IF PERFORMING Michael Jordan’s famous flying dunk is not enough, basketball player Stephan Wan has more tricks up his sleeve.
It was his perfectly executed self alley-oop dunk that won the StarMetro Slam Dunk competition during the first leg of the AND1 Streetball Challenge at IOI Mall, Puchong.
The confidence shown by the 17-year-old Raub-born youngster was well reflected in his performance as it was completed nicely without hesitation.
“I knew I was going to win the competition but other players showed some really good dunks.
“There is a basketball hoop in my house and I practise often,” he said.
Playing for the Los Angelos (LA) Lakers Big Three, it is not difficult to guess that Wan is a big fan of the NBA team.
“I am a big fan of Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers.
“Sometimes, I do freestyle basketball too,” he said.
Wan was among 15 participants who took part in the Slam Dunk competition. The other winner of the contest was Mun Tze Qian, 15, who plays for Secret 15 B.
The slam dunk competition was one of the side show events that added to the thrill of the annual AND1 basketball challenge.
Others competitions included Best Shooter competition as well as the Streetballer competition, where participants were awarded marks according to several criteria, such as dribbling, juggling, originality, creativity and finishing.
Kedahan Mohammad Aizzat Iskandar, 19, who was one of the winners of the Streetballer competition, said he sought inspiration from YouTube to diversify his freestyle basketball moves.
“I learnt some of the dribbling skills online such as the Ankle Breaker as well as Shammgod crossover moves, which I have also performed at the Streetball competition.
“The skills allow me to fool other opponents on the court.
“I just tried my best during the Streetball competition and I am glad I won the competition,” he said.
Winners of each leg of the Streetball competition will battle it out at the In Search of Streetballer grand final.
For the AND1 streetball challenge, the five categories for the 3 on 3 this year are: Boys Under-12, Boys Under-15, Boys Under-18, Girls Under-18 and Men’s Under-21.
AND1 organiser W.O.S. World of Sport executive director Saw Swee Leong said 313 teams took part in the three-on-three Streetball Challenge.
“It comes up to more than 900 participants in total.
“This year is the 12th edition of the AND1 Streetball Challenge and it has always been a platform for youngsters to hone their basketball skills.
“Playing for seven minutes per game definitely ups the adrenaline and challenge when players have to deliver the points.
“Although the game is slightly different from mainstream basketball, the streetball version manages to attract a lot of interest especially among youths,” he said.
The following legs will be in Penang Times Square, Penang in August, Sutera Mall, Johor in September and the grand final in Kuala Lumpur, in November.
For the grand finals, the top three freestylists from each leg will be invited to battle for the AND1 streetballer title, which will come with a RM3,000 contract along with merchandise.
StarMetro is the official media partner of the tournament, Milo is the official beverage sponsor and Spalding is the official ball partner.
For details on the competition, rules and regulations, visit www.and1malaysia.blogspot.com or AND1 Malaysia’s Facebook page.