2014 All-Star Week
The 2014 FBA All-Star Week is scheduled to begin on Saturday, February 22nd at 9:00 PM Central Time. RL game coverage will happen during Furry Fiesta in Dallas, TX.
The week will include 4 events:
- 2014 FBA All-Star Game
- 2014 FBA Rookie Challenge
- 2014 FBA Dunk Contest
- 2014 FBA 3-Point Shootout
Participants in the events were voted in.
- 1 2014 All-Star Game
- 2 2014 Rookie Challenge
- 3 2014 FBA Dunk Contest
- 3.1 Recent Winners
- 3.2 Judges
- 3.3 Report
- 3.3.1 Round 1
- 3.3.2 Round 2
- 3.3.3 Final Round
- 4 2014 FBA 3-Point Shootout
- 4.1 Recent Winners
- 4.2 Report
- 4.2.1 Round 1
- 4.2.2 Round 2
- 4.2.3 Final Round
- 5 Media
2014 All-Star Game
Officials: Lawrence Law #1
, Syed Nahle #29
, Lucinda Anthony #31
Western All-Stars Boxscore
|Dirk Von Stryker||C||19.0||5||8||0||0||3||3||4||9||0||0||0||0||1||13|
Eastern All-Stars Boxscore
|Vera La Tiérra||G||9.0||1||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Game results simulated by NBA 2K14|
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|22||Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||24||Ryan Malone (Kangaroo, G)||15||Dylan Redfield (Red Deer, F)||8||Xavier Knutten (Squirrel, G/F)||45||Dirk Von Stryker (German Giant Rabbit, C)|
|56||Zoie Wilds (African Hunting Dog, G)||11||Kinny DeMarcus (Hairy Bush Viper, G/F)||33||Kwaku Bbwaddene (Jungle Wolf, F)||42||Bobby Baylor (Polar Bear, F/C)||18||Charles Burgh (Polar Bear, C)|
|66||Alan Chesuk (Moose, C)||35||Bobby-Rae Brine (Stingray, G)|
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|4||Barton Rouge (Red Fox, G)||6||John Stoat (Stoat, G)||9||Rodger Umaechi (Husky, F)||53||Charles Yotechuk (Coyote, F)||30||Paul Teronura (Otter, C)|
|2||Klaus Korber (Doberman, G)||7||Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||5||Jamie Velasquez (Seagull, G/F)||32||Bobby Heron (Snowy Egret, F)||31||Lance Freewell (Clouded Leopard, C)|
|28||Valencia Zeraus (Lioness, G)||10||Vera La Tiérra (Red Vixen, G)|
2014 Rookie Challenge
The 2014 All-Star Week Rookie Challenge was held on Saturday, February 22nd at 7:00pm Pacific (UTC-8). It was featured live on FBA Courtside: LIVE! with guest co-host Patrick Suarez. The episode can be found here.
Officials: Vernon Hill #22
, Zack Lightfang #43
, Ralph Gayle #35
Western Rookies Boxscore
|Alphonse Norwich IV||F||32.0||2||7||0||4||1||2||0||4||2||1||1||0||0||5|
Eastern Rookies Boxscore
|Jerry Ratillian Michaels||G||31.0||2||8||0||1||0||0||0||3||3||3||1||0||4||4|
|Corbin A. Li’Arci||G||13.0||1||6||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||2|
|Dewitt Azad Ghakhar||FC||13.0||1||1||0||0||2||2||2||5||1||0||0||0||1||4|
|Albert Jon Middendorff||FG||11.0||0||2||0||1||0||0||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Game results simulated by NBA 2K14|
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|23||Alessandro Serra (Weasel, G)||24||Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||13||Travis Buckner (Grey Koala, F)||18||Alphonse Norwich IV (Street Rat, F)||99||Zack Tate (Zorilla, C)|
|31||Mike Timmids (Pronghorn, G)||65||Zack Plushpaw (Pine Marten, G)||5||Siegfried Romanoren (White Lion, C/F)||69||Barnaby Jazz (Shark, F/C)||9||Daniel Quvianuq (Polar Bear, C)|
|32||Lemond Conkale (Florida Panther, F/G)||81||Scoonie Barrett (Otter, F/C)|
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|17||René Lacoste (Jackal, G)||18||Jerry Ratillian Michaels (Fancy Rat, G)||1||Otis Najac (Bat-eared Fox, G/F)||44||Wayne Kirkpatrick (Tasmanian Devil, F)||13||Raoul Kidane (Ethiopian Wolf, C)|
|8||Terrence Tolliver (Pronghorn, G)||63||Corbin A. Li’Arci (Lynx, G)||6||Russell Savoy (Binturong, G/F)||71||Viran Kivar (Jaguar, F)||20||Dewitt Azad Ghakhar (Markhor, F/C)|
|23||Phoebus Corvus (Utahraptor, F)||5||Albert Jon Middendorff (Kodiak Bear, F/G)|
2014 FBA Dunk Contest
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
|1||Li Ho Fook (Red Panda, G)||31|
|8||Redawn Fenwatcher (Red Panda, G)||24|
|1||Li Ho Fook (Red Panda, G)||39|
|5||Travis Buckner (Grey Koala, F)||41|
|4||Alphonse Norwich IV (Street Rat, F)||29|
|5||Travis Buckner (Grey Koala, F)||47|
|5||Travis Buckner (Grey Koala, F)||41|
|7||Barnaby Jazz (Shark, F/C)||33|
|3||Kwaku Bbwaddene (Jungle Wolf, F)||43|
|6||Daniel Quvianuq (Polar Bear, C)||34|
|3||Kwaku Bbwaddene (Jungle Wolf, F)||35|
|7||Barnaby Jazz (Shark, F/C)||40|
|2||Zack Tate (Zorilla, C)||15|
|7||Barnaby Jazz (Shark, F/C)||26|
- 2010: Alan Murphy (Kangaroo, F)
- 2011: Ryan Malone (Kangaroo, G)
- 2012: Kwaku Bbwaddene (Jungle Wolf, F)
- 2013: Kwaku Bbwaddene (Jungle Wolf, F)
- Healey Davis (Male Cheetah, G), FBA legend
- Russel Servo (Male Black Lion, F) was the winner of the 1992 and 1993 FBA Dunk Contests, and one of the most skilled dunkers of his time. However, his FBA career lasted only five years due to a career ending injury he suffered in 1995, from which he never recovered.
- Todd Sinece (Male Mantis, C) was the first insect to play in the FBA when he was drafted in 1981. A trailblazer for other anthropod athletes, "The Green Screen" continues to support the league well after his retirement in 1988, encouraging young insects across the world to play basketball.
