Countdown To Showdown: Air Up There Impresses Drake, LeBron and You
David AstramskasAka VincentDa & RedApples fka Expiredpineapples. My alter-ego is a digital-marketing guy in Houston. Won editing awards & created obsolete flash websites that have been featured in mags like Sports Illustrated. Studied film & women at FSU during the golden age of hip-hop. Collects records, laserdiscs, sports memorabilia & toys. Father of 2 daughters that are more athletic and popular on YouTube.
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THE EVENT: THE SPRITE SLAM DUNK SHOWDOWN
WHERE: ORLANDO – NBA ALL-STAR WEEKEND
WHEN: 2.24.12 – 4:25PM EST live on NBA.com | Broadcasted on NBATV on 2.25.12
More Info: facebook.com/SpriteSlamDunkShowdown | twitter.com/spriteshowdown
Taurian Fontenette aka Air Up There aka Mr 720 may be the most influential dunker ever that has never played in the NBA. During the And1 glory days he threw down a 720 dunk that most people said was impossible. We have heard rumors of Vince Carter doing it in high school but Mr 720 is the only person we have evidence of.
We also have enough evidence to put his name in the same sentence as Vince and Michael Jordan as arguably the best dunker ever. I don’t mean contest dunker …I mean game dunker. Granted, he’s not playing against NBA competition but he’s pulled out amazing dunks in every organized game from celeb charity events to competitive streetball ones to the international Ballup tour to rare dunk contest appearances like the Sprite Showdown.
Let’s go back to 2010 when Air Up There made a surprise appearance at the final stop of the Sprite Showdown tour in Dallas. He put on the best dunk exhibition I have ever seen and I probably only rank Vince Carter’s NBA dunk contest performance above it. AUT beat out a long list of talented dunkers and this allowed him to compete at the upcoming NBA Allstar game in the Showdown finals where he would compete against 3 other top dunkers in front of judges Darryl Dawkins, LeBron and Drake. He didn’t disappoint and made LeBron & Drake get up a few times but it was his 360 between the legs dunk that made LeBron leave the building.
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Air Up There doesn’t do contests anymore but he did put out a challenge to Blake Griffin after last year’s NBA dunk contest. Blake did not reply.
If you aren’t convinced that Air Up There belongs in the argument as best dunker ever then just check out the following videos.
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- LeBron & J.Cole to judge Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at NBA AllStar Weekend
- J.Cole playing w/ Penny, dunk judging w/ LeBron & best basketball references
- Countdown Showdown: Kenny Dobbs aka the Dunk Inventor
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
THIRD ANNUAL SPRITE® SLAM DUNK SHOWDOWN TO DETERMINE
AMERICA’S BEST AMATEUR DUNKER AT NBA ALL-STAR 2012
— Competition Will Be Streamed Live on NBA.com and Televised by NBA TV–
— For Third Consecutive Year Two-Time NBA All-Star MVP LeBron James to Serve as
Judge, While GRAMMY Nominee J. Cole will Perform —
NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2012 – The double-clutch, tomahawk, windmill and 360 are some of the most
memorable and backboard-shaking dunks of all time. Will we see a new twist on a dunk, or one never-
before-seen, thrown down as the four finalists in the third annual Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown compete
for the title of North America’s best amateur dunker?
We’ll find out when the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown will take place at NBA All-Star Jam Session at
the Orange County Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 24, at 4:25 ET. The event will be streamed live
on NBA.com and a 30 minute recap program will air on NBA TV at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb.25.
Additionally, Sprite is encouraging fans to tune in to Sprite.com immediately following the competition
for a big announcement about a new Sprite program featuring several NBA players.
An All-Star panel of judges will help determine the winner, including NBA All-Star LeBron James of
the Miami Heat, NBA Legend Darryl Dawkins, GRAMMY® nominee J. Cole, and Sprite All-Stars
Carlos “Los” Smothers and Myree “Reemix” Bowden. The Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown will also
feature a special performance from J. Cole at Center Court at NBA All-Star Jam Session.
Each participant will perform two dunks in the first round. The two contestants with the highest score
from the judges will advance to the final round. The two finalists will complete two dunks and fans will
determine the winner via SMS text message. The champion will receive a $10,000 grand prize and have
the honor of presenting the trophy to the NBA player who wins the Sprite® Slam Dunk at the Amway
Center the following night.
The four finalists who will compete at the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown at NBA All-Star 2012 are:
- Zach Jones, 6’0” a.k.a. “Jonesy” – Emerging from Dayton, OH, Jones, 24, has been dunking for six years and won the semifinal competition in Washington D.C.
- Kenny Dobbs, 6’3” a.k.a. “K.Dobbs” – Dobbs, 26, hailing from Phoenix, Ariz. is an 11-year dunking veteran who won the semifinal competition in Los Angeles. He was also a finalist at last year’s Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown finals at NBA All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles.
- Michael Stewart, 6’1” a.k.a. “Airdogg” – Stewart, 28, comes out of the City of Angels and brings an impressive 15 years of dunking experience to the Showdown. He takes inspiration from NBA legends and dunkers Darryl Dawkins and Dominique Wilkins and solidified his spot in the Showdown through the online competition by uploading his dunk clip to NBA.com/dunk.
- Kendall Boyd-Hill, 6’1” a.k.a. “Kasper” – From St. Louis, MO, Boyd-Hill, 21, has been dunking since he was 14 years old. He takes inspiration from NBA aerial artists such as Vince Carter and is the winner from Denver.
Inspired by the NBA Sprite Slam Dunk contest that takes place annually on NBA All-Star Saturday Night
presented by State Farm, Sprite and the NBA launched the national search for the best amateur dunkers
with competitions in eight cities throughout the summer of 2011. James also led a panel of judges that
picked two semifinalists from video entries. Through online votes, fans narrowed the top 10 down to the
four finalists who will compete in Orlando.
Sprite is the world’s leading lemon-lime soft drink and has been the official soft drink of the NBA since
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers
with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, the
Company’s portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola
Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider
of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s
largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s
beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable
communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support
active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the
economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company,
please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.
About NBA All-Star 2012
NBA All-Star 2012 in Orlando will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in
the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. The 61st NBA All-Star Game, which will take
place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Amway Center, will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories
in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for a 10th consecutive year, marking
Turner Sports’ 27th year of All-Star coverage in prime time. NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by
State Farm will feature the Haier Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point
Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk. Other events at NBA All-Star 2012 will include the BBVA Rising Stars
Challenge, NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by 26 Seconds, Sprint NBA All-Star
Celebrity Game, and NBA All-Star Jam Session. Orlando also hosted NBA All-Star in 1992.
Will Cutrone, NBA, (212) 407-8086, email@example.com
Kerry Tressler, Coca-Cola Refreshments, (404) 676-2683, firstname.lastname@example.org