#28 Dunking

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Basketball is typically not thought of as a contact sport. There is no “checking,” as in hockey, or “tackling,” as in football and rugby, or “beheading,” as in gladiatorial battles. There are, however, some finer details, that, although not quite as rough as the aforementioned sporting activities, are still a tad bit Manly. Setting a pick, for example, can be quite a violent experience, as can be battling Shaquille O’Neal in the low post. For this reason, basketball retains its status as a Manly form of competition (as opposed to, say, croquet, which is undoubtedly fun, but definitely not Manly).

Dunking is the most Manly of basketball moves. It involves a player denying gravity for a long enough period of time that he/she can actually elevate his hands high enough above the rim that he is able to put the ball directly through the hoop. When a player dunks, he leaves nothing to chance; he makes sure that the ball goes where he intends it, with no interference from such things as air pressure, ball spin, or Dikembe Mutombo.

Dunking derives its Manliness from two sources. The first is Man’s desire to gain altitude; the ability to dunk shows that a Man has a talent for short-term altitude gainmanship. The second source is Man’s inherent need to be a hero. When a Man dunks, he not only gains points for his team, he does so in a way that shames the opposition, inspires his teammates to play with passion, and incites any fans to a frenzied roar. If the dunk is spectacular enough, it will be remembered forever.

The Mantivity score for a single dunk ranges from 2.4 to 2.9. Bonus points can be earned for dunking over another Man, for overcoming height deficiencies or for finishing an Alley Oop pass with a dunk. If you are Yao Ming, the score for dunking is reduced to 1.0 because you are very very tall.

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