- Chrys Bourgeois (Hyena), sports writer for The Furry Beat
- Zackishiro "Zak" Kawamatsu (Raccoon Dog), reporter for Furballer Magazine
For the 2014 All-Star Week, the FBA chose a mixed crew of dunk contest judges, using both FBA legends and current sports writers. The advantage was clear after the first dunk. While the ex-superstars might have a sharp eye for a quality dunk, they didn’t have the writing skills to make reports like this one easier to put together. But with Furry Beat writer Chrys Bourgerois (Hyena) and Furballer writer “Zak” Kawamatsu watching the action, there was much more material for the post game.
Still, the FBA threw in some nice surprises with the legends. Naturally, the Healer was there. Healey Davis (Cheetah, G) took the center seat at the judging table, cooly delivering his votes without comment. To his right sat two stars that haven’t been seen in a while. Russel Servo (Black Lion, F), who won the dunk contest in both 1992 and 1993, was there to give his careful judgment over the young players. Few have even seen the athletic feline since his tragic career-ending injury in 1995. And next to him was a legend to all anthropods. Todd Sinece (Mantis, C) caused a minor stir in the league when he became the first insect player in 1981. While his very talented career was short compared to mammal superstars, his influence was unforgettable, inspiring future talents like Watson Crick (Cricket, G), Antonio Garza (Milkweed Locust, C) and D-Leaguers Beulah Rollinghouse (Dung Beetle, G) and Atticus Polyphemus (Polyphemus Moth, C).
The contest opened with one of the shortest— and most adorable— pairings in dunk contest history. The #1 ranked Li Ho Fook (Red Panda, G) found himself muzzle-to-muzzle with his own species as the #8 spot went to Redawn Fenwatcher (Red Panda, G) after Buck Hopper (Rabbit, G) declined to appear. As Sinece pointed out before the match, with Fook standing 5’ 9” and Fenwatcher at 5’ 5”, if one sat on the other’s shoulders, they still wouldn’t reach the hoop.
#1 Li Ho Fook / #8 Redawn Fenwatcher
Li Ho Fook is clearly proud of his new team. Calling his dunk "Vegas, Baby!", he wore a custom rhinestone Wildcards uniform that sparkled almost as much as the rhinestone-covered piano that was wheeled into the high post. An equally glittering lion pianist arrived to start playing the theme of a popular 80's TV show, no doubt securing this dunk as the favorite for FBA glitter fetishist Kinny DeMarcus.
A candelabra was lowered over the piano with a basketball secured on top of the electric candles. With the nature of the dunk on the wall, the judges settled in to see if the red panda could pull it off. Running from half court, he leapt over the piano, grabbed the ball from the candelabra and went in for the dunk, but the extraction went badly, the candelabra being pulled along with the ball and preventing the dunk. The whole stage had to be reset for the second attempt, which went well, but it was clear that Fook had to replace his planned windmill dunk with a standard two-pawed crusher. He followed it by dropping down and giving a fist-bump to the lion, still playing with one hand.
The dunk contest vet didn't disappoint with this years first round effort...mostly. The dunk could have been cleaner and nicer looking, (and it would have been really great if he put it down on his first attempt) but the dude knows how to put on a show and work the crowd. In fact it was almost a bit TOO over-the-top. Regardless, this dunk had creativity, it had showmanship (in truckloads) and the props actually helped increase the difficulty of the dunk instead of being empty attention grabbers. I didn't know whether to exclaim in amazement or bust out laughing (I did a combination of both actually). In the end I gave him a 7 because like I said, if the dunk had been cleaner and done in the first attempt, it would have been a lot better.
If this were Las Vegas, you'd be going home with just the clothes on your back.
I've never been one for Vegas, this was a entertaining dunk.
Redawn Fenwatcher came up next. Gone were the props and the glitter, leaving just the talented young panda dribbling a basketball up the court. The purity of the attempt caught the attention of the Healer, who leaned in as Fenwatcher hard-dribbled the ball to make it bounce up high in the air, stepped back, then leapt, spinning in mid air, grabbing the ball with her tail and putting it toward the basket. Unfortunately, the ball slipped from her tail in the first attempt leaving her dangling upside down without a dunk. In the second attempt, she managed to get the ball through the rim, but her grip on the hoop was weak, making her fall back to the floor before she was ready. Thankfully with a tail as long as hers, it wasn't that far of a drop.
Um... What!? IS THIS FBA JAM FOR SNES OR IS THIS ACTUAL LIFE?! First of all, Red is like 5 foot nothing. VAST DIFFERENCE from the 8 foot tall bear dude! And, Forgive me, but when a little LADY can throw down like that, it's gonna get me off my rear. Regardless of how many times I see the ladies slam it down in games, it always gets a little extra "OH!" from me (hopefully my bias isn't TOO glaring). And this dunk... no props. No elaborate set-up. Just a freaking FRONTFLIP. And an alley-oop grabbed with a tail and actually THROWN DOWN. I couldn't in good conscience give it a perfect score because of all the attempts and the sloppiness of the completed dunk, but that was as hard a dunk as I've ever seen performed. Kudos, little lady! Shane has got to be proud of his girl and best friend for showing up to this thing and throwing DOWN!
Respectable effort, sweety.
Though impressive a dunk as it was, I can't help but think it's just a rehash of the dunk the Li Ho Fook did last year.
While neither dazzled with their attempts, Li Ho Fook squeaked out the win by 7 points, finishing 31 to Fenwatcher's 24 and earning a ticket to the second round.
#4 Alphonse Norwich IV vs. #5 Travis Buckner
Alphonse Norwich IV was a bit of a surprise entry in the dunk contest, known much more for hard, powerful, straight-forward dunks than the flashy stuff usually seen in the contest. But the fans spoke and the rat from across the pond was chosen to compete. He got an assist from his teammate Scoonie Barrett (Otter, F/C) who lined up in the center key as the rat went to the free throw line. On Norwich's cue, Barrett tossed the ball up high and the rat took one step and jumped, grabbing the ball with both hands mid-air and then giving it that powerhouse crusher we've come to expect from his burly arms. The whole backboard shook and groaned, making the judges wince, the Healer even covering his head.
Norwich wasn't done yet, though. He followed his hammer-on-anvil dunk with a complete pull-up on the hoop, not just getting his chin over it but his entire torso until the rat could have climbed on top. Simple and without any props, but perfectly executed and with enough power the judges were thankful for high-impact plastic.
I'm a little afraid to give my true thoughts out here on the sideline, with the big rat gazing my way intently, but this is how I feel about his dunk. While it is INCREDIBLY impressive seeing Norwich get his entire body weight over the rim, the fact that it was post-dunk really doesn't add anything that special to the dunk itself. And the dunk itself, while powerful, was rather ordinary. It was basically a game dunk, and I generally expect more creativity and degree of difficulty from the dunkers. Gave an extra point for crowd reaction, as it was clear the weight room style antics did impress them.
A popular dunk of choice, good show of strength and timing, but this trick sadly way over done by many in the FBA.
