Stinkface Chronicles: An Introduction
Last season, Marbury didn't give his two employers -- the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics -- much for the $21 million he banked. But a priceless reaction he gave to a dunk six seasons ago serves as the inspiration for this series.
In 2002-03 season, Marbury teammed with a raw, rookie power forward in Phoenix named Amar'e Stoudemire. On Dec. 20, 2002, Marbury and Stoudemire worked a pick-and-roll. After a nice no-look bounce pass from Marbury, Stoudemire found himself with 15 feet of runway and only Clipper center Michael Olowokandi in his way.
Stoudemire's destructive dunk was so strong, so foul, so pungent a posterizing that Marbury couldn't help but curl up his nose and crinkle his mug as if he just took a whiff a baby's freshly filled diapers. Hence, the stinkface.
So, what are The Stinkface Chronicles, exactly? Glad you asked. (It's not this, by the way, though, it's easy to see how someone could make the connection.) It's a series where we hope to analyze not only excellent dunks, but the reactions to them.
As noted earlier, Steph's facial expression after the Olowokandi destruction was the main inspiration for this.
But there was another impetus for this series as well. Fast forward to 2009 where another dunk involving a rookie and the Clippers elicited a similar stinkface reaction. In this case, it was Clippers' rookie and No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin dropping the hammer on the Lakers' D.J. Mbenga on Oct. 18.
Take a peek.
First, let's look at the dunk. It's not a dunk, really, as Griffin doesn't make it to the rim. But we're not going to quibble. Similar "dunks" have won contests. It's close enough, and Mbenga, judging by his "Oh, I'll hear about this one for a long time" reaction, knows it.
Dunk grade: A-
Second, so do his teammates. Look at the reaction of the Lakers bench. At about the 10-second mark of the video, one Laker, believed to be Ron Artest, pulls a towel over his face as if to prevent the stench of embarrassment. In a veteran move, Kobe Bryant, sitting one seat to the left of Artest, slyly and smartly starts to take a drink out of the cup he was holding. Kobe wants to cover ... what? A smile of admiration? A smirk? A laugh? Pau Gasol, two seats down from Kobe and in a suit because he was inactive, looks down the bench as if to say, "Did you see that?" Tracy Morgan, er, Andrew Bynum, who is two seats down from Artest, has his mind grapes blown and slowly slides his hand over his face. Only Derek Fisher, next to Bynum, doesn't move a muscle. He's seen it all. Or maybe he wasn't impressed.
Adding to the atmosphere was Joel Meyers' call and Stu Lantz's analysis. Meyers' understated tone not only calls the dunk for what it is, but draws out the name of the victim: "And Griffin ... the poster ... over D... J... Mbenga. Man, oh, man!" Lantz meanwhile begins laughing and takes a six seconds to compose himself before saying: "That's posterizing."
Yes, yes it is. And a great, and appropriate, reaction to the dunk.
To close out this introduction, we'll let you know not all reactions to great dunks are as overt as Marbury's or the Lakers bench. Let's check the mother of all dunks: Vince Carter's over poor Frederic Weis in the 2000 Syndey games.
You know the one.
Awesome, right? No doubt. Back in the early '90s, I worked in the Milwaukee Bucks video department where I helped make offensive and defensive tapes (yes, tapes) for the coaching staff. I got accustomed to winding and rewinding over and over so that the play, at times, became secondary and I started to notice the reaction of the bench, the coaches and the crowd to a great play (usually, and sadly, by a Bucks opponent).
Of course, with the VC throwdown, you see his reaction, Kevin Garnett's reaction and hear Doug Collins' reaction, which is first a "Hoo-hoo-hoooooo... Whoo!" and then channeling his inner John Malkovich, Collins says, "He jumped over his heeeeeeeeaaaad!"
Those aren't the best reactions. As I worked the dunk back and forth on a DVR, I started to notice the reaction of the woman at the end of the French bench. Blow up the video to full size if you need to. But check her out. She's watching the game and has a reaction to the French team's turnover. She dips her head into her hands as if to say, "Here we go again."
But her mood changes after Carter clears Weis. A mere moment after Carter throws down, she lifts her head quickly as if she had been given smelling salts, or given a whiff of the stinkiest French fromage. We have Olympic stinkface.
It's a dainty, subtle movement, but one that needs no translation.
"Sacre bleu! What was THAT?" her expression seemed to say.
That was just the greatest dunk of all time.
Know a dunk that's worthy of The Stinkface Chronicles? Let us know and we'll check it out.