Shawn Kemp once dubbed Blake Griffin’s over-a-car dunk lame, claiming he “could do it” at age 41

When it comes to electrifying displays on the basketball court, few can match the gravity-defying abilities of Blake Griffin. Throughout his career, Griffin has astounded fans with his incredible dunking prowess, leaving spectators in awe with his aerial acrobatics. From his mesmerizing leaping ability to his piston-like power, Griffin has graced basketball highlight reels with jaw-dropping slams that defy the laws of physics.

However, even amidst all the praise and admiration, one critique remains etched in the minds of fans. Shawn Kemp, a legendary dunker in his own right, once dubbed Blake Griffin’s over-a-car dunk as “lame,” boldly claiming that he, at the age of 41, could perform a similar feat.

Blake Griffin once pulled a spectacular over-a-car dunk

Back in 2011, during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Blake Griffin participated in the NBA slam dunk contest. Little did anyone know that they were about to witness a historic moment in basketball history.

Blake Griffin
Via SBNation

Griffin’s first dunk ignited the crowd, as he executed a flawless 360 slam that earned him an impressive score of 49. However, it was his fourth dunk that stole the show. With the assistance of a choir singing “I Believe I Can Fly,” Griffin soared over a Kia (because it was the official car of the NBA at the time.) car, leaving the audience in awe.

It wasn’t just the jaw-dropping athleticism of the dunk itself that made it special; it was the sheer audacity and creativity behind it. Jumping over a car was a challenge that had never been attempted before, and Griffin executed it flawlessly.

Griffin, who is regarded as one of the best dunkers in NBA history, secured his place in dunk contest history and beat out his fierce competition to take home the crown. The video of his car dunk quickly went viral, becoming a symbol of his extraordinary talent and athleticism.

While many still appreciate that unique moment to this day, there are still a few critics who believe they themselves could have done much better.

Shawn Kemp dubbed Blake Griffin’s over-a-car dunk weak

Former NBA player Shawn Kemp recently expressed his disappointment with Blake Griffin’s performance in the Slam Dunk Contest. Kemp, who himself participated in the contest four times but never emerged victorious, labeled Griffin’s final dunk as “weak.”

Blake Griffin and Shawn Kemp
Via Basketball Network

Speaking on Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR in 2011 with Dave Mahler and Ian Furness, the 41-year-old Kemp explained his views. “I’m a big Blake Griffin fan, but that dunk at the contest might’ve been the weakest dunk in the dunk contest that I’ve seen in a long time,” Kemp said.

While Kemp acknowledged being a fan of Griffin, he criticized the dunk, deeming it the “weakest” he had seen in a long time. Griffin’s dunk involved jumping over a car, catching an alley-oop pass from teammate Baron Davis, and concluding with a spectacular finish while a choir sang R. Kelly’s hit song “I Believe I Can Fly.”

Kemp, however, voiced his belief that he could execute a better dunk even at the age of 41, stating he could clear two Smart Cars with his jumping ability. “I’m 41 years old and right now I could do it. Two Smart Cars,” he added.

Despite expressing his admiration for the accompanying theatrical elements of Griffin’s dunk, Kemp insisted that jumping over the car itself was an essential element in showcasing true dunking prowess.

While it’s unclear if Kemp could perform the feat he claimed, it’s evident that his passion for the game and his love for dunking still burns strong. Regardless, it’s refreshing to see Kemp’s competitive spirit alive and well even years after retiring from the NBA.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory.His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene.Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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