided to take things into his own hands. He bought the ball upcourt himself and hesitated at the three point line. Terry Mills quickly came over to double, but Sura wasn’t done. He busted a sweet crossover on Joe Dumars, slid past Mills and Grant long and streaked down the lane with just one man between himself and the rim.
You don’t remember who that man was. A hint? It wasn’t 6-2 shrimp Lindsey Hunter. It wasn’t Grant Hill, either. Give up? It was Stacey Augmon. You know, “Plastic Man,” a three-time NCAA Defensive Player of the year at UNLV.
Apparently, Mr. Sura wasn’t paying attention when those awards were being handed out. He elevated, cocked the ball behind his head, slapped Augmon like his name was Staci, lost his handle, got it back, threw down hard and walked away with a smug look on his face. And one. The sorry Cavs may not have come back and win (that high-school momentum thing doesn’t fly so well with multi-millionaires), but it was clear that Sura was ready to make some noise.
The 6-5 hybrid guard went on to post decent numbers for the season, 9.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds per. He did enter the Slam Dunk Contest in Cleveland during the All-Star Weekend, but couldn’t get past the second round. Why? Augmon wasn’t there.