slam-dunking (was Re: "They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat." & "Facts are stubborn things")

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Dec 15 21:14:08 UTC 2004

On Wed, 15 Dec 2004 07:32:30 EST, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

>I did some basketball slang before. We're all waiting for the Los Angeles
>Times to get to "slam dunk" and "point guard" by about 1970.

Or even earlier for "slam-dunk(ing)".  I found it surprising that
N-archive had a cite for "slam-dunking" so early on:

   (Van Nuys, California) Valley News, Dec 28, 1969, p. 17 [?]
   There appeared to be a discernible discrepancy in the box score
   accompanying his article on a slam-dunking tournament somewhere
   out in the boondocks of Pasadena.

The author, Bernie Milligan, is referring to an article by another sports
writer for the Valley News, Gary Lutz.  Unfortunately I can't find an
earlier article by Lutz referring to a "slam-dunking tournament".  The
context is high-school basketball, oddly enough, where presumably there
wasn't a lot of slam-dunking going on in 1969.  Perhaps Milligan was being

-- Ben Zimmer

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