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NBA Dunk of the Week: Jonas Valanciunas is a Big Sloppy Boy

Buzzer-beating dunks are rare as hell. Rarer still are buzzer-beating dunks by big old lumbering centers like Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas.

At the risk of getting a little too vulnerable, everyone needs to know something about me, the writer of this column: I’m an extraordinarily sloppy boy. I’m wearing sweatpants I haven’t washed in a while, my hair is flying out in bizarre, unnerving directions. Are my underpants on the right way? I truly do not know or care. I went to college in Olympia, Washington, universally regarded as the Sloppiest City in America, a city so sloppy that, midtown, there’s a pipe that spits out artesian well water 24/7, and I drink from it pretty much every time I walk by. I just fucking love drinking water straight out of a pipe. As of this writing at 10 AM, I haven’t showered or brushed my teeth.


I often wonder: where’s MY dunk? Where is the dunk by and for a sloppy boy like myself, the one that turns me and my kind into a hero? Is baseball the only sport where I can see someone like me—a big ol’ slopster—succeed on the big stage?

Here is Jonas Valanciunas, getting the ball with the clock running down in the high post, realizing, slowly, that there are no good shooting options available, deciding, for God only knows what reason, that the only solution here is for him to iso, roll off his defender, and dunk on John Henson to tie the game at the buzzer.

Buzzer-beating dunks are rare as hell in the first place, valuable gems you only get so many of. But what takes this over the top, what really puts this nonsense in a pantheon of its own creation is the figure of the man who is completing it. Jonas is just entirely too sloppy to be throwing down a buzzer-beating dunk. His hairy face. His tummy, sticking out.

Look at Jonas, after his moment of glory, collapse on the ground, waiting for the call on whether the dunk actually beat the buzzer or not. My man is winded after one dunk, ready to take a goddamn nap after accomplishing the best shit he was gonna manage, all day. I, too, feel completely exhausted after finishing, like, one thing. Also, when I finally get around to showering after I write this column, I will probably leave my clothes in the bathroom and forget to pick them up for hours, at least, days, at most. Jonas, soaked in sweat, clearly feels me on this front, and is blessed, unlike myself, to have a support staff that will do the washing for him.


And sure, Jonas isn’t always perfect. I have two full laundry baskets sitting in my room, which I have been told have a kind of mildew smell. I cannot smell it, and neither could Jonas, if he came over to play some Smash or something. There is no way that this tactic was the goal of his coaches, there is no way that edging that dunk so close to the buzzer was an idea that would pay off more than half of the time. And hey, in the same breath, here I am, grinding it out as a freelancer, but never quite trying hard enough. It’s not exactly where I want to be. But this dunk inspires me to continue on my possibly ruinous path.

In this way, it may be almost DANGEROUS to watch Jonas throw it down. Too much of this, too many bonafide dunks for slobs, and I might never turn my sweater outside-out.

The only thing keeping this dunk from being outright slob propaganda is that, on a certain level, it ended up being pointless. Jonas’s squad went into OT and lost to the Bucks. All this bit of heroism did was prolong the amount of time he had to do exercise, truly anathema to slobs like us.

I’m trying to eat better these days, and so my breakfast was a few spoonfuls of cashew butter and a handful of raisins, which I decided was a basically acceptable healthy option. Jonas, staring at his cupboards the day after this defeat, would come to the same conclusion.

One of my four pillows (maximum comfort only) doesn’t have a pillow case right now. I am soaked in ancient pillow filth, and this is the dunk of my nation. Our flag is a filthy pillow case with a picture of Jonas, sprawled out on the court, exhausted and paunchy and bearded. We take it into battles where we are summarily defeated by armies with discipline, who are cleaner and better than we are. You WILL respect it. Or don’t, it’s fine. I’m tired.