ESPN.com experts on Parker's dunk
Tennessee freshman Candace Parker made history Sunday, becoming the first woman to dunk in the NCAA Tournament and just the fourth woman to dunk in a game. Parker finished a fast break with a one-handed jam just more than six minutes into the Lady Vols' first-round game against 15th-seeded Army. Here's what the experts are saying about it.:
I've always been a fan of the dunk and if you can do it, why not? It doesn't bother me. It's a high-percentage shot, so why not do it? I would bet that 90 percent of women's basketball fans don't think it makes the game any better, but they still enjoy it. That makes it a win-win, and I think it's cool that Candace Parker dunked.
The best part might be that it's something she does within the context of her game. It's not a gimmick. Anyone who has a problem with Parker dunking is the grinch that stole March Madness. It shows off her athleticism, and that's what we love about sports.
The neat thing about Candace Parker is that she has had the ability to dunk -- and has wanted to do so in a game -- all year, but never forced it. And that's why she looked so natural when she went up for her one-handed dunk Sunday. It truly looked second nature to Parker, and that's the most amazing part of it. She had Army's Margaree King right on her heels, but the defense didn't even faze Parker. It just came natural. There was no calculating or making sure her steps were right.
The one-handed jam was really a beautiful dunk, completely demonstrative of all the flair and style in Parker's game. She didn't just dunk. She palmed the ball on the run and elevated.
The dunk in women's basketball has long been a spectacle that means more to people who don't follow the game than those who do. The women's game isn't played above the rim, and the few instances of a player dunking were at best aberrations, and at worst, contrived sideshows.
But Parker's dunk was different. She dunked in the flow of the action, with a defender in close proximity, and with the outcome of an NCAA Tournament game still very much in doubt.
Parker's dunk is important not because she got her hand above the rim and scored two points by pushing the ball through the hoop, but because it highlights the player at the forefront of an athletic revolution in women's basketball. Just as the physical training and conditioning that once made Tiger Woods stand alone in the world of pro golf are now par for the course, Parker's unique brand of athleticism is a sign of things to come in women's basketball.
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