Nothing personal but while impressive it just wasn't that Original. I have to say I was expecting more.
Travis Buckner was next, making the first of two rookie vs. rookie matchups in the first round of the contest. In another contrast between low-tech and high-tech, Norwich's propless stunt was followed by darkness and a booming voice over the PA system.
"My father taught me something important a long time ago," came the pre-recorded voice from Buckner. "He said, 'Shoot for the stars, but always remember your roots'. Today, at the FBA All Star Week, I honor my personal and species' roots."
Followed by the sound of native Aboriginal music complete with didgeridoo, a spotlight came on to half court where a eucalyptus tree on a wheeled platform was set up. Buckner entered the spotlight next, dressed in traditional Aboriginal clothing, save for the basketball in his paws. The lights came up slowly as Buckner walked back to the opposite baseline, then ran at the tree, leaping up onto it and using the force of his drive to send the tree wheeling down the court toward the hoop.
As the platform rolled, the koala climbed the tree with one hand, holding the ball with the other, then leapt from the tree as it touched the charity stripe. Leaping off the trunk with his back to the basket, he twisted mid-air in a 180 move while delivering a cry and a single, powerful tomahawk dunk at the rim. Instead of clinging to the hoop, he followed through on the dunk, tumbling down into a pad set up ahead of time on the floor.
Now that's what I call over-the-top showmanship! I don't know how he was able to practice this thing, but it's clear to me that he gave it a lot of thought! All of the preparation, the booming voice, the Aboriginal garbs, and the rolling tree (I mean SERIOUSLY!?) And the dunk was executed without a hitch! The only thing I'm docking for is the dunk itself could have been more difficult. Jumping off a rolling tree and slamming 180 is pretty good, but you gotta leave room in the scoring for someone jumping off a rolling tree and doing a windmill while on fire!
I rarely say I'm blown away. The timing and coordination could not have been more perfect, and a unique performance to boot.
Now that is what I call Original and very unique. With the Music, the recording, the outfit, and the Large Tree Prop not to mention a flawless dunk I have to give him 10 out of 10.
It was a battle between the pure dunk and the flashy show, and this round, the flashy show won. Travis Buckner's 47 points dominated Norwich's 29, earning the koala a trip to the second round to face off against Li Ho Fook.
#3 Kwaku Bbwaddene vs. #6 Daniel Quvianuq
Kwaku Bbwaddene was the returning champion of the dunk contest after winning back-to-back victories in the last two contests. Always a fan favorite, the crowd cheered even louder when teammate Shane Rufus (Red Wolf, G) appeared to help his green partner with another dunk. The red wolf had gotten top votes for the All-Star Game, but was sadly sidelined by a recent injury, but that wasn't enough to stop him from helping Blanks with another performance.
In what has become a familiar image, Shane pushed out a wheeled cage onto the court with the snarling, biting Bbwaddene snapping his jaws inside. As tribal music thumped through the arena over the cheering crowd, the red wolf pushed the cage to the center of the opposite half court, then produced a basketball and a stick. With Bbwaddene snarling and salivating, reaching for the basketball, Rufus rattled the cage, beating the sides of it with the stick, getting the wolf inside even more wild and anxious. Just when it was starting to seem all too familiar, Bbwaddene broke open the cage and escaped, giving the crowd a real jump, making more than one security guard look nervous. But no one looked more nervous than Fang as the wolf dropped the stick and ran with Blanka chasing after on all fours, snarling and snapping his jaws. Still holding on to the ball, Shane ran under the hoop and cowered, holding the ball up over his head. Bbwaddene ran after him at full speed, then jumped, plucked the ball from Fang's paw, turned mid-air, passed the ball under the left leg, then under the right before finishing with a round-the-world windmill slam. The crowd cheered as Blanka hung from the hoop.
And we are reminded why this man is the 2 time reigning dunk champion. I want to give someone else a chance to win but this... this is just NOT FAIR. The crowd was already on the edge of its seat. Then Shane brings out the cage with a fierce, foaming Kwaku. Ok, we've seen it before, but still exciting. Then the method acting between Rufus and Kwaku was REALLY convincing, all the way to the point where Shane held the ball up by the basket while pretending to cower and cover his eyes. And the Big Bad (Howling, Green) Wolf runs up and perfectly executes a dunk that ALONE would have gotten a 9 or a 10 from me. THAT, my friends, is how you do a dunk contest!
Way to display your wild side in a near repeat.
Ah it's good to see an old classic with a fresh touch. Brilliantly executed and impressive.
Daniel Quvianuq is technically a rookie after missing out on his entire first season due to microsurgery on his knees. Those knees were a question for many who thought it was dangerous for the towering, overweight bear to compete in a dunk contest, but it was clear the fans wanted to see just that. Quvianuq provided a much needed bit of comic relief after the exhilarating danger of watching the savage Bbwaddene run free across the court. In a fine bit of teamwork and sportsmanship, fellow dunk contest competitor Barnaby Jazz was not above helping out his teammate for his dunk, as did fellow teammates Dylan Redfield and past dunk contest winner Ryan Malone.
Taking a page from Redfield's football past, the four Bikers re-enacted a basic-I football formation, with Jazz playing center and Redfield quarterback. At the hike, Malone and Quivanuq ran behind Redfield for play-action, then curled back heading toward the hoop. Redfield showed remarkable talent for throwing a spherical "football" and slung a deep pass toward the backboard, where Quvianuq hopped up for a heavy, rim-rattling alley-oop play. Certainly a lot of fun to watch, even if the towering polar bear only jumped like two inches to reach and dunk the ball.
Eh. I have to be honest, I really wasn't feeling this dunk. First of all, you're 8 feet tall. You don't have to jump to dunk. Honestly, I don't believe you have any business being in the dunk contest to begin with, but hey, big guys can pull off some creative slams and impress me sometimes. This was not one of those times. If was essentially a funny little skit involving 3 other players, and Redfield's pass actually impressed me more than the dunk did. But we're not here to judge the buck on his quarterback skills, we're here to judge a dunk! Amusing as the little lineup thing was, it couldn't hide a boring dunk that I've seen a million times from a guy who didn't have to jump much to throw it down. Added 1 point for the creative effort and because it was a nice alley-oop, but that's it.
Way to collide two worlds...but you do realize this is basketball we're playing?
I don't recall ever seeing so many players on the court for a dunk contest. Still interesting to see another sport mixed into Basketball.
Kwaku Bbwaddene is used to getting perfect 50s in his dunk contests, but in a sign that maybe the wild wolf in a cage act is getting long in the tooth (no offense, Wendy Brown), the wolf only scored a 43. Still, it was more than the 34 earned by Daniel Quvianuq, sending Blanka to the second round.
