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THERE ARE plenty of risks associated with being an elite dunker. Landing awkwardly and busting an ankle. Hitting your head on the backboard. And being remembered for nothing else. Few things in sports can skew a legacy like winning the NBA slam dunk contest. Sure, for Jordan or Kobe it's just a footnote to a stellar career. But plenty of dunk champs—Larry Nance, Kenny Walker, Dee Brown (above), Desmond Mason and last Saturday's winner, Nate Robinson—are very good players whose accomplishments will forever be dwarfed by what they did in an exhibition. It beats not being remembered at all; would Harold Miner's name ring a bell if he hadn't won? But it's not always the fairest measure of a career either.
Hope He Has Insurance
On Sunday 18-year-old Joey Logano became the youngest starter in the history of the Daytona 500 (page 40). Just how much hype surrounds this kid is evident by his nickname: Sliced Bread. Logano signed his first autograph when he was 12, and he used to sit in class practicing his signature. Being in the spotlight at such a young age has made for a strange life: "At times I've got to act more mature than my age—and for me that's quite a bit of time—but other times I can have fun and play video games like a normal 18-year-old kid," he told me. Logano finished last at Daytona after getting knocked into the wall. That wreck wasn't his fault; his previous crash, in his dad's pickup truck, was. "I hit a mailbox the other day," he said. "[The turn] was a little tighter than I thought it would be."
The Labors of Love
O.J. MAYO of the Grizzlies and Minnesota's Kevin Love were traded for each other on draft day. Based on the way they're treated by teammates, I think Mayo was the clear winner in that deal. Mayo has suffered very little hazing. So long as he makes sure there's Gatorade on the bus, he's fine. Love, though, is asked to do more. Love told me that Al Jefferson "will call me to come over and pick up, you know, what his dog leaves in his yard." Risking a fine, Love has refused.
THE FINE PRINT: Lance Armstrong rescinded his offer of Internet access to his drug tests. This would have given new meaning to the phrase streaming video.
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