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REASON NO. 1 This DUNK
LEE JENKINS
February 18, 2013
HALF A LIFETIME AGO, A YOUNG MICHAEL JORDAN TOOK THE ALL-STAR SLAM DUNK TITLE WITH A PERFORMANCE THAT FINALLY WON OVER HIS RIVALS. HERE IS THE STORY OF THAT MEMORABLE DAY
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February 18, 2013

Reason No. 1 This Dunk

HALF A LIFETIME AGO, A YOUNG MICHAEL JORDAN TOOK THE ALL-STAR SLAM DUNK TITLE WITH A PERFORMANCE THAT FINALLY WON OVER HIS RIVALS. HERE IS THE STORY OF THAT MEMORABLE DAY

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"He has arrived."

SMITH: I was shooting a bunch of the parties, and between midnight and 2 a.m. I dropped off my film at a 24-hour lab in a parking lot on Adams Street. I came back when they opened at eight. You pick up the film, and the labs have these light tables so you can flip through your slides and look at them. I tore through everything until I got to the dunk contest. My hand was shaking. I was scared to look at the frame. So many things can go wrong. His eyes could be closed. His hand could be blocking the ball. But it captured exactly what you saw. At the time, if someone wanted to make your picture into a poster, you'd get $600 to $1,000. Nike paid me $3,500. I thought I ripped them off. The next year I took a trip to Thailand, and I saw the poster in the window of a sporting goods store in Bangkok. I'm also the Bears' photographer, and a lot of players would ask, "You work for the Bulls? You didn't take that picture of Jordan, did you?" I've still got the slide. It's locked in a fireproof safe.

NEAL: I asked for only one autograph from Jordan in my career, because I had a policy to never ask for autographs from any athlete. But I did get him to autograph that poster for my son.

CARTER: Ball by the ear, legs out, defying gravity. Yeah, I had it on my wall. Didn't everybody? A lot of things you saw in those old dunk contests, guys are doing now in games. But a free-throw-line dunk still blows me away.

MAGIC JOHNSON (to reporters after the All-Star Game): He has arrived. There's room for three elite players: me, Larry and Michael.

JORDAN (to reporters): For the first time, I really feel accepted by everyone.

HALLAM: I actually put the trophy in my car, not his. I gave it to him the next week at practice. It was wood, with a gold ball on the top.

SELLERS: I live near Cleveland now, and they still talk about the Shot. The Dunk is like the Shot, another step on the ladder of his evolution, another part of the chiseling of the statue. A week after the contest he paid all of us.

SMITH: Last February, I got a call from The Today Show because they wanted to reenact some of their favorite photographs. Matt Lauer is a big basketball fan, and Jordan fan, and he chose my shot. I met him in a Broadway theater, and we tried to hang him like a puppet in the same position as Michael. Matt was probably up there in a harness for an hour and a half, with assistants pulling his arms and legs, trying to get him in the perfect spot. They'd tell him, "Move your arm six inches up, now move your hip six inches over." But it was impossible. What we found is what we should have known all along. Nobody's body can do what Michael Jordan's did. He moved in inhuman ways.

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