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The Slamdunk

With the NBA Allstar game around the corner, today was a good idea to do a post around the same. Actually, this post is about one of ours & everyone else’s who watches the NBA’s favourite play, the SLAMDUNK!!! Over a period of time, since the ABA & Dr. J (Julius Erving popularised this great feat) the slamdunk has come a long & high way ;-).

nba_slam_dunk_contest_history_widescreen

My brother, Mihir, & I have been watching basketball since forever. Although initially, we didn’t really watch it for the love of the game.. actually we did; we used to play Tecmo Basketball on the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) & that, over a period of time, got us familiar with the teams and the players. Soon we migrated to watching the game. This was around the time cable TV was introduced to India & ESPN & Starsports were broadcasting matches. Anyways, the Slamdunk & its versions, the tip-in dunk & the alley-oop, were our all time favorite things to watch in the game. We also followed some great dunkers & their exploits; to name a few – Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Scottie Pippen, Spud Webb, Shawn Kemp, Kobe Bryant,  etc. etc.. For all those interested in seeing the history of the Slamdunk Contest check the link http://www.nba.com/history/allstar/slamdunk_year_by_year.html ; also below is the video for the Top 10 dunks of all time in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest:

Moving on….. what i wanted to talk about was the evolution of the sport and my top few dunkers. Let me start by talking about my most favorite dunkers & my top 5 in order are – at number 1 – The Reign Man, Shawn Kemp number 2 – Half Man Half Amazing, Vince Carter & current favorite at number – 3 Blake Griffin. Vince & Blake both have been Slamdunk Contest winners; Kemp, on the other hand, hasn’t won any Slamdunk Contests yet, though his Alley-Oops courtesy Gary Payton and his insane in-game dunks are absolutely revolutionary. Vince Carter’s showing in the 2000 dunk contest is probably the greatest showing in the history of the NBA Slamdunk contest ever!!! Blake also showcased some amazing dunks during his winning run in 2011, his bounce ball off the board elbow dunk was very cool & his over the car dunk was a showcase event. Also, through the years, the dunk competetion has seen a great many dunkers like Jason Richardson, Nate Robinson, the only 3 time winner, Gerald Green, Josh Smith, Dwight Howard, etc. Don’t miss Vince Carter’s performance in the Slam Dunk Contest, check the below video:

Dwight Howard, one of the few big men who won the crown in 2008 with the Superman dunk, which according to me is when the dunk evolved…. Dwight jumped so high that he actually threw the ball downwards into the rim from far. Further to that, and since then, Blake Griffin has taken that to another level with his crazy dunks over Kendrick Perkins & Pau Gasol. His teammate, DeAndere Jordan, also matches Blake’s ability to fly, and showcases monstorous dunks regularly. Gerald Green, with his insane dunk, wherein his head was above the rim & then he decides to windmill the same………. insane, I tell you. Then there is Jawal Mcgee who, according to me, should have been a co winner with Blake Griffin in the slamdunk contest. This guy is a freak of nature,  with the arm span he has…… every time he dunks his hand is above the white box! All these guys have taken the art of dunking to the next level. A worthy mention here is The King, Lebron James, who as per me, has some of the most insane & powerful ingame dunks! When he jumped over John Lucas the 3rd, it was a sight which not many will ever forget! Blake vs. Jawal in the video below:

This year’s competetion features some great dunkers, though, no real superstar … which is a bummer :-(. NBA, take notice! Get Lebron, Blake & a few others to take part. Having said that, the competition this year features……click on the hyperlinks to see highlights of the participants:

2013 Eastern Conference Sprite Slam Dunk Competitors

Gerald Green (Indiana) Terrence Ross (Toronto) James White (New York)

2013 Western Conference Sprite Slam Dunk Competitors

Eric Bledsoe (L.A. Clippers) Jeremy Evans (Utah) Kenneth Faried (Denver)

My pick? I don’t have a single one, but will go with boys from the eastern conference – each of them has insane ups!!!

Intresting Trivia:

1) Nate Robinson has won the contest thrice as part of the New York Knicks

2) Three Atlanta Hawks have won the Slamdunk Contest – Dominique, Spudd & Josh Smith

3) Julius Erving never won the NBA contest but won it when it was a part of the ABA

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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Helmets & More

 

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My First Road Trip part 2

The next part of our awesome road trip was about 30 Kms from Pune, a small village known as Saswad, which houses an awesome Fort known as Jadhavgadh. We started our journey early, had breakfast at the Machan and got out buy around 9:30 am. The drive back to Lonavala took about half an hour considering the crazy fog, we also got lost in one of the by lanes, anyways we hit the expressway soon enough and made it to the outskirts of Pune in about an hour and a half. Here it gets tricky passing Pune and onto Saswad took a good 2 hours, crazy traffic and bad road. At a time even google Maps failed and we had to ask a cop for directions (surprisingly he looked and behaved like Manoj Bajpai). After a fairly crazy ride up a fairly broad ghat (Mountain) we reached our destination.

