Playing with the Boys: Six Dunks to Bring the Dunk Contest Back

If the Slam Dunk Contest is going to get back to where it was, and into a glorious future, it is going to have to go big, get weird, and embrace Kenny Loggins' contribution to the Top Gun soundtrack.
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February brings All-Star Weekend, and with it the annual debate about whether the Slam Dunk Contest is either (1) boring, or (2) BACK, BABY! I have put together six suggested dunks to ensure that this year’s contest is (2) BACK! This list represents but a small fraction of the possibilities offered by a basketball, a basket, and a remarkable hit song from 1986. Truly, the only limit is your imagination, and what a human being can do with a basketball and a rim, and the extent to which you’re able to be inspired by a Kenny Loggins song. Special thanks to Kenny Loggins for the assist.

1. The Top Gunk

The title is a portmanteau of “Top Gun” and “dunk”. Assistants set up a sandbox and volleyball net in front of the basket. Kenny Loggins begins a live performance of “Playing with the Boys,” his shirtless volleyball anthem from the film Top Gun.

The dunker emerges in jeans, no shirt, a la Top Gun’s “Maverick,” and is joined by Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky, who has a mustache and wears a sleeveless t-shirt and red swim trunks, a la “Goose.” Val Kilmer stands on the other side of the basket wearing a George Gervin jersey to meta-signal that he is reprising his role as “Iceman.” Nothing more is required of Kilmer in this scenario. He is not in the best shape at the moment.

Kaminsky/Goose sets the ball into the air. Dunker/Maverick leaps and spikes it through the basket over Kilmer/Iceman. Remote-control F-16s do fly-bys as Dunker/Maverick and Kaminsky/Goose high-five. America cheers as one.

2. The Huckadunk

The title is a portmanteau of “Huckabee” and “dunk.” P.A. system cranks “Playing with the Boys” as announcer issues an order to “Pump up the bass.” Mike Huckabee’s two large adult sons appear, wearing their customary button downs and jeans, but also a pair of vintage Reebok Pumps. The Pumps have tubes snaking out of them and feeding into what appears to be a deflated pool toy.

As the sons pump their shoes, the toy fills out and it becomes clear that it’s an inflatable bass guitar. BOOM! [theatrical explosion] former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee emerges from the smoke. He grabs the instrument and begins jamming the bass line to “Playing with the Boys” while his boys kneel down and bang out a drumroll with their hands on the floor. Dunker takes off down the lane, clears Mike Huckabee, dunks the ball, and eats both wet ribs and dry rub ribs with the Huckabee men.

3. The Imperator Dunkiosa

The title is a portmanteau of “Imperator Furiosa” and “dunk.” Dunker amputates his left arm at the elbow, attaches a prosthetic. He rides a war rig into the arena and one-ups the dunker who cleared Mike Huckabee by clearing the Doof Warrior while the Doof Warrior plays the central riff from “Playing with the Boys” on his flame-throwing guitar. The NBA brings back David Stern to stand on the sidelines as Immortan Joe. Adam Silver plays a War Boy, and sprays his face with the official non-toxic chrome spray paint of the NBA.

4. The Drunk

This dunk does not involve drinking or intoxication, unless you’re intoxicated by great ideas! The title is a portmanteau of “Drake” and “dunk”. Because the dunk contest is being held in Toronto and Canada is big on cultural quotas, it’s important that at least one of the dunks incorporate a Canadian cultural figure, especially with Loggins hoggin’ so much airtime!

Drake photo by Karla Moy, used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Drake grabs the microphone and begins performing his new single, “Playing with the Boys” which samples Kenny Loggins’ “Playing with the Boys.” The lyrics include a twin dis of Drake’s and the dunker’s respective rival(s): “You like Meek Mill with that weak ‘mill.”

A basketball sits on the floor at the free throw line. While still rapping, Drake does a somersault towards the ball, grabbing it between his feet as he rolls and flinging it off the backboard. The trailing dunker catches the ball off the glass and does a totally not-weak windmill as he clears the now-standing and still-rapping former “Degrassi” star. This dunk admittedly relies a lot on Drake’s gymnastic abilities, but he seems pretty capable in most ways so it should be fine.

5. The Kunk

The title is a portmanteau of “Kanye” and “dunk.” Dunker begins this dunk several days before the contest by incorrectly guessing the title of Kanye’s new album. (His guess rhymes with “Playing with the Boys”.) Even though the dunker guessed incorrectly, Kanye gives him a pair of Yeezy Boosts (aka “The Boys”), saying he’ll explain why later. Dunker wears the shoes to the contest, where Kanye performs the hidden track off his new album (spoiler: it’s called “Playing with the Boys”), taunting Drake (and maybe Loggins?) by quoting Jay taunting Nas (“You made it a hot line; I made it a hot song”).

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Kanye photo by rodrigoferrari, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dunker emerges from the tunnel on a motorcycle with Wiz Khalifa and Pablo Prigioni (the latter being the eponym of the album, “The Life of Pablo”), takes off from behind the three-point line, soars like E.T. on a bicycle, and puts the ball through the hoop with a dunk that later becomes known as, “Bound 3, The Kunk: Playing with the Boys.”

6. The Stunk

The title is a portmanteau of “Sting” and “dunk.” 2016 is a special year, as the All-Star game will feature a performance by an artist whose name is practically synonymous with basketball itself: that artist is Sting. The dunkers would be fools not to take advantage of this opportunity.

Set designers transform the court into a field of gold. Sting begins performing his hit song “Fields of Gold.” Halfway through, he cuts the music and says “You know, this would be a lot better if it weren’t just me up here. Maybe I could play...with the boys?” Somewhere offstage, a voice asks, “Did someone call The Police?”

The crowd goes absolutely nuts, because if there’s anything NBA fans love more than Sting, it’s The Police. Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers join Sting in the field of gold and begin playing Kenny Loggins’  “Playing with the Boys.”

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Dunker emerges from the tunnel wearing a pair of gold Yeezy Boosts (aka “The Boys”), runs across the field of gold, and jumps over all three Police to complete the dunk. Kenny Loggins nods his approval. Kenny Smith declares unreservedly that the dunk contest is BACK!


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