From Stars to Spectators


From Stars to Spectators

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30


Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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It's a rare occurrence to witness NBA players with their jaws to the ground in awe of another spectacular athlete.

On Tuesday afternoon at the Life Time Fitness Training Center, a 5-9 unassuming but confident 24-year old waltzed in front of the Minnesota players and began an impromptu dunk showcase that quickly garnered the attention from the Wolves crew. Launching over 7-foot center Kosta Koufos for a one-handed crushing jam and several highlight reel dunks that would make Spud Webb shake his head were all a part of the show. Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington, and even Michael Beasley shared props for the sky walker.

"I mean that's crazy. This kid has got bounce," Beasley observed.

Terry Cournoyea, also known as "T-Dub" paid a special visit to the practice facility inside the Target Center to display his spectacular 53-inch vertical as he prepares for the second annual Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown at the Los Angeles Convention Center this Friday night. T-Dub earned the unique opportunity after fans voted for him along with three other finalists from a field of 10 semifinalists around the country. Sprite held eight tour stops in 2010 to determine the best amateur dunker in eight major markets, including Minnesota.

"It's a wonderful experience, I'm happy to be a part of it," T-Dub explained. "I'm happy to be a part of anything that can get me recognition for what I'm doing."

The former high school baller out of St. Paul Johnson passed on college basketball to help his family financially; however six years later, T-Dub can see $10,000 at the end of a slam dunk rainbow. On Friday night at 8:30 p.m. central, the four high-flyers will compete in front of a live crowd at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas. Fans outside of the LA area can watch the aerial assaults on the live stream on NBA.com or the NBA TV replay at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Friday night's Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown will feature the back-to-back MVP LeBron James on the sidelines as one of the judges next to the legendary rim rattler Darryl Dawkins. T-Dub showed no nervous signs when demonstrating his ability in front of the Wolves and he hopes to carry the same type of swagger onto the main stage.

"The competition is basically the same type of people I have seen over the years doing street ball games and dunk contests. There is one guy that I have not faced before but I'm pretty sure he won't be a problem just like the rest," T-Dub stated.

For T-dub, the next step is to emulate some of his dunk heroes, Dr. J and Dominique Wilkins while pocketing 10K off his gift from the basketball gods. How can he accomplish this goal?

"You know if I have to pull it out, you will see that 720 with two hands or maybe something even more outlandish," T-Dub predicted.

Most fans are feeling heavy anticipation to see Blake Griffin and the NBA dunkers square off during All-Star Saturday Night. True dunk enthusiasts should not miss must-see action featuring a local flavor with T-Dub attempting to represent St. Paul, MIN in dramatic fashion.
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