#2 Zack Tate vs. #7 Barnaby Jazz
Zack Tate may be a big player, and as Daniel Quvianuq showed, it can be tough to make a dunk look exciting when the trip to the hoop is only a couple inches. But Tate has got the personality and pizzazz you want to see from a dunk contest competitor. His skateboarding antics pre-FBA show the wild side of this towering zorilla, which is no doubt why the fans gave him so many votes to show up for this contest.
And it was clear Tate did not intend to disappoint. When a ramp was pulled onto the court aimed toward the hoop, the crowd was already cheering. They cheered louder when Tate showed up with his skateboard. Alphonse Norwich IV, despite losing earlier in the round, returned to help out his rookie friend by situating himself between the ramp and the hoop, holding the basketball. As Tate lined himself up, he launched himself on the skateboard, firing up the ramp as the rat tossed the ball up high over his head.
With every breath held in the court, Tate leapt off the ramp, plucked the ball out of the air, sailed toward the hoop-- and promptly smashed his head into the glass totally overshooting the rim. The crowd all gasped all at once as the zorilla crumpled to the floor. In a terrifying moment, medical personnel ran out to look at the unmoving Tate, who suddenly sat up and shook his head to a big cheer from the crowd. He spat something out into his hand, looked at it, then handed it to the medic. A camera closeup later revealed it to be one of his false teeth. Rising to his feet-- and stumbling a bit as he searched for the ball to pick it up, he then did a simple standing dunk under the hoop before weaving his way back to his seat. Despite the gnarly wipeout, the crowd cheered loud and one of the judges was kind enough to give him an 8.
BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! And I'm a HYENA so I'm known for laughing! HAHAHA!!! Oh... I'm crying.. BAHAHAHAAAA!!! Oh... Oh God... Just... I.... Where's my cards.... Here, take a 3 and sit down. Make sure you didn't break your spine.... HAHA! Oh gracious... All effort points man. I humbly bow before your reckless endangerment for our amusement. Here. Come here. *runs up and gives Tate a quick fist bump*. Props.
Barnaby Jazz no doubt had to have second thoughts after seeing the accident Tate had. Then again, Jazz has a lot more teeth to spare. He called this one "The Tailspin Dunk".
A trampoline was pulled onto the court for the rookie shark, looking proud in his Bikers uniform. It was clear the prop was met with dissatisfaction from the judges who normally expect dunk contest competitors to not need trampolines-- but then again, most competitors don't make history by being the first aquatic competitor in the contest. With an assist from Stephanie Beck, the doe lined up at the side as the shark made his way past the half court line, then ran toward the hoop, jumping and bouncing off the trampoline to soar higher than any shark probably has up to this point. Beck threw the ball up high and perfectly positioned so that when Jazz managed a surprisingly athletic spin in mid-air, his big tail slapped the ball down. It hit the back of the iron and bounced back up, making the audience gasp, thinking it wouldn't go through, but in a bit of luck it hit the rim again, went up, and came down through the silk. By then, Jazz had just enough time to slip under the basket to grab the ball before it hit the floor-- though he bobbled it, catching it in time, but not before slipping off his feet and landing on his tail.
Right off the bat I will tell you that if you bring a trampoline to a dunk contest you're going to get laughed off the court. Even the halftime entertainment can throw down nasty dunks with a trampoline. Come on son, you're an FBA PLAYER! Then the dunk itself... I can see why you needed the extra air, but that in itself should tell you you should have left it in the practice gym fooling around with the guys. Slapping the ball through the net with your tail doesn't even really register as a dunk, and it didn't even go through clean either. 1 extra point for big air but that's as generous as I can be.
You are obviously not a dolphin but I do give you some credit for trying.
A very impressive dunk to be sure but it could have gone very wrong for the Shark. the ball could have gone into the audience.
Barnaby Jazz clearly did not impress the judges with his use of the trampoline and lack of a real dunk. So no doubt, the big shark was thankful that Zack Tate was still rubbing his chin over his massive crash. The shark's humble 26 points was enough to beat the merciful 15 Tate received, and enough to send the first aquatic dunk contest competitor on to the second round in a face-off against the defending champion Kwaku Bbwaddene.
Barnaby Jazz questionable costume selection and subsequent actions in the final round of the 2014 FBA Dunk Contest earned the rookie a 10 game league suspension and $50,000 fine.
#1 Li Ho Fook vs. #5 Travis Buckner
Li Ho Fook made it to the second round for the second year in a row, though his defeat of Redawn Fenwatcher won't turn as many heads as last year's defeat of Buck Hopper. Still, the way was confident as he dressed up for another flashy, prop-heavy dunk. And by 'prop', I mean former FBA star Khalam al-Zarafi (Giraffe, C).
Dressed in a familiar yellow-and-black jumpsuit, it didn't take long for the older FBA fans in the crowd to recognize Fook as being dressed the same way as kung-fu action film star Paul Yee (Snow Leopard) in his posthumous film Cage of Death. More fans were able to recognize the towering al-Zarafi, who loped in wearing the same shades and white shorts he wore in his unique cameo in the film. After the crowd settled down from the surprise star power, Fook prepared for the dunk.
With al-Zarafi standing at the arc, Fook dribbled hard at him, stopping in front of the giraffe to bounce the ball hard on the floor, sending it flying straight up. In the time the ball was in the air, al-Zarafi delivered a long-legged karate(-ish) kick from the left that Fook blocked with his arm before collecting the ball again. Another hard straight-up bounce, and another kick and block from the right. Then a third bounce, but this time Fook dashed under the towering giraffe's legs as he prepared to kick again, collecting the ball from behind al-Zarafi, then going up for a near-perfect Paul Yee "dragon kick" at the hoop, getting just enough air to put the ball down with his far paw. The dunk lacked power, but the move was certainly full of style.
While I, like anyone, appreciate a well thought out and creative set-up, there comes a point when it starts to seem like needless filler. You know, like I'm waiting for all the fluff stuff to be done with so I can get to the dunk. This one by Fook was REEEAL close to that line. Whereas, in the first round, he used the large, sparkling piano to aide the difficulty of the dunk, this time it all seemed really... unnecessary. Stopping on the way to the hoop to engage in a badly telegraphed martial arts battle (no offense Mr. al-Zarafi sir!) does not help make for a more impressive dunk. Luckily for Fook, the dunk itself actually WAS fairly impressive. He had great height, lean, and almost a full extension of the ball behind him before he brought it back. It was a nice dunk, though seemingly more fit for a mid-air photo shoot than a dunk contest. I just... again, don't really feel the elaborate set-up if it does nothing to add to the dunk itself.
Everybody was kung-fu fighting, and it was a little bit frightening.
I've always been a fan of classic martial arts movies. And Cage of Death has gotta be my fave...next to Face the Dragon. So I give Fook a Big 10 OUT OF 10 for his tribute to the late great Paul Yee in an amazing dunk.
