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Obscure Dunker

Slam contests highlighted Stansbury's brief NBA career

February 16, 2004|J.A. Adande | Times Staff Writer

In some ways he thinks his career was a casualty of the athleticism that made him a star in the dunk contest. He relied on it too much instead of using his mind. He got caught up in trying to please the fans, who wanted him to duplicate his dunk contest moves in the game.

"I got to the NBA because I was a consistent player playing tough defense, not throwing the ball away," Stansbury says. "Playing in the NBA, everybody behind the bench wants you to dunk. That's not how I got there. I didn't get to the NBA because I could jump."

Stansbury played in the Continental Basketball Assn. for a few weeks. Then he went to Europe, where played in Holland and then France for most of the last 10 years, right until 2003. He accepted an offer to coach the BC Jyvaskylan team in Finland this season.

Stansbury doesn't look back at his career with regrets. He's the type of guy who can be grateful that the temperature in Finland on this day is 23 degrees, instead of the predicted minus-4.

And he doesn't even mind that he never won the dunk contest.

"On the list ... if you look at the perfect scores ... I'm there," Stansbury says. "Every year around this time, someone like yourself, they remember the creativity and the athleticism and of course the unique dunk.

"I guess I'm forever there with the dunk contest with the Statue of Liberty 360. That's just as good as winning it for me."

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