Dunk Elite launches Dunk Elite Live, international series of dunking events
“We’re about to bear witness to one of the most spectacular events in professional basketball… the slam dunk contest.”
The Commentator’s voice from the 1st ever ABA Slam Dunk Contest in 1976 resonates with us today, stronger than ever before. 40 years later we’re proud to solidify dunking as an independent urban sport with creation of the first ever series of professional dunking events, “Dunk Elite Live”, designed to square off the best dunkers on the planet in the most structured format ever assembled.
Dunk Elite Live
“It’s impossible to sum up how much work we’ve put into this.” – said Dunk Elite’s founder Simon Piechowski – “The years of experience, watching, organizing and participating in hundreds, if not thousands of contests; receiving feedback from NBA players, sport CEOs, entrepreneurs, academics and countless amazing fans, all comes to fruition today. Dunk Elite Live is born to not only address the longstanding demand, but to codify and give the world a new urban sport we all admire.”
Professional dunk contests, outside of the NBA, have been around since the 90s. “Most people think that the dunk contest only exists in the NBA,” – said Kadour Ziani, referred to as the Dunkfather – “but they’re missing 99% of the mind-blowing dunking happening all around the world. I’ve been campaigning for decades to give the sport the recognition it deserves and I’m beyond proud that Dunk Elite made it happen’.
“When blueprinting it all we first had to look at what defines a sport – from physical activity, competition, official rules to statistics, defining our audience and growth potential. Above all, we’re answering the call around the world to bring elite dunk contests to the masses.“ – Simon adds – “Our athletes already took things to the next level in terms of physical preparation, dieting and competitive focus. This is all they do – eat, sleep, train, travel and compete; they are professional dunkers in every sense of the term. The same goes for our administration – Dunk Elite employs full time staff and we designed the infrastructure needed to take the sport to where it belongs. This is what we do all day, every day.”
Relevance and media
“Dunk Elite is regularly featured in some of the biggest and most iconic media – ESPN, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and GQ Magazine to name just a few. The team’s been greeted by Mayors of the cities we go to and we’ve even met and shook hands with the Latvian President – it doesn’t get much bigger than this.”
“On the basketball level I recently spoke to the legend George “The Iceman” Gervin in Toronto (who participated in the 1st ever dunk contest in 1976) and Carmelo Anthony – both were extremely supportive of our idea. That’s a 40 year difference in basketball generations we’re talking about! However, our audience ranges from 6 and 7 year olds to senior citizens so I’m not surprised.
We give career opportunities to some of the most talented athletes in the world who didn’t quite make it to the big leagues, helping one of the biggest problems in professional sports today – what else do we need to do to prove that we’re a worldwide discipline?”
“NBA players use dunks we invent – our discussion on Aaron Gordon using Justin Darlington dunk from two years reached 2 million people on our Facebook page alone. Let’s clarify, this is not the newest, hottest, never-seen-before dunk video we’re talking about here – this is just a discussion on who and when invented it. It’s time for the sport to get the recognition it deserves and we’re bringing all we’ve got to make sure it does.”
“Today, every time Jordan Kilganon puts something up on Instagram it makes you think if it’s going to break the internet before you even get the chance to press play. We understand the value in bringing this to the masses and we’re already talking to TV stations and online broadcasters to decide on the best way to bring the platform up digitally.”
The Dunk Elite mind-set and energy already spreads into all areas of basketball. For example, London’s Midnight Madness (www.midnight-madness.com), the X Factor-like nationwide talent-search tour, is adopting our competition rules this year. “We’re responsible for some of the most iconic dunk contests in history and have been with Dunk Elite since day one” – said Nhamo Shire, Midnight Madness’ founder – “This year we’re also stepping our dunk game up with qualifiers culminating with an opportunity to go against the Dunk Elite guys during our finals night in August”.
Rules and definitions
The most significant step comes in the form of codification and commodification of the sport. The unquestionably complex process involved consultations with athletes, people who have been around the world coupled with studying existing sports.
“We made sure we get the foundation right first. The competition will follow the widely known 3-round elimination system, and each athlete scoring up to 50 points on each dunk to keep it simple and familiar. Some of the additions to the scoring system specifically include, introducing the ‘9.5’ grading and defining terms like ‘prohibited equipment’ and ‘attempt’ to name just a couple.”
An independent panel of judges will be appointed from a pool of people associated to the sport. These selected judges will have regular access to material, solely comprised of facts and examples from past contests.
“We will not interrupt the process in any way – it will be completely up to the judges to educate themselves. Also, athletes will be briefed on everything from WADA competition guidelines to appeals procedures.” – Piechowski adds.
Athlete attributes as well as further definitions of dunks will also be revealed in the lead up to the first event.
Sweden’s Gothenburg Basketball Festival will play host to the first Dunk Elite Live event on the 6th of May before moving onto London and Toronto (exact dates to be announced).
“We already put on a show there last year when Jordan jumped over a car and Lipek over two people… on top of each other – needless to say it didn’t take us long to shake hands on this year’s event” – Simon concludes.
Coupled with Jordan Kilganon’s appearance in the NBA All Star Game and TNT’s upcoming TV series “Dunk King”, 2016 will forever be engraved as one the most significant years in professional dunking’s history.
About Dunk Elite
Often referred to as the “modern Harlem Globetrotters”, Dunk Elite brings together only the best dunkers from around the world inspired by the love to dunk and collectively carving a new urban sport loved by millions around the world.
Our athletes regularly work with leading brands including NBA, FIBA, Nike, ESPN and JBL as well as athletes like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler to name just a few.
For further information, media as well as business enquiries or to express interest in hosting Dunk Elite Live please email email@example.com
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