Travis Buckner got the highest score in the first round from his flashy antics, so there was no chance he was going to give up on them this time. In the second movie-themed dunk in a row, the crowd had to wonder if the upcoming Academy of Furry Film Arts & Sciences awards might be having an influence on the FBA.
Once more, the lights turned off and Buckner's pre-recorded voice came over the PA. "Honoring the past is one thing," it began, "but it's more important to me to honor the present, the team that took me in, and the professionals I call teammates and friends. To honor Texas, my fellow Lone Star teammates - especially Mariam and Marcus - I give you... 'The Duel'."
Cue the Old West music. A spotlight revealed Charles Burgh, the massive polar bear looking a bit out of place in a black gunfighter's outfit-- more than a few black bears in the crowd were chuckling. Then another spotlight revealed Buckner wearing the same western garb he had on in a popular pre-season poster. Both athletes held a basketball as they faced off from half court to the free throw line. The music faded as they two silently looked at each other.
With the sound effect of gunshots, the pair threw their basketballs at each other. Travis caught the basketball being passed to him while Burgh let the ball hit him in the chest, then fell backwards onto a foam pad playing dead. Buckner then dribbled at the hoop, leapt over his stilled teammate, then jumped from under the hoop, throwing out his limbs in a star-shape before doing a quick one-pawed dunk. Western victory music played as the crowd cheered.
And I'm suddenly struck with a case of déjà vu. Did I NOT just get done talking about Fook's unnecessary theatrics before the dunk? Did I imagine that? ...ok, look... Travis, you tried REALLY hard. I get it, and I appreciate the effort. It was quite amusing. But, I mean... this is a DUNK CONTEST, not a Spaghetti Western. If this were a Thespians Contest, then yes, you and Mr. Burgh would be right in the mix. But could I not just as easily get Nina Lime (a great actress in her own right) to come in here and put on a pre-dunk theatrical performance before going up for an ordinary slam? My thing is, if the props and staged stuff ENHANCES the dunk, not happens BEFORE or AFTER the dunk, then I'm good. If you ran up and jumped OVER a standing Mr. Burgh and slammed it, I would have been impressed. But I wasn't really impressed with just stepping over him on the way to the hoop, and in fact, all the dilly-dallying took a bit of the wind out of my sails for the actual dunk. So, like with Fook, I'm judging mostly based on the dunk itself, which in my opinion did not have a whole lot of flair or difficulty to it. Oh, and no offense, but if you do this in the future, make Mr. Burgh take some acting classes, please.
Inspired by your team? I hope they get a lot of inspiration from you.
OK now that was impressive. another very dramatic performance dunk from the Koala. But this time honoring his friends and Teammates. and that Star jump-- Beautiful.
You just can't please a hyena, it seems. (Except for Lowa Lachler-- I hope.) This turned out to be the tightest contest so far as Travis Buckner squeezed by with 41 points to beat out Li Ho Fook's 39. Once again, the wah failed to make the third round, sending the rookie on his way to the finals.
#3 Kwaku Bbwaddene vs. #7 Barnaby Jazz
Kwaku Bbwaddene underperformed in the last round, and by "underperformed" I mean he only got 43. That's how it is for a two-time defending dunk champion. Perhaps inspired by the somewhat sour response of the judges to the overly-produced theatrics of the previous two dunkers, Blanka arrived with no props, no helpers-- just the big wolf and a basketball. With his hair tied back and wearing his Thrust jersey, the wolf looked refreshingly plain on the hardwood after the props had been cleared.
He ran at the hoop and leapt from the free throw line, twisting hard on his ankle as he elevated. Spinning like a top in mid-air, the big green wolf became a big green blur, his blonde hair whipping around as the attacked the bucket, finishing his spin with a clumsy two-pawed slam. It wasn't until the replays that anyone could confirm-- he completed an entire 720, making his attack much more impressive than the bobbled dunk at the end.
FINALLY! This guy gets it! THAT IS A DUNK! WOW! Once again, I'm incredibly impressed with the degree of difficulty involved in this one! There were no gimmicks. No filler stuff or fancy set-ups or reciting Shakespeare. Just pure, uncut, RAW ATHLETICISM! And I can honestly say, not only have I never seen someone spin a full 2 rotations before a dunk (I've seen it attempted, never pulled off completely), but I've DEFINITELY never seen it from the FREE-THROW LINE! I gotta dock a point for the sloppy finish, but I mean, you did it! You gave me a dunk I have never seen before. THAT'S what really, truly gets me pumped. Major kudos.
If you need me to call the medics, I have my phone ready.
A very impressive dunk. this time lacking any theatricality we usually see from him. The dunk was impressive but that ending... I really think that could have gone better than he planned.
Barnaby Jazz made history just by being the first aquatic species in the dunk contest. Now he's in the second round. With the rookie looking to crush some records, he also looked to re-amp the theatrics, getting the floor crew to wheel out a round tank of water to the high post. I can just hear Don Von Wasser now, "Finally!"
The tank was big enough for Jazz to submerse himself in it, which he did-- and in a moment that brought first chuckles, then cheers, the theme from Jaws played as Jazz let his dorsal fin rise over the water. He did it a few more times as the music picked up in speed, waiting for an assistant to come out to the floor and toss a basketball up over the tank.
In a dramatic splash, the big shark jumped out of the water, grabbed the basketball and dunked it down. Swinging on the rim, he released when he was heading back toward the tank and landed back into it with a huge splash of water. He then put his chin on the edge and grinned at the cheering crowd, who had just moment before learned that at some point, Jazz had slipped off his jersey and replaced it with nothing but a pair of speedos. I'm sure Otis Najac was wrinkling his nose somewhere.
Well, you ditched the trampoline this time but... come on. Again with the pre-dunk filler? I'm starting to feel like The Critic for constantly raining on people's parades, but... ok, first off, I'm glad you were the last competitor of this round, because you made a HUGE MESS under the rim. I mean, look at all those ballboys over there, an ARMY of them! Toweling and mopping their little hearts out, like their very lives depended on it! That aside, again, the theatrics didn't aide in the dunk itself. In fact, all they did was get me anticipating something incredible which never came, because the plain 2 handed flush was rather anticlimactic. I will fully admit that I understand jumping straight up for a dunk is physically more difficult than getting a running start (or jumping off a trampoline) and it is even MORE difficult to jump when you're leaping out of the water. Then again, I dunno about how hard it is for marine creatures. Anyways, I gave you a point for that, but had to take it away because... for the love of Sterne Davids man, this is a FAMILY event! I don't want to see what you're packin, dude. Put some freakin' shorts on! Geez... I'm never getting that image out of my head.
You got me a little bit wet, and I'm not a fan of speedo's, but that dunk could not have been more perfectly timed.
