VIDEO: Bosh’s 3-Point highlights
Long thought to be a sport in which height gives one a decided advantage, basketball as put on display at All-Star Weekend tends to come up short, so to speak.
It’s bad enough that centers get thrown into the hopper with the forwards as “frontcourt” players in All-Star balloting. It’s even worse when you look back over past champions of the two most revered side events, the Verizon Slam Dunk and the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. That’s why Miami’s Chris Bosh isn’t getting his hopes up too much for when he works his way around the arc emptying ball racks on All-Star Saturday Feb. 13.
Only four times since the dunk event became official in 1984 has it been won by a player 6-foot-9 or taller: Larry Nance, 6-foot-10, did it in 1984. Josh Smith, 6-foot-9, won in 2005. Dwight Howard donned his Superman cape in 2008, and Blake Griffin jumped over the Kia in 2011.
The same holds true for big men shooting from long distance, with just four different big men among the winners since the 3-point “shootout” was added in 1986. Larry Bird, at 6-foot-9, won the first three. Peja Stojakoivc, 6-foot-9, won in 2002 and ’03. Dirk Nowitzki claimed the 2006 crown and, six years later, Kevin Love showed off his deep range. Last year, none of the eight contestants stood taller than 6-foot-7.
With the dunk competition, it’s been said for years that it’s harder for a tall player to make his dunks look challenging or artistic enough. There’s no “wow!” factor in how high up the big guys have to get – none of the oohing and aahing Spud Webb or Nate Robinson instantly generated – and generally speaking, wing players in the 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 range seem to elevate (so to speak) the act into something balletic.
As for the 3-point contest – which relies on actual scores rather than judging – anatomy and angles seem to disfavor tall guys. Reaching down to grab the ball, then raising it up to proper launch position … that all takes a teensy bit longer for the big guys.
So Bosh is approaching this as something to have fun with, while giving a nod to his fans (current and former) in Toronto, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Selected Thursday to compete, Bosh on Friday reflected on the daunting challenge of shooting against the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson next week in Toronto.
“Look, I have nothing to lose, OK? I’m just going to shoot it. And if the ball goes in? That’s awesome,” he said.
At 6 feet 11, Bosh is three inches taller than any of the seven other participants.
“I’m just happy I’m the only big,” he said. “Bigs are not going to be a part of the All-Star Weekend in a couple of years. I’m just glad I’m one of the last of the guys.”
With the event at Air Canada Centre, if means more jeers from a fan base yet to accept his free-agency departure from the Toronto Raptors to the Heat in 2010.
“Yeah,” he grinned, “it’ll be awesome. It’s like cheers in reverse. That’s what I tell myself, man. If you care to acknowledge me, that’s half the battle.”
Told it seemingly took Toronto fans 10 years to get over the departure of former Raptors icon Vince Carter, Bosh smiled.
“Oh, so just four more years left?” he said. “OK, that’s good. My kids will be in high school by then. That’ll be nice.”