Versions of one of the most talked-about videos in hoop history surfaced this week, putting to rest doubts of whether the current King of Slams was actually victimized by an up-and-coming NBA wannabe.
Several weeks ago, rumors swirled that Xavier University’s Jordan Crawford, participating in Nike’s LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, threw a thunder dunk down on the basketball camp’s namesake.
If the dunk would have been the only news from the academy, the story surely would have dissipated by now. But a far juicier tale emerged when Nike officials decided to seize the videotape, likely fearing that the footage of James as the dunkee would undermine his status atop Dunk Mountain.
The officials argued that all spectators understand that videotaping is not allowed. But what Nike officials didn’t anticipate was how fast the dunk story would morph into court lore of Crawford’s defacing the King. They also didn’t count on another version of the video leaking out of the Nike compound.
On Wednesday, however, the gossip video site TMZ.com and eBaumNation.com served up two different versions of the tape. TMZ’s cell phone video, though fuzzy and unsteady, indeed shows Crawford dunking over James in the paint during a pickup game. The eBaum Nation footage, apparently shot from the bleachers above the rim where the alleged defacing took place, is of slightly higher quality and has better sound.
Truth is, while Crawford does deliver a pretty decent dunk, it’s far from the quality of bone-shaker that James – the bona fide Slam Master –– administers to foes on a nightly basis during the NBA season.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated Web site, the amateur videographer whose tape was confiscated, Ryan Miller, confirmed that while the footage was not what he shot, it was indeed the dunk. "I am 99.9 percent sure that is the actual dunk," said Miller, a 22-year-old recent Syracuse University graduate. "I was obviously in a different position on the floor, but it was the same reaction from the crowd, same everything. The footage they had before [the dunk] was also footage from that same pickup game. So that's the dunk. Finally."