Now I'm a move lover and what Jazz did was a lovely Homage to Jaws. The Music, the way he burst out of the water...all very engrossing.
The last time Kwaku Bbwaddene scored less than a 40 in the dunk contest, he didn't complete the dunk. With only 35 points from the judges, the jungle wolf will be surrendering the dunk crown to a rookie, with Barnaby Jazz's 40 point performance taking him to the final round with Travis Buckner-- where we can only pray he'll be more family-friendly.
#5 Travis Buckner vs. #7 Barnaby Jazz
With the vets and the defending champ scraped out of the bracket, the final round came down to two rookies, both charging their way through the contest with big Furrywood-style productions.
And we hadn't seen anything yet.
Travis Buckner was the first one up. Once again, the lights turned off. And for a third time, his came over the PA system. "I have celebrated the past and the present, and now I focus on my future. While I love basketball, and plan to be here as long as I can, I see a future for me in business, moving fast and influencing developments of high end companies. But even then... there will be moments of nostalgia, of the best time of my life."
When the lights came back up, a long conference table had been set up on the floor. Texas teammates Phil Gale (Spotted Skunk, G) and Jack Howell (Wolf, F/C) did their best acting jobs playing business men, but looked a little bit more like a turn of the century comedy duo in their crisp suits and opposite heights. Joanne Tippisch (Badger, F) added to the production with a sharp business dress of her own. And then, with Peter Arial's "Big Time" playing over the crowd, Travis Buckner walked in.
Also in suit and carrying a briefcase with a hilariously basketball-shaped bulge in the middle, Buckner mimed talking into a cell phone as he strutted to the table being handed manila folders by Tippisch. With Gale and Howell doing their best to look impatient, Buckner put the briefcase on the table, slid it down the length, then handed the folders to the skunk and wolf. After opening them, their moods changed, and soon there were pats on the back and thumbs of support as the music died down.
Buckner returned to his phone and loosened his tie. He then dropped the phone in his pocket and opened up the briefcase to pull out the basketball, which I was half expected to wear a suit, too. Instead, he lifted the rock, bounced it hard on the floor to send it sailing up toward the hoop, then leapt, grabbed it, spun it around-the-clock with a transfer from right paw to left, then slammed it down with both, clutching the rim. The cheer from the crowd was cut short when the PA came alive again with a mock phone message: "Would you like to save money on your cell phone bill?" Buckner hung his head as he dangled while the crowd chuckled.
As the dunk went to the judges, the verbose Chrys Bourgeois naturally was the first to open his mouth, but he was cut off suddenly when Healey Davis surprised everyone by raising his paw. The normally silent cheetah finally had something to say, and when he did, everyone listened.
Hmmm, ignoring the skit, which I feel is the weakest of Travis' skits, the dunk was fairly entertaining, if a little sloppy, a standard windmill dunk, something I've done during my time in the league. Not the strongest of his three dunks, which is reflected in my score. I'm honestly a little worn down by the over theatrics at this point, and actually miss the clean standard difficult dunk like Redawn attempted in the first round.
It actually took a moment for any other judge to speak up, as if honorary silence was mandated after the Healer. It might be-- I would have done the same.
*shakes head and laughs* Wow... it's a good thing I mentioned I was going to try being more open-minded to theatrics for this final round. Because that... dude... did you hire a writer for this thing? Can I get a list of credits? Seriously, if you hand me a script and it says "A Spike Flea Joint" on the front, I really wouldn't be surprised. Now... you know this kind of thing ain't my cup of tea, right? You know that. But I'm gonna try to be fair anyways. Taking the dunk out of the equation for a second, the set up was pretty good. I won't say outstanding, because anything that reminds me of being stuck in yet another hours-long board meeting is not really pleasant, but it was well done. A bit difficult to follow the storyline at parts (listen to me... I'm not a dunk contest judge, I'm a movie critic now) but it was pretty effective in engaging the crowd. Where you get some real good points from me is, surprise, the actual DUNK. Once all the blah blah blah was over with and you FINALLY took the ball out of the briefcase, I was left thinking "Is he gonna dunk it in a business suit?" Admittedly, I was hoping so, but tearing off the suit like Clark Kent would have been tight as well. The actual dunk was really pretty spectacular, in my opinion! The big windmill with the seamless transfer of right to left at the bottom of the arc was impressive! It had flair, it had style, it did have difficulty, ESPECIALLY in a business suit (that's a poster, folks!). Plus the bit of humor added in the end, AND I didn't have to see you in a Speedo! I'm pretty satisfied with this dunk over all. Good job!
I'll admit seeing your theatrics of your past, present, and future was quite entertaining, From climbing trees, to being drafted to the Texas Lone Stars, and later in life you want to start a business. Quite an interesting dunk theme. Dunk itself though, needed to work on timing.
Oh man that was in interesting look at business side the Travis Buckner. I enjoyed the theatrics we've been getting from the Koala very much and this is no different. I love how he has gone from Past Present to future. He really seems to have saved his best for last. The dunk was perfectly timed and executed not to mention the guy looked great in a three piece suit.
Barnaby Jazz was next to finish the contest. And boy, did he finish it.
With Bourgeois still chuckling over Buckner's dunk, the PA burst into bass-heavy club music, "For Your Entertainment" from Adam Lamb. Jazz then stepped out onto the court wearing a pair of knee-high black boots with chains and buckles around them with half a foot of wide heel on each and a couple inches of platform on the toe. Jimmy-- and I'm not asking why he knows this-- told me the pups call them "bitch boots".
Add to that a pair of old-fashioned basketball shorts in Bikers colors-- and I mean OLD-fashioned, like before Davis, back when they came all the way up the leg. And not just Bikers colors but the word "BIKERS" slapped proudly across his rear. Matched with a mesh sleeveless shirt, and I had momentarily thought I'd found myself in a Texas gay bar. But my fellow reporters Bourgeois quickly snapped me out of it.
"NOPE!" the hyena barked as he threw his paws in the air, stood up, and headed for the exit. It caused a stir as the other judges looked around impatiently, each of them aware of the contracts they had signed to witness and judge each round of the competition, a contract their spotted partner was about to put in jeopardy. The music had to be cut off, an official told Jazz to hold on his performance, while other officials grabbed the snapping hyena and all but dragged him back to the judging table. It took a solid minute before Bourgeois was back in his seat, arms folded, staring daggers at the flustered Jazz with a crowd tossing boos and jeers here and there. Finally, the officials told Jazz to start over.
Again, with the music. Again the shark strutted in, doing a casual stroll down one side of the court, dribbling the rock. He made a show of flirting with crowd members as he stepped in the boots to the beat of the song. A pole mounted on a heavy base was placed under the hoop for reasons equal numbers of audience members speculated as dreaded. He then closed the last few feet to the basket in a quick job before jumping, doing a 360, finishing with a behind-the-fin two-handed slam. He then held on as he swung in the air a moment to the cheers of-- probably at least 60% of the crowd-- before wrapping his legs around the mysterious pole and sliding down it stripper-style. Crouching at the base, he blew kisses to the judges and the crowd as he winked and grinned animatedly.
