We have actually heard that a million times. So and so can "make change" off the optimal of the backboard. Yet have you ever seen that done? Is the really even possible? i remember earlier in last year"s dunk contest, lot was made of the reality that Dwight Howard slapped a sticker 12-and-a-half feet increase in the wait while dunking. He"s enormous, long, and jumps around as high as anyone.

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And if it"s a huge deal to him that he had the ability to reach a street well short of the optimal of the backboard, i wonder if anyone ever before really has.

Todd Gallagher wrote the extremely entertaining book "Andy Roddick win Me through a Frying Pan" that endeavors come answer the inquiries that burn in the souls the fans, like: space dart professionals great beer pong players, do athletes really play high, and also could Andy Roddick win an mean tennis player playing v a frying pan?

Gallagher and also his publishers at 3 Rivers Press have nicely agreed to let TrueHoop blee a whole chapter that that publication that is hell-bent ~ above addressing the question "can basketball players really "make change" off the height of the backboard?" Super-dunker James White was enlisted to help answer the question.

Gallagher writes:

Earl "The Goat" Manigault is widely regarded as one of the biggest playground basketball football player of all time. Return he never ever played in the NBA and also only briefly played in college, the legend that Manigault has actually spread much and large and caused his play gift glorified in magazines, books, and even a movie certification Don Cheadle referred to as Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault. There room a variety of tales regarding Manigault"s prowess, but the central story that pushed his legend was the he had such particularly leaping ability he can pull disagreement bills turn off the peak of the backboard and leave change. What made this even more amazing was the Manigault was, depending upon who you speak to, somewhere between 5-11 and also 6-1. Given that the height of the backboard is in ~ thirteen feet and the typical six-foot-tall man have the right to only touch around eight feet high stand flat-footed, Manigault would certainly have had actually to jump at the very least sixty inches to even come close. That would typical the Goat"s "making change" to be a feat on par through Michael Jordan"s game-winning dunk from fifty percent court in the film room Jam. In other words, pure fiction.

The legend of touching the peak of the backboard has gone on for years, and it has actually been excitedly attributed come so numerous different players the it"s commonly assumed any variety of guys in the NBA can do it. However in a sports where any type of individual achievement is promoted advertisement nauseam, we"ve never ever seen any proof of it in reality being done.

I visited the epicenter of basketball talent (no, not Greece) to speak to the U.S. National team. Certainly, if it might be done, one of America"s basketball stars would be able to do it.

While Coach Mike Krzyzewski had actually the players practicing cheers to boost team spirit rather of learning just how to beat a ar defense or defend a pick and also roll, ns asked then-general manager that the Denver Nuggets Kiki Vandeweghe, a previous all-star, even if it is he"d ever seen anyone with the mountaintop.

"No, I"ve never seen it. That"s a long means up there. Ns don"t think it have the right to be done."

What about Kiki"s previous teammate David Thompson? maybe the 6-4 guard with what civilization claimed was a 44-inch vertical could grab a 4 minutes 1 off the top of the backboard.

Kiki shook his head solemnly.

"You hear a many stories." that looked up at the peak of the backboard. "No, ns don"t think he might do that."

When Coach K was finally done passing out Amex applications, ns talked come Amare Stoudamire, who is 6-10 and was among the best leapers in the NBA before a major knee injury.

"I"ve never touched the height of the backboard and I"ve never seen the done," the said. "Myself, I come close, possibly three or four inches from the top. If you"re lookin" for a male who deserve to do it, speak to LeBron James."

So turn off to LeBron i went. As soon as asked, that shook his head no together well.

"Everyone states I can, however I can"t carry out it. I"ve tried. Ns can acquire up for sure yet that"s a lengthy way. Dwight"s the only guy in the world who might do something choose that, girlfriend gotta talk to him."

"Dwight" was Dwight Howard, the very first pick in the 2004 draft, that stands 6-11 and is an pure physical freak. Do a search online and you"ll check out extensive video of Dwight"s leaping exploits. His team, the Orlando Magic, has recorded some of his more amazing stunts, most famously that literally kissing the rim. In the 2007 Slam Dunk contest, that dunked a round while slapping a sticker shockingly high on the backboard.

Hornets point guard chris Paul called me, "I think Dwight can. I asked him prior to practice today and he stated he can however I"ve never ever seen him do it."

I asked kris if he could get Dwight come try.

"I don"t know. Relies on just how he feels. I desire to check out it, too."

Have you ever seen anyone do it?

"Uh uh."

So that"s full crap when human being say Earl Manigault can do it, since he was favor 6 feet tall?

"I think it, though. Girlfriend ain"t never ever seen the movie Rebound?"

You median the one with Don Cheadle?


You recognize that"s no a documentary, right?

When Chris and also I approached Dwight and asked him, that beamed ear to ear.

"I can. I"ve never ever heard that anyone rather that have the right to do it yet I can acquire up there. I did it in high school when I was seventeen for the an initial time. Now, ns can"t seize stuff off of it however I can acquire up there."

When us asked to view it, Dwight politely begged off however said he"d perform it for me later. The told me to collection it up through the Magic. So, a mainly later, I referred to as the team and they said my pilgrimage would it is in unnecessary; they had all kinds of an excellent video through Howard leaping, including Dwight emotional the height of the backboard. For the an initial time in the history of basketball we were walking to have actually documentation.

Well, the footage ended up being bunk. ~ above the video clip Dwight finished up poignant somewhere just north the the square top top the backboard a couple of times. Since Howard seemed like a nice guy and I want to take him in ~ his word, i asked the Magic"s VP of communications, Joel Glass, once we can coordinate the jump per the initial plans Dwight and I discussed. Joel proclaimed that no issue what Dwight called me, he would certainly not be allowed to jump, citing injury concerns.

