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Josh Can Dunk -- And He Can Act A Little

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

January 21, 2011


That's really point of the promotional campaign, "Josh Can't Dunk." The brainchild of a friend of McRoberts' from his days in Portland, Taylor Twist, the campaign hopes to build public support for McRoberts' participation in the NBA Slam-Dunk contest.

The heart of the campaign is an article in Dime Magazine and a Web site (JoshCantDunk.com) featuring a video produced by Twist and friends starring McRoberts and Brandon Rush in a scene that parodies the 1992 movie "White Men Can't Jump."

McRoberts, of course, plays the Woody Harrelson roll (Billy Hoyle), with Rush standing in for Wesley Snipes (Sidney Deane). There is, alas, no Rozie Perez character.

"A few of my friends wanted to do it and did the video," said McRoberts. "Even though it's probably too late to actually get in it, they put so much time and effort into it, it was like, 'Well, we have it, we might was well put it out there for people to see.' "

For both McRoberts and Rush, the video offered the opportunity for personal departure. McRoberts is not a self-promoter and wasn't comfortable with that aspect of the campaign but wanted to support his friends.

"It was like an hour for me to do after practice one day," he said. "For them, they put a lot of time and effort into everything. It's not really my style but I can't let those guys down."

For Rush, one of the quietest and least-quoted players on the team, the chance to be a little more vocal and outgoing was too much to resist.

"I was able to have a lot of fun with it," said Rush. "That's the point of acting, to be out of your element and do stuff like that."

Of course, the ultimate goal of the campaign was to land McRoberts in the dunk contest but that is not to be. The NBA announced the participants (Blake Griffin of the Clippers, Brandon Jennings of Milwaukee, JaVale McGee of Washington and Serge Ibaka of Oklahoma City) shortly before "Josh Can't Dunk" went public.

Though Jennings subsequently was forced to withdraw due to injury, the NBA replaced him with DeMar DeRozan of Toronto.

"It would be a cool experience but at the same time I'm not going to go crazy trying to get in," McRoberts said. "I'm not trying incite anything by having a Web site. It's just something we're having a good time with."

Of course, there might be another byproduct of the video for the co-star.

"Maybe I can get an acting career after basketball," said Rush with a smile. "That's what I'm hoping."