Antedating of Safire and OED on "Slam Dunk"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jun 13 04:17:06 UTC 2004

At 10:30 AM -0400 6/12/04, Fred Shapiro wrote:
>On Sat, 12 Jun 2004, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>>  Could "West Unself" be "Wes Unseld" in disguise?
>The original said "West Unseld," actually.  I'm not sure where the "t" in
>"West" came from.
It came via assimilation from the res(t) of the sentence:

1971 _Kennebec Journal_ 14 Jan. 12  West's 20-foot jumper, only his second
field goal of the game, and Alcindor's slam dunk over Baltimore's West Unself
gave the West a 102-101 lead with 3 1 2 minutes to go.
The context appears to have been the annual NBA all-star game between
the West(ern Conference), including Jerry West of the L.A. Lakers and
Lew Alcindor (of the Milwaukee Bucks at the time, later Kareem Abdul
Jabbar of the Lakers), and the East(ern Conference), including Wes
Unseld of the Washington Bullets.   The Kennebec Journal just
assimilated poor Wes Unseld to all those  Wests.


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