I stated that jumping in the wait one time would be less dangerous than most of the points Dwight walk in a usual NBA game and I added that I had actually never heard the anyone, ever, in the background of basketball acquiring hurt this way. Therefore Joel started providing a range of other reasons, all bordering top top the insane.

Next ns contacted Dwight"s agency, Goodwin Sports, to let them understand that I would be willing to spend my very own time and also money having someone concerned Orlando to record the leap. They said that that sounded good and the they"d inspect with Dwight and get ago to me. The official solution came from mary Ford, Howard"s publicist in ~ Goodwin, who claimed he might do it but it was as well time consuming. When I defined that it would certainly literally it is in one jump after practice, the complete time that which would be somewhere in the ar of ten seconds, the agency took two weeks come say no. And also this time she hedged. "Well, he deserve to do it but he can"t constantly do it."

You have the right to look at this a couple of various ways:

1. Dwight can"t touch the optimal of the backboard and the Magic and also his firm were covering for him. Alarm bells walk off since they have footage of various kinds that leaping stunts but not the most-talked-about one in basketball history. Double in the 2007 season Dwight tried come impress with his leaping ability, as soon as at the Slam Dunk contest and also again when his teammates doubted he can still with a item of tape high top top the backboard that he had actually touched as soon as he was a rookie. However, both the sticker and the item of tape were 12-6 high, i m sorry left the a complete six inches short of our milestone. Incorporate this with him no trying come touch the top as soon as the football player of the U.S. Nationwide team asked, every the various excuses his company and company gave, and also the in history murky nature of the claims, and also there are certainly doubts.2. Dwight really can touch the peak of the backboard however the people surrounding him space awful.

It"s a challenging call. Dwight is astounding athletically and also by all accounts is a nice and honest guy, however pro athletes, even ones through the finest intentions, space notoriously bad around overestimating their very own abilities. It"s an extremely easy for someone to think they"re touching the top as soon as really they"re 4 or 5 customs below. After year of bulls---, I essential proof.

My next lead was Shawn Marion, who was rumored to have the ability to pull it off. A call to the Suns led to some interior research followed by them telling me that "used" to have the ability to do it. The team might produce no documentation, though, and no one who can even vouch because that the claim.

But however but ... There to be hope! and the hope remained in the person of James "Flight" White, a

6-7 string p rookie because that the san Antonio Spurs. (TrueHoop note: now White"s play for Fenerbache in Turkey.)

Dunking, in a way, is an art (in the same method that Boone"s farm is a wine, however I digress), and in the respect it"s often a matter of taste and preference regarding who the "best" is. But while at the college of Cincinnati, White carry out a selection of dunks so improbable that they had never to be attempted in competition, let alone completed, prior to he flushed them down. To provide an idea of White"s leaping ability, it to be mind-blowing when Dr. J took off from the foul line and also dunked in 1976; it was jaw dropping the means Michael Jordan took turn off from the foul line and dunked in 1987; yet in 2001 James White took off from the foul line and dunked while putting the ball in between his legs!

There is nobody -- and also I stress, nobody -- in the history of professional basketball who can also come close come doing this. Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dr. J, Kenny "Sky" Walker, Dee Brown, Spud Webb, Terence Stansbury, Dominique Wilkins, the entire actors of Slamball -- no one of these guys can pull turn off this dunk. Isaiah driver won a dunk contest in 1994 just by virtue the the reality that he might go in between his legs and dunk at all, and as mentioned, Jordan and also Dr. J won dunk contests by gift able come dunk native the foul line. It"s questionable whether David Thompson or Earl Manigault could do either. James White combined the two.

So as soon as I came across an interview native the Indianapolis Star through White the read:

Q: can you touch the top of the backboard?A: Yeah.

I automatically called his agent, invoice McCandless, to collection up something.

Bill had his concerns, however was intrigued.

"That"s yes, really the biggest old wives" tale out there. If you"re roughly basketball, you prosper up hearing every the time around guys being able to carry out that and it"s constantly nonsense.

"I"ll tell girlfriend this, though, James does not bulls--- about this kind of stuff. I don"t know if you"re conscious of this yet he had thought around becoming a decathlete. The guy has Olympic leaping ability. Jumping off of one leg, he"s prefer no other."

McCandless stated that also without cultivate White qualified because that the Olympic trials in the high jump by leaping 7-4 and also the lengthy jump through a distance of 25-7.

This sound promising. He dubbed James and also quickly got ago to me.

"James said he"s for certain done it. Now, he can only have the ability to do the one out of one hundreds times, yet he said he"d offer it a shooting if you desire to send a camera crew."

White arrived at the court in ~ the college of Cincinnati ready to fly, but an initial he wanted to clear up something around his top-of-the-backboard exploits.

"I"ve never actually done it, per se. But doing the vertical test at the college of Cincinnati, I"ve touched as high together the optimal of the backboard."

How fitting because that this topic. Thinking back to his "Yeah" solution to the Indianapolis Star interviewer, I started to wonder even if it is NBA players saying they"ve touched the height of the backboard was like youngsters in small high saying they"ve "gone all the way."

But James wanted to present his stuff. Since he jumps off of one foot, we put a yardstick off of the next of the optimal of the backboard. Not specifically the exact same thing as touching the peak of the backboard, but one action at a time. If that couldn"t get the yardstick, then there"d it is in no factor to go further.

There was no factor to go further.

James to be close. Damn close. But his ideal jump left him much more than 2 inches from the yardstick.

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Okay, probably I to be being cynical when I stated there was no reason to go further. There had been rumors of a "busted nut" (is that part of the knee or something?) the took place an hour prior to the jump, slow James down, therefore a month later we make the efforts again, this time after practice with the spurs in san Antonio.