Gianmarco Tamberi slams put-back dunk at celebrity game


The usual demographics of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game are well-known at this point: NBA stars of the past, WNBA stars of the more recent past, rappers, singers, TV stars, comedians, U.S. secretaries of education.

Until Friday, however, there had never been a world champion high-jumper.

Gianmarco Tamberi, who won gold in the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics, remedied that, and it didn’t take long for him to show the world what it was missing. Incredible put-back dunks.

In addition to gold in Tokyo, the 29-year-old Tamberi has also won the 2016 World Indoor Championship, the 2016 European Championship, the 2019 European Indoor Championship and the 2021 Diamond League title in high jump. Simply put, he is very good at jumping, with a personal best of 2.39 meters (which comes out to 7.84 feet or 94.1 inches).

That’s obviously not the same as the vertical jump through which NBA player’s hops are measured, but it’s worth wondering how the 6-foot-3 Tamberi would compare to, say, Portland Trail Blazers rookie Keon Johnson, who set the NBA draft combine record for the vertical jump with 48 inches last summer.

Now, we’re not saying the celebrity game should not be allowed to go on if there’s no high jumper on either roster, we just think that’s a call the NBA should prioritize while setting everything up. We just want dunks.

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Feb 18, 2022; Cleveland, OH, USA;  Gianmarco Tamberi, Italian high jump Olympic champion, of Team Nique celebrates after a dunk during the first half of the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at the Wolstein Center. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Thr NBA needs more celebrity game players like Gianmarco Tamberi. (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)



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