The judges table was silent for a moment. Longer than a customary wait-for-the-Healer-to-speak moment. As four judges all looked at the steaming, simmering Bourgeois who looked so full of words to say his spots might pop off, Healey Davis leaned into his mic, pulled back, rubbed his chin, then looked at the hyena.
"You better go," he said simply. The hyena's response burst out like he'd been chasing it.
Let me tell you something young man. Acceptance of individualism and sexual orientation is one thing, but with acceptance comes a very BASIC responsibility to conduct oneself with a certain level of class befitting the image of a respectable organization. What you just did? The ...fetishisizing, the...the WHORIFICATION of this event? Of this great league? Sir, there are CHILDREN watching this event! Did you have a role model growing up, Mr. Jazz? Do you understand the concept of a role model for younger individuals? I know you're a rookie, but as a professional athlete, you have to know there are kids all over the country... all over the WORLD... watching this event. They look up to FBA athletes. They look up to YOU. And what those hundreds of thousands of youngsters just saw was a grown man, dressed like a dimestore whore, performing an exotic poledance and seducing them on live television...
And now... instead of showcasing a clean, positive image for the FBA, one of dignity, honor, power and grace befitting the great sport of basketball, you've chosen to sully the image of the whole league and all those in it with a connection to adult entertainment... to common SMUT. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I'd witness this in an FBA event. And I'm EMBARRASSED. For the FBA. For the sport of basketball. And for You.
And one last thing, Mr. Jazz... EXHIBITIONISM DOES NOT EQUAL PRIDE. If you were TRULY proud of your orientation and your culture, you would not have seen fit to publicly humiliate the entirety of that group with a distasteful, egregious display of ostentatious extremism bordering on sideshow level parody. If I were a gay man, I would be appalled at the utter lack of judgment and class on your part. Because not only do you represent the FBA, you also represent all you associate with. You represent the Bikers. You represent sharks and other aquatic species. And you represent that rainbow flag you tout so proudly.... and tonight you've brought shame to them all. For that I would have to say... shame on you, sir. I cannot respect or even tolerate such an atrocious display of indecency. If you win this thing, and if you are NOT extensively fined, it will be a sad, sorry admittance from the league that this type of behavior is acceptable to our all-ages demographic and not absolutely reprehensible. And I will have absolutely no part in enabling that idea.
The hyena then searched his cards, flipping through them for the right score, and when he didn't find it, he ripped the "10" card in half and held up the latter. Contractual obligations met, he rose and stormed off, leaving the four other judges rubbing the backs of their heads.
It was the first time I'd ever seen Davis flustered.
Again, as I said with Travis' dunk, tired of the theatrics, but the skill to even run in heels like that is worth an extra point, even if it has nothing to do with the skill of dunking. Again, a rather standard dunk, this time a 360 spin, but handled better than Kwakku's 720 attempt from the previous round. The slide on the pole after the dunk was interesting, but again, pointless theatrics, but shows good strength and control, especially with those heels on. I feel sorry for the court crew here in Texas, Jazz has given them a lot to check, first the water, and now possible dents from those heels.
I appreciate the blown kiss, but I'm already married.
Ohhh Kaaay.....the dunk was really impressive and well executed...but it did seem a bit plain.
It's hard to say whether the remaining four judges just felt badly for the treatment handed to the first aquatic competitor in the FBA Dunk Contest, but even their generous scores were not enough to prevail after the hyena's blow. Barnaby Jazz ended up with the runner-up prize after earning 33 points in the final round, sending rookie Travis Buckner home with the 2014 FBA Dunk Contest trophy with an impressive 41 points.
2014 FBA 3-Point Shootout
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
|1||Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||12|
|8||Travis Buckner (Grey Koala, F)||11|
|1||Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||17 17|
|5||Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||17 15|
|4||John Stoat (Stoat, G)||17 10|
|5||Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||17 16|
|1||Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||21|
|7||Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||14|
|3||Barton Rouge (Red Fox, G)||14|
|6||Michael Porter (Mallard, F/C)||16|
|6||Michael Porter (Mallard, F/C)||19|
|7||Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||20|
|2||Dorian Black (Black Cat, G/F)||15|
|7||Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||16|
- 2010: Theodore Sanftner (Prairie Dog, G)
- 2011: Barton Rouge (Red Fox, G)
- 2012: Silvia Windcreek (Silver Hare, G)
- 2013: Michael Porter (Mallard, F/C)
#1 Nina Lime vs. #8 Travis Buckner
|Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||N||N|
|Travis Buckner (Grey Koala, F)||N||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N|
With Nina Lime having a reputation for sinking threes and Travis Buckner not, it seemed like this round would be a wash. While the final result was not a surprise, the numbers were. Lime decided to go with speed over accuracy and rushed through the shots. She paid for it, though, as she found herself missing bucket after bucket, hitting only one shot on the first, second and fifth racks. She only chained two baskets together at the top of the arc when she managed to drill home all four but missed the money ball. Her 12 points was far below expectations and left an opening for the Buckner, who took more time with his shots. His steadiness paid off, with only the final money ball coming off his paws too late to count, but his accuracy wasn't much better. In the end, he hit just as many shots as Nina did, just missed one money ball too few, leaving him with only 11 and Lime with a ticket to the second round.—T. Matt Latrans
#4 John Stoat vs. #5 Rocky Caracal
|John Stoat (Stoat, G)||Y||N||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N|
|John Stoat (Stoat, G)||Y||N||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N|
|Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y|
John Stoat and Rocky Caracal are two of the most elite shooters in FBA history, both bound for the Hall of Fame. The were an auspicious pairing of veterans after the youthful talent of Lime and Buckner-- and both of them showed the kids why they need to respect their elders.
In a breath-taking first round, both the stoat and the lynx were on fire. Stoat struggled a bit a the first rack from the corner, but as soon as he opened up into the shoulder, the buckets kept coming. He was the first in the contest to put away an entire rack when he drained every shot from the top of the arc, and many more afterwards. Caracal likewise had trouble with the first rack, but warmed up quickly at the second, chaining together a stunning 7 shots in a row. A final bucket at the buzzer looked like it stole the win for the lynx, but it was waived off as being released after the 60 second time limit, giving both athletes 17 points, forcing a tiebreaker round.
