Josh Smith

Originally published in SLAM 88

We ATLiens have had it rough the last few years. The Hawks have garnered cap space as if it alone counted for wins. The Falcons are nearly there, the Braves are always there; the Hawks management has no idea where “there” is. Other cities have  future hopes or memories of past glory to rely on when times are bad. Right now, all Atlanta has is the dunk. Dominique Wilkins started it, and Spud Webb added some spice. After a brief break, Isma’il Muhammad resurrected it, including his recent Vince-on-Freddy-esque dunk against NC State. I actually hope Tech doesn’t make the Final Four just so he can compete in the college slam dunk contest, where he can unveil that 540-degree dunk he’s been working on.

And then there’s Josh Smith. He’s the most exciting player on the Hawks, but it wasn’t until that Saturday night in Denver that the world met him. He didn’t miss a dunk, and after opening from the free throw line, he posted nothing but Massacres (50s). But the most beautiful moment was when he donned the Nique jersey and brought it full circle, just like a windmill. The rest of the world may have smiled, but us ATLiens stood and raised our arms to the sky (just like Jermaine Dupri there in the corner). To everyone else, it was a dunk. To us, it was a Championship. At least we’re good at something.

Lang Whitaker