Monday, June 28, 2010

Urban Jam

I got handed this flyer for the Urban Jam by a shy teenage girl who was part of a long line of the kinds of kids you don't see as much in Jeanne-Mance park. They were from the habitations Jeanne-Mance, a project with lots of immigrants in the no-man's land between the Quartier Latin and the Quartier des spectacles:

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I like basketball and the playoffs had just ended. Plus, I've seen some of the homegrown hip-hop here in Montreal when I volunteered at the Parc Ex community centre and was hoping for some good DJ action. So the following weekend, I went down to check it out and I wasn't disappointed.

Great sound system, lots of joyous chaos and what looked like some promising basketball. I brought a friend down with me on Sunday and we checked out the slam dunk competition and the final game. We left feeling that it was a fun and positive experience, that seemed to do good for the community it served.

The slam dunk competition was actually surprisingly good. I was expecting to be entertained by a lot of hype and general enthusiasm, the only thing left in the NBA dunk competitions, so I was quite blown away to see several extremely impressive dunks. There was some flubbing as well, but there were several classic difficult dunks (like combos of between the legs and spins), solidly executed and a few truly creative and explosive.

Check out my action sports photography:

The guy who won first placed the ball on the ground, ran up to it, did a cartwheel on the ball and slammed it home on the way up. Then he did that while putting the ball between his legs. Both were executed perfectly and require some serious ups, because you basically are jumping from a standstill. But for his last dunk, he really combined both ups, power and creativity. He had the tallest player in the final upcoming game ("Le Géante! Le Géante!" the announcers kept screaming) hold the basketball over his head in one hand. The dude sprinted up, jumped right over his head, snatched the ball and slammed it home. The place went nuts. One dude threw a chair and everybody ran on to the court swarming him. The guy I came with said "what just happened there?"

Here's the dude who won, Jusfly:

Check out the whole contest here, definitely worth watching and some nice chunky beats.

You know, those are some America-class dunks there. We've got a high-quality hip-hop culture hidden away here in Montreal.

The final game followed the dunk contest. As a game, it was okay. There were some nice plays and good athleticism. As a show, it was top notch. Check out the coaches of the Diamond Ballerz.

They were wearing 100% Polo from their hats to their socks. Their team uniform was in black. The opposing team, Les Broyeurs (the crushers), wore white and their coaches were in black, though not quite as full effect as these two:

The Diamond Ballerz won. The game was short, only two halves of 12 minutes each. The sun was setting gently on a beautiful summer day as the game went on.

We closed with a performance by Bad News Brown, who played a pretty strenuous and aggressive harmonica over beats. It was actually quite cool and I'm bummed I didn't get one of the CD's he threw into the crowd. Too bad his site is a flash monstrosity.

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