In the tiebreaker, Stoat must have thought his fire would keep burning as he raced through the buckets putting up shots faster than before. He paid for it with a woeful dip in his accuracy, and an unlucky missing of every single money ball resulting in a score of just 10. That left Chainlink with a chance to win the round with ease as he carefully dropped bucket after bucket. In an almost cruel reversal, Rocky sank every single money ball including one he put up after the buzzer-- just to show the crowd he could. His 16 points won the round and sent the sniper vet to the second round.—T. Matt Latrans
#3 Barton Rouge vs. #6 Michael Porter
|Barton Rouge (Red Fox, G)||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||N||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||N|
|Michael Porter (Mallard, F/C)||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y|
Barton Rouge was the champ of 2011 and Michael Porter was the champ of 2013 making this matchup one of the most anticipated of the first round. Rouge opened with a bucket, but then missed every other ball on the first rack, not having much better luck on the second. Only when he reached the top of the arc and started getting that stronger position off the right side of the hoop did he begin to find his momentum, nailing 6 buckets in a row, though failing to clear any rack. Still, he put up every shot in 60 seconds, getting him 14 points.
Michael Porter has never been known for his speed, and his big webbed feet certainly weren't swift around the arc. Still, his wingtips had the same reliable level of accuracy that has kept him a force in the FBA, managing to sink the majority of the balls on the first four racks before only hitting one on the final rack before time ran out. His 16 points were enough to steal the win from the fox, sending the avian to the second round.—T. Matt Latrans
#2 Dorian Black vs. #7 Marcus Knight
|Dorian Black (Black Cat, G/F)||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y|
|Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y|
For all his crazy hair colors and punkish style, Dorian Black has remained a quiet figure in the FBA, never rising to the level of the superstars. That may change after this season and his truly outstanding shooting which earned him a ticket to the contest after skipping it for several years. The black cat was up against the curiously chipper rookie Marcus Knight, fresh off his Rookie Challenge MVP award.
Black is mostly known as a corner shooter, and he proved it in this game, as he did well on the first and fifth racks, but struggled at the third. A made money ball to end the round was waived off when it was released after the buzzer, leaving the black cat with a hauntingly appropriate 13 points.
Knight showed much more accuracy all the way around the arc, hitting shots from every position and gradually improving to a 3 bucket run between the fourth and fifth racks. He, too, let go of the final money ball too late, and the made shot was waived off, but he had already tied up with Black by the end of the fourth rack, leaving his 3 made shots in the dying seconds enough to send the rookie to the second round in what is turning out to be a phenomenal All-Star Week appearance for the rookie.—T. Matt Latrans
#1 Nina Lime vs. #5 Rocky Caracal
|Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N|
|Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G)||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||N|
History repeated itself as Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G) for the second time tied up the round with a 17 point performance matching Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F), who improved significantly after only barely slipping into the second round. The white wolf did a stellar job from the shoulders and the top of the arc, with only one miss away from drilling home 10 shots in a row. Missed money balls in the corners left Caracal with an opening to win, and the lynx looked like he was going to punish Lime for it when he sank all of his money balls save one, but the judges ruled the final winning shot to have come off his paws too late, forcing a tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker, Lime managed the best chain of the round by draining 6 shots in a row. Her early success derailed at the right shoulder, though, when she only made one bucket, but recovered with 3 in a row. In an ominous sign, the judges waived her final money ball shot as it went in, leaving her at 17 once more. But this time, Caracal seemed to get tired as he moved around the arc, hitting shots on the left side before missing big buckets on the right. When the clock ran out with 2 balls left on the final rack, he had only made one money ball, leaving him with 15-- and sending the Plymouth "Splash Sister" to the final round.
#6 Michael Porter vs. #7 Marcus Knight
|Michael Porter (Mallard, F/C)||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||N|
When basketball analysts try to predict results, a lot comes from the match ups rather than the individuals. Marcus Knight (River Otter, G) has proven himself to be one of the finest rookies of his draft class, but no one could envy his road in the 3-point Shootout. It was a miracle that he managed to best veteran shooter Dorian Black (Black Cat, G/F) by a single point in the first round, but now facing defending champion Michael Porter (Mallard, F/C), few thought the young otter had much of a chance. That chance looked even slimmer when Porter delivered a near virtuoso performance, hitting shots from every position, drilling home all but one money ball and putting up every ball on the racks. His 19 points was the record score of the contest, looking like the mighty duck had sealed himself a ticket to the final round and possibly another trophy.
But then Knight stunned the crowd with his steady, accurate shooting. After missing the first shot, the rookie sank five in a row, then three in a row, then another three and then four. His webbed feet were slower around the arc than Porter, forcing him to leave 3 balls on the final rack, but when the buzzer struck, he had only once missed two shots in a row and hit every money ball he managed to put up. The result was another razor-thin victory as Porter's 19-point record was shattered in a minute, giving the rookie a 20-point victory and a ticket to face Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F) in the final round.
#1 Nina Lime vs. #7 Marcus Knight
|Nina Lime (Wolf, G/F)||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N|
|Marcus Knight (River Otter, G)||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y|
Fatigue is a serious issue for 3-point shooters, who demand significant strength to launch the basketball as far as they do. With Nina Lime having had to play an extra round, there were concerns the Plymouth Splash Sister would find herself at a disadvantage, especially against the tireless Marcus Knight bounding with rookie energy. Having just broken the night's record with a stunned 20 point performance to best last year's winner Michael Porter, the young rookie looked poised for a simply incredible evening.
It's possible that Lime was just pacing herself, though. After a short breather to focus herself, Lime attacked the hoop, sinking her first two shots before missing her first, but that was the only shot she missed off the corner rack. She missed a single shot off the shoulder next, before missing only two on the third and fourth racks, each time hitting the money ball. Already with 18 points by the time she touched the final rack, the crowd went wild as she sank one, two, then three in a row to break the night's record with a stunned 21 point performance. Her last two shots failed to go in, the final bucket launching too late to count, but with 21, the Splash Sister re-asserted herself showing why she was voted #1 into the contest.
With the crowd buzzing, Knight started up in identical fashion, hitting two before missing his first, then completing the rest of the rack. But at the shoulder, he slipped badly, positioning his feet wrong and getting totally out of his rhythm. Four in a row clanged off the rim before he did sink the money ball. He found his rhythm again at the top of the arc, drilling home four in a row before missing the money ball, but then those webbed feet stumbled again at the opposite shoulder with another missed quartet. Already behind badly by the time he touched the final rack, the clock gave out before he could even get the third ball off. He finished with a good showing, putting away the last two shots that Lime had failed to sink, but even if the clock hadn't run out, it would not have been enough. His 14 points was well below Lime's, and a drop from the otter's previous rounds, making some suggest the rookie was the one who had exhausted himself, working too hard in the early rounds.
And with her 21-point victory, Nina Lime becomes the 2014 3-Point Shootout Winner for All-Star Week.
|Redfield-Umaechi smack talk builds into ASG|
A story written by Wendingo
|An Unlikely Victory|
Chapter 14 in Part 4 of the series From the Alley to the Big City
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Alphonse Norwich IV and squab fan
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