His Valentines Day buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Toronto Raptors triggered ‘Lin-sanity’,and then that Jeremy remained the flavour of the season in NBA.
It’s no surprise then that another Jeremy went largely unnoticed – despite glimpses of his freakish athletic abilities and dunking propensity since pre-season,and a two-ball dunk on a starry night that ought to have propelled him into the spotlight. The name Jeremy Evans doesn’t ring too many bells even among American sport buffs,and this even after the Utah Jazz hoopster came out of the blue to win the All Star weekend Slam Dunk contest last month. It is widely considered to be one of the least exhilarating of slam-dunk evenings in NBA – a fellow competitor Paul George calling for the big names to get involved,harking back to the Jordan-Dominique days to spice things up. But despite his less-than-stunning mini video camera on the ear dunk,and a funny prop in comedian Kevin Hart,the two-ball dunking winning attempt ended as a charming memory giving Evans his few minutes of fame,amongst four first-time participants.
“That two-ball was my favourite of the three,and it’s great that the whole world would have watched it,and nice to know that many people voted for me,” says the first-ever winner of a contest that was wholly determined by fan’s votes (29 percent of the three million votes cast) and via Twitter. “I got to know just three days before that I’d be in for Knicks’ injured Iman Sumpert. I just practiced a few times but I wanted to show the world what I’m best at doing,” says the 6’9″ forward who dunked in school for a lark,but has been pretty prolific in going air-borne in game-times. A hashtag LetJeremyDunk campaign had preceded his selection too,and his left hand first,right next dunk as seconds slowed down,were an immediate hit with the voters.
Almost three-fourths of his baskets have come from dunks in the last two seasons,and his routine jamming with Utah point guard Earl Watson off whose passes he effected those alley-oops would have made up for the short 3-day notice to prepare for the big day of the flight.
Evans’ two ball-dunk aided by Gordon Hayward,in fact,wasn’t half as dramatic as what the man – nicknamed human Pogo-Stick – has been doing throughout the early season. When quizzed on his all-time favourite dunk,he chuckles about the one that got labelled cruelly as an indiscretion. “Oh,my best dunk ended up in me arguing with the refs who called it a charge,” he recalls,still a tad cross. The game was a pre-season exhibition against Portland Trail Blazers,and the explosive small forward bulleted off from the centre of the lane,carried a Josh Howard pass along the way and seemed to be walking on thin air as he sent down a massive dunk before unwittingly swooping down on Blazers forward Gerald Wallace. The sensational dunk got called for an offensive foul – negating what some labelled the play of the year,as early as in pre-season. “Yea,maan! That hurt,” he says.
What makes for a great dunk? “Athleticism definitely,but more than anything – creativity,” the dunking dude reckons.