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BARRY WRITES HIS OWN SCRIPT\This white man shows he can jump.

Byline: Marc Stein Daily News Staff Writer

Hollywood would have rejected this script. According to movie makers, Brent Barry had no chance.

Everybody knows: White Men Can't Jump.

"See this," Barry replied, pointing to his shiny winner's trophy.

In a result that stunned the film world and many of his NBA peers watching Saturday night at the Alamodome, the Clippers' rookie guard won the league's annual slam-dunk contest with two successful takeoffs from the free-throw line.

He is the first Caucasian champion in the event's 13-year history.

"Really, that's kind of a touchy subject," said Barry, whose triumph capped a memorable evening that also saw him total eight points, four assists and five steals in the Rookie Game.

"I was going to wear a T-shirt, print one up that said 'White Men Can Jump,' but I didn't want to burst anyone's bubble."

He settled for making dunk history, as the first-ever Clipper in the competition and just the third man, joining Julius Erving and Michael Jordan, to start his lift from the line and stuff the ball through.

"It's not easy to do, fly 15 feet," he quipped.

Barry achieved it - twice - with his sweat jacket on throughout and without the music to which he choreographed his routine. Under the impression he could supply his own tape, Barry was told upon arrival that, in fact, he wouldn't be allowed to dunk to his own drummer.

So he adjusted, literally in midair. He assured passage to the finals with the highest first-round score (45.5 out of a possible 50), then repeated the flight on the final dunk of the night.

The last round actually started with misses from Barry and fellow finalists Michael Finley of Phoenix and Boston's Greg Minor. On their second turns, Minor scored a 40.8 and Finley registered a 46.2 to set up Barry's dramatic response.

After playing to the crowd, bringing the 36,037 present to their feet, Barry planted his left foot at the stripe and rocked the rim again, earning a $20,000 prize and the respect of dunkers everywhere.

"I think so," Barry said of whether he surprised people. "I don't think anyone at the office pool put their money on me."

Finley said: "There's only a few people you can name on one hand that tried that and made that. So I tip my hat off to him."

Barry spent the rest of the night entertaining the media with an assortment of one-liners that his legendary coach, Bill Fitch, couldn't have matched.

On the 49 his winning dunk registered: "I think Julius (one of the five judges) was probably the one who stiffed me on that last point. He did it way back when. He would have given himself a 50."

On why he kept his jacket on: "I don't have much of a body, so I've got to stay warm."

On who's the best dunker in the family: "It certainly wasn't my dad (Rick). C'mon."

On Rookie Game teammate Kevin Garnett of Minnesota: "I found it funny that Schick sponsored the game and Kevin can't even shave yet."

The 24-year-old was just as entertaining in that game. He didn't start, and neither did the excitement until Barry entered almost four minutes in.

He promptly scored on a double-clutch reverse layup and found Garnett with a no-look, over-the-head drop pass - while still airborne - for a dunk in the West's 94-92 loss.

"If it was a real game, Brent wouldn't have been in there very long," said West coach Doug Moe, upset that Barry seemed rather attached to the offensive end.

"I would have jumped all over his tail."

Sorry, Doug. This wasn't a night for defense, and, really, no one thinks you can get that high.

Barry, though, intends to take his game to a truly grand plateau. He is leaving town today, bypassing a chance to watch the real All-Stars, but vowed to return to this stage as an All-Star himself in the future.

"I will be here," Barry said. "I will be back for the big one."



Clipper Brent Barry didn't even take his jacket off during the NBA's slam-dunk contest. Associated Press
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 11, 1996
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