The first thing you notice about the fort is the people, they are all dressed in traditional Maratha outfits. Our welcome was accompanied by a blow of trumpets and a crazy beating of drums by a frenzied security guard, we also got the very firangi “tilak on the forehead” treatment. We quickly finished all the formalities and headed towards our room, please to note had booked a suite which was a surprise for the lovely Mrs. I was surprised by the room – it was big and had a large balcony with a crazy view – do check the image below for the view. We settled in and ordered food, some traditional chicken in coconut gravy with bread, the food was finger licking good. I would strongly recommend that you try the local cuisine in the Hotel; it’s absolutely to die for. After a quick siesta we moved towards the pool, the Mrs quickly jumped in, me on the other hand thought the water was a little too cold for my liking and hence went on to check the Fort.

The Fort is not very large, if you have been to Rajasthan it may almost seem like a Haveli what stands out is how well it has been maintained and how the entire Hotel has been built around it. The lawns surrounding the Fort are massive and make for some great bird and flower photography. I ended up spending quite a lot of my time taking pictures. Late evening we decided to head back to the room – post more chilling time we went for dinner – the dining room is pretty standard looks like something out of a clubhouse, but the waiter suggested that we dine at the balcony. This turned out to be a great suggestion as it was only us and the experience of eating there was amazing. The starter we ordered was something called Jadhavgadh ke Sholay (Fires of Jadhavgadh – loosely translated) a tandoori paneer dish; we ordered it basis the interesting name – not bad it was, for main course we ordered mutton for a change, a dish called Mutton Tambya Cha Rassa – hands down the best mutton dish we have eaten, the mutton was softer than the paneer, we finished the meal with an awesome Kulfi (local hand churned ice-cream).

Day 2 was pretty much filled with photography, swimming, dinning had an absolute blast, before I forget the Breakfast – absolutely amazing and they had a decent spread also; to give you an idea, my breakfast included muffins, breads, juice, cereal, poha, parathas, grilled veggies, juice, eggs to order and milk shake – I could not move for a few hours after that but totally loved it. Moving on, day 3 is when we left for Mumbai, again got out by about 10:00 am the drive this time was surprisingly fast, the roads were empty and we reached the expressway in about 40 minutes. From there on it was a 2 hour drive to Mumbai – we stopped at a Khopoli, did not feel like eating so had ice-cream and then drove on. Took about an hour 15 to get to home once we hit Mumbai, the little Ashoooooo as usual welcomed us (he also makes an appearance on our blog 🙂 All in all, our first roadtrip was kick-ass we had a blast stayed amongst trees and in a Fort, drove across some of the best roads in the country, could not have asked for more during our mini vacation.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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My First Road Trip

Awesome View!!!

My first Road-trip! This was an idea me and Yooti (my wife) had been playing with for a while. This year we finally decided to put it to the test, our poison a short trip through Lonavala and Pune in Maharastra – the Mrs being an expert on off-beat vacations figured destination 1; a PondProperty called The Machan. This is a secluded property about 20kms away from Lonavala. I, to begin With, was very skeptical about going there (the place does not have TV or connectivity!!!); anyways, after much debate and discussion, finally decided to go there and the rest, as they say, is History.

Sensational!!!

The trip began with a few disasters. I was unwell to begin with; next, we drove to an ATM, tried withdrawing money but the transaction failed, Of course the bank conveniently sent us a text saying money deducted – this took an hour to sort. Then mad rains in Mumbai! We got stuck in a jam at Parel which would just not move; anyways, we weaved through that using the back roads of Wadala and got out of the city – took us an hour but better than what most people managed. By now, memories of a certain Goa trip were coming back in my head, but the awesome drive across the Expressway made me forget them.

Yayyyyyyyyyyy Open Roads

Tree House!!!

We finally reached Lonavala, managed to withdraw money and then go searching for booze, don’t get it…. any shit is expensive in Lonavala. Moving on, Yooti, my expert Navigator, guides me towards The Machan. Note here, the drive is awesome, the roads are not, it’s a single lane road and covered in fog during the monsoons, make sure all the lights in your vehicle are working. After passing Bushy Dam and a lot of naked people, we finally turned onto a dirt road and find destination 1 – The Machan.

Like I mentioned, I was skeptical about this, but as soon as I entered the property, I was absolutely blown away…….. the reception is built on a pond which overlooks the 25 acre area. We checked in and walked towards our tree house with some assistance from the very helpful staff, surprisingly we had to walk into the forest to get to our room.

Brilliant Property

Randomness!!!

Finally we climbed a spiral staircase and reached our Machan; the room was like something out of a Jim Corbett Novel – very rustic and absolutely in sync with the surroundings. We settled in and ordered some food. At this point I must mention if you ever visit this place, do order the spicy chicken chilli, it is the craziest dish ever…. full of masala and crazy hot. Anyways, most of my time at the Machan was spent photographing the brilliant landscape and property, and going on nature trails; a suggestion: travel with an extra pair of shoes, I got mine wet in the waterfall and they just don’t dry here!

Dinners are simple but the setting just takes it to another level…… a man made tent, fireplace and candle lights just hits all the right notes. About the TV bit, I thought I would not survive but I did not miss it much! I would highly recommend this place, it amazing, non commercialized and blissful. Do check some pictures we have put up of our stay around this post. If you have any other questions about the place, do write to us via comments below….from here we now move to our next destination Jadhavgard which we will cover in our next post.

Greenary!!!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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