Airport '99

Get Ready For Takeoff as the Rucker Tourney Heads For Its Final

With the place in a frenzy, the locker room doors burst open, and out stormed Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors in a brown and white Black Hand uniform, waving to the crowd, which included rapper Jay-Z, and pleading with the guy at the scorer's table to sound the substitution horn. When Air Canada hit the runway, teaming with a Washington, D.C., phenom known as the Prime Objective, a/k/a Lonnie Harrell, the roof nearly blew off the gymnasium.

After a slow second quarter, Air Canada spread his wings, flying high over the competition in the third frame with an offensive explosion still ringing in the ears of everyone in attendance that night.

With 8 minutes 41 seconds to play in the third, Air Canada scooped up a loose ball in the paint and put down a two-handed jam for his first basket of the evening. A few seconds later, he buried a 3-pointer, NBA range, from the left side. And at the 7:41 mark, he drained another 3-pointer from the same spot, giving him 8 points in one minute— and the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year was just warming up.

With 6:28 left in the third, Air Canada broke into the open court, slipped past one defender with a right-to-left, behind-the-back dribble, whipped a behind-the-back pass to a trailing Prime Objective, pointed north, and as an alley-oop pass came falling out of the sky, turned his body 180 degrees in midair so that he was facing the opposite basket, caught the rock, and threw it down with a force that literally shook the Rucker faithful out onto the floor in celebration.

Shortly after order was restored, Air Canada took off again. With 54 seconds left in the third, he rose to catch another alley-oop pass with his right hand along the left baseline, about five feet from the rim, and, still airborne, slammed windmill-style over the outstretched fingertips of two opponents. It was perhaps the greatest dunk in the history of Rucker.

The crowd poured onto the court again, and the festivities lasted nearly 10 minutes as fans just had to give props to the man with the most devastating jam in the game today. After Air Canada and company ran off the court and out into the night with a 66-64 victory, the Handler smiled.

"I'm telling you, you never know who's going to show up at one of these games," said Stephon Marbury. "Kareem played here and so did Doctor J, and I played here with Allen and now Vince," he added. "Tell Michael Jordan his career is not officially over until he comes up to the Rucker and shows us his game."

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