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Old 02-02-2011, 03:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What it feels like to be dunked on by Blake


Here we have Victim #296 (give or take), a tall black male, aged 25 years. His name is Anthony Tolliver, he plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he prides himself on never backing down from a challenge. Which is how he came to be standing under the basket on the night of Nov. 17, 2010, when Blake Griffin achieved liftoff. What followed was, in basketball terms, obscene. Suffice to say Tolliver ended up with an armpit in his face and a highlight to last a lifetime.

Two months later, when asked by a reporter, Tolliver remembers only certain details, as if recalling a traumatic childhood memory. It was from the left side. He reacted instinctively. The world went into slow-mo. As he speaks, he is standing in the visitors' locker room before a game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and his teammates, having overheard the conversation, enthusiastically chime in. "It was a-mazing!" Martell Webster declares with fake gusto, pretending to be Tolliver. "He had his balls on my head, and afterward he apologized and said, 'Good effort, guy.'"

Tolliver is left with but one recourse. He grabs the notebook of the reporter, on which resides the List, an unofficial but extensive accounting of every player whom Griffin has dunked on. The NBA portion of the List takes up an entire page and includes 30 names, including luminaries such as Tim Duncan (Lifetime Victim #305, Dec. 1, 2010, double-pump) and Pau Gasol (#323, Jan. 16, 2011, reverse).

"Yo, look at all the names on this list!" Tolliver says, brandishing the notebook in the direction of his teammates. "That's all just this year!"

Curious, the T-Wolves move closer, peering upon the names of the fallen. "You won't see any Corey Brewer on that list," announces swingman Corey Brewer, who is told that actually you will (Victim #311, Dec. 20, 2010, alley-oop). Reserve center Kosta Koufos, looking over Tolliver's shoulder, is equally confident. "I'll never be on that list," he announces, a claim that seems dubious considering that three hours later he will come within a well-placed hip check of joining it.

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