The dunk contest takes center stage at Gus Macker


JACKSON — As 205 teams kicked off the Gus Macker 3-on-3 tournament Saturday in downtown Jackson, one of the events that took center stage was the slam dunk competition.

Jackson native Jelani Thurman won the slam dunk title, winning the whole thing with a two-handed 360 dunk, finishing in style by hanging off the edge.

“I just had to put something in there so I could get a score,” he said.

The contest pitted him against 10 other dunkers with five exiting the first round and three more eliminated in the second round.

His victory in the final was won by Battle Creek native Giorgio West.

” It was hard. All the while, I could see what he was trying to squeeze out,” Thurman said. “I just had to do a 360 too.”

West’s path to the final saw him do a windmill and a 360 before pulling an alley-oop for himself, missing on the first attempt when he tried to finish with the windmill, but connecting on the next attempt by going backwards.

“I was just trying to show off my athletic ability,” he said. “I like to dunk a lot. I’m not the fanciest. I just like throwing it hard.

Thurman missed his opening round dunk, a windmill, but threw it on the second attempt. He slammed a backhand in the second round.

“It’s great to put it in front of all my friends, to have my family here, so we had to put it on,” Thurman said.

West pulled through without having much of a game plan.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. “It was literally just random dunks.”

Saturday’s slate at Gus Macker also included a mascot game and several Lightning games.

Gus Macker will play at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Jackson St. will end on Sunday.

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