Juan Toscano-Anderson made Dub Nation proud in 2022 dunk contest
JTA was throwin' it down for the Town.
That’s what was going through my mind when Juan Toscano-Anderson took the stage last night at the Slam Dunk competition on All-Star weekend in Cleveland.
This is the contest that historically has done so much to add to the ambiguous, ethereal concept known as LEGACY. It has cemented the cultural cache of so many players, from game defining icons like “Dr. J” Julius Erving and Michael Jordan, and beloved All-Stars like Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter. No highlight tape of these guys would be complete without a reel of the ridiculous dunks they unleashed during the dunk contest.
It’s also a window of opportunity for legacy building for the non-superstars in the league. I’m talking about the guys who have never been invited to play in the prestiged All-Star game on Sunday, but still have the bravery and creativity to make their mark on the game. Guys like the 5-foot-7 Spud Webb proving you don’t have to be a giant to rock the rim, or Dee Brown blinding himself in mid-air as he took flight. These aerial gladiators will never be forgotten, even though they never won a title or racked up pro accolades.
When Jason Richardson won back-to-back dunk titles in the early-2000s as a Warrior, it was like Christmas Day for longsuffering Golden State fans who were praying their team would be relevant. J-Rich’s explosive performances gave Dub Nation something to be proud of during seasons of soul crushing losing. He inspired us. He helped us keep the faith that there was something good coming outta Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ old home in Oakland.
In the Splash Bros-era, the Warriors have built a championship dynasty and received enough clout for a lifetime of fandom. This fanbase is no longer desperately starved for validation and attention (well at least not the sane ones lol). We’ve got a trophy closet stuffed full with hella awards, you name it: Larry O’Brien, MVPs, All-Stars, 3PT Shootouts. No one is shocked that the Warriors will be well represented at the All-Star game; hell, they even got Andrew Wiggins in there now!
But the Dubs hadn’t been a factor in the recent dunk contests, aka the crown jewel of All-Star weekend.
Enter Juan Toscano-Anderson, a son of Oakland who as a boy watched J-Rich put on those theatrics two decades ago.
He worked his way out of the Mexican league and signed with Golden State, where he now plays for his hometown team and is an integral reserve player in their current title chase.
Last night he stepped onto the big stage to rep his squad, his city, and his family in front of the world. Here’s a stream of scrapbook moments from his performance. All eyes were on him, even the eyes of an MVP.
JTA made it all the way to the finals of the contest against Obi Toppin but fell short paying homage to a J-Rich slam, which I can’t even be mad at. If you’re gonna lose, do it trying to do an insane dunk that only elevates how amazing it was when it originally happened.
He may not have won the contest, but he’s winning in life, and we share that victory with him in Dub Nation. OAKLAND STAND UP!