We had to go to Spanish-language coverage to get anyone excited by Rudy Fernandez's dunk contest effort. The TNT analysts (Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller) did nothing but hate on Rudy all night -- (accurately) telling the world he had no chance, making a half-dozen Ricky Martin jokes as Rudy gave tribute to Fernando Martin, and offering up the truly egregious/hilarious by stating Rudy failed because of "the amateurism of Spain."
By my count, Rudy was in fact the first European or white non-American in the dunk contest ... and he got a bit jobbed. Sure, Pau Gasol's repeated failure to land the pass properly hurt. But Nate Robinson took 137 attempts in victory a few years ago; the two-minute plus two attempts limit seems a fair standard time control in our post-Birdmanpocolyptic world. KryptoNate, the eventual King, shouldn't have beat Rudy in the first round. Risking Wilson Chandler's career is just not that thrilling. (Again, do it to No. 6 pick Gallinari and we'll talk.)
Since Europe has been nearly completely assimilated in NBA culture (see Dirk as MVP, Bargnani as a non-bust No. 1, Rubio as the Next Maravich), maybe it's OK that the dunk contest remains an enclave of xenophobia. The anti-Europe need a home base, I guess. (Only German-born Donté Greene can throw our bearings off. And yes, I am trying to break the weekend record for most non sequitur Donté Greene mentions.)
Xenophobia against Europeans in NBA?
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