Net Gains: The Year of the Dunk

The Wall Street Journal, SaturdaySunday, May 23-24, 2015

Net Gains: Year of the Dunk, by Asher Price

Review by Matthew Hutson

“One of the funny things about sports is that, despite their having clearly demarcated rules, we still care about style.  It’s not enough to win or lose: it matters how you do it.  This is why we teach kids sportsmanship.  It’s also why Air Jordans don’t have Michael Jordan’s career statistics branded on the back; they have a silhouette of the man flying through the air, legs spayed wide.

The dunk is one of the flashiest acts in sports, a dominant exploit with visceral impact–it exudes primal power that resonates with the most sedentary of desk jockeys.  And so when Asher Price, an environmental reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, sets out to perform the feat in Year of the Dunk, there’s no need for him to explain himself.  Who wouldn’t want to be like Mike?”

And Asher Price does try; in the book he discusses physiology and psychology in his attempt, but the reviewer leaves us guessing: “What you will learn from watching Mr. Price recruit a menagerie of supporters, however, is that no matter your natural ability, when you set your sights high, people will step in to lift you.”

For more information about the idiom, slam dunk, please go to and search for it to get the definition and usage.


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