Shira Springer of the Boston Globe has written an extraordinary article about the minutiae of Gerald Green's preparation for the dunk contest. The highlight is no doubt the reality that Gerald's brother Garlon is cyber field-testing different dunks for his brother with the video game NBA Live. And his is a valued opinion.
My personal favorite part, however, is this bit of physics:
Following a morning shootaround last week, Green and Paul Pierce spent 15 minutes perfecting a bounce between the legs from the foul line. The ball must come off the floor hard enough to hit a spot on the backboard just left of the square, and with a certain amount of pace. With the perfect bounce, Green can collect the rebound for an easy dunk. After a handful of bounces, Green and Pierce discussed angles, speed, power, and timing in a way that would make a physics professor proud.
While Green notes that second nature takes over once you're in midair, he knows the strides before liftoff and the position of the ball when he goes for a dunk are critical. Once in the air, Green makes sure his wrist is above the rim, and he positions the ball 12-18 inches to the side of the basket before throwing it down. The entire sequence from liftoff to throwdown takes no more than three seconds.
I'm sure there will be those who criticize Green for working on this during midseason practice time. And I'm sure there will be those who will make fun of him for not just showing up and winning without practice. But me? I admire the craftsmanship. I'm a little nervous that he might over-think, get too hyped up, and choke. But in general, sounds to me like the approach of a champion.
Thanks Nathaniel for the heads up.