The 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday saw Team USA defeat Team World 161-144 in a game was about as half-assed defensively as one would expect with that scoreline. But despite this crop of young NBA talent getting some of the best looks they’ve gotten all season, it didn’t prevent some of the worst misses from standing out amongst the highlight dunks—especially down the stretch.
Things started to unravel about midway through the third quarter when Trae Young almost had the highlight of the evening. After crossing up Josh Okogie once, Young managed to get a solid nutmeg in for good measure only to lose control of the ball once he entered the paint.
At least that clip had the benefit of almost being great. Some of the other misses didn’t even have that luxury, like Team World’s Rodions Kurucs attempt at a Statue of Liberty dunk.
Or Donovan Mitchell trying to alley-oop it to himself off of the backboard.
But the most egregiously terrible bit from the game happened towards the end of regulation where the players started to get into a bit of a dunk contest with one another. The idea sounded cool in theory, but in trying to imitate some of the best dunkers in league history, the players ended up reenacting the god-awful 1997 dunk contest.
Just like during Vince Carter’s performance at the 2000 dunk contest, the players on the sidelines were probably thinking “let’s go home, ladies and gentleman, let’s go home,” but for different reasons.
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