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Jonathon Simmons’ Monster Dunk Over Meyers Leonard

Jonathon Simmons may have slammed down the best dunk of the year at the end of game number 81, and he ended the life of Meyers Leonard in the process.

With 1:35 left in the game, Simmons took a handoff from David Lee and got a head of steam dribbling to the paint. At the free throw line, he picked up the ball and charged toward the open rim. Meyers Leonard, who is 7’1″ and very pretty, thought it would be a good idea to rotate over and try to stop the Juice. It was the last thing he ever did.

What happened next was beautiful and horrifying, impossible to comprehend and even harder to describe. I challenge you to rationally explain what is happening in this photo and how it ends in a dunk. It can’t be done.

Simmons took his two steps and jumped. No, he didn’t jump; he leapt. No, he didn’t leap; he launched. Yes, he launched, completely indistinguishable from a rocket or missile in that moment. Leonard made the fatal mistake of merely jumping between a flying man and the rim that he launched himself into the air to destroy.

Juice cocked the ball back behind his head as he soared toward his target. He flew face-first into Leonard’s elbow, but that altered his trajectory only slightly. Portland’s missile defense systems proved insufficient on this strike.

Simmons dunked with the force of Tomahawk missiles, liquefying Leonard’s internal organs in the process. “THAT WAS TERRIBLE,” exclaimed Sean Elliot. He had just witnessed a murder, or at the very least a manslaughter. It’s unclear whether Leonard was the intended target or just collateral damage, but one thing is for sure: Jonathon Simmons killed Meyers Leonard.

The men, women and children in the Portland crowd whispered to each other, “Oh my goodness, that bad man just killed our sweet Meyers Leonard to death right in front of us.” The Spurs players danced around Leonard’s corpse as 20,000 terrified witnesses fled the scene and called emergency services.

Danny Green sprung off the bench, thrust his hand to the sky and yelled out as if he had felt the presence of God in that moment. Manu Ginobili stood up and began throwing punches. Kawhi Leonard, who had gone into sleep mode with his head resting on his hand, immediately executed a stand-and-clap function. Pau Gasol was in between the two, and his attempt to hold his teammates back was halfhearted and a step slow, much like his isolation defense.

Odell Beckham had been sitting next to the Spurs bench, but he left before The Dunk. I like to think that had he been there, he would have jumped onto the scorer’s table and screamed at the crowd before fake-proposing to Simmons.

A tense scene played out in Portland’s video operations room.

Boss: *lowers glasses “Oh… my… God…”

Johnson: *throws up

Boss: “Johnson, we need to get that video up on the board”

Johnson: “With all due respect sir, are you nuts? That guy just KILLED Meyers Leonard. We can’t show that.”

Boss: “Damn it Johnson, do you think I want to do this? Do you think I’m happy my friend Meyers is dead? I’m mad as hell. But that was so amazing that we can’t not show it. Real recognize real, that was dope. Do it.”

Johnson: *gulps and hits the button.

Everyone in the arena stared up at the Jumbotron for a second look at the carnage they just witnessed. Parents covered their children’s eyes but couldn’t look away themselves. Kawhi Leonard simply shook his head.

Where was Simmons in the aftermath? Standing menacingly over his slain victim? Flexing on the crowd, or mobbing with his team? No. He was walking away quietly with a facial expression that said, “that was ok.” Perhaps he knows that nothing is more badass than doing something unbelievably cool and then walking away like it’s no big deal.


RIP Meyers Leonard, 2/27/92 – 4/10/17. Please send flowers to the Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct St, Portland, OR 97227.

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