KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ishmael Wainwright was in fair condition Friday night with a bruised ego.
Turns out the receiving end of Wayne Selden’s epic thunder dunk that blew up social media Friday night has a name. Wainwright is a mild-mannered Baylor 6-foot-5 junior forward.
To the thousands who were there at the Sprint Center, watched at home or viewed the Vine, Wainwright will always be the victim of one of the most humiliating/inspiring dunks of recent times.
“I’m going to be watching the video,” said Wainwright, a Kansas City product playing in front of friends and family at the Big 12 Tournament. “It was a great play.”
The known universe seemed to collapse in on itself when Selden, Kansas’ junior guard elevated from about nine feet away and threw down midway through the second half of Kansas’ 70-66 win. Wainwright just happened to be in the way, fouling Selden as he went to the basket.
Even worse – for that ego – it was a poster. Wainwright collapsed flat on his back.
Medics weren’t needed. Just some perspective.
“Every defender gets dunked on,” Wainwright said. “Anybody.”
Not quite like this. Selden energized a sleepy, sloppy Big 12 Tournament semifinal. Kansas trailed 23-21 at halftime, was up big in the second half then had to hold on as Baylor rallied to within three in the final seconds.
Selden had three of Kansas’ eight dunks Friday, most of which came on alley-oops. Only one will live on.
“That’s a lot of retweets,” Selden said watching a Vine on a reporter’s phone.
“When I get the rebound I’m trying to attack the rim regardless. I just took off.”
“That’s what those plays do. I just wanted to bring energy to the team.”
Selden’s non-reaction almost added to the hype. Think back to the days when Barry Sanders used to simply hand the official after touchdowns. That was Selden who stood stone-faced on baseline after the dunk as teammates mobbed him and the Sprint Center erupted.
“I don’t really get too hyped anymore,” Selden said. “As a freshman I really let loose. You gotta stay even keel. I knew the game wasn’t over at that point.”
Selden and Wainwright are basketball colleagues having played against each other in AAU and in the Big 12. There was no animosity and barely a mention in the handshake line.
“He said something [kiddingly] about ESPN or SportsCenter,” Selden said. “That’s my guy. It’s just basketball.”
If there was any embarrassment, it was for Selden’s Uncle Anthony.
Anthony Pitts Jr. – wearing a clock necklace ala Flava Flav — was caught in the stands by cameras freaking out over his nephew’s epic slam.
“My mom really doesn’t like it,” Selden said. “My mom is like me. She doesn’t like the extra attention.”
Turns out, Uncle Anthony makes these giant clock necklaces that feature a picture of Selden in the middle. A device that would have lit up Clock Wayne malfunctioned.
“You already know what I think of that dunk …,” Pitts told the Kansas City Star. “I’m always out of control.”
Actually, Wainwright emerged from the shower uninjured, eager to meet “27-plus” friends and family who witnessed the game … and the dunk.
“I’m going to be watching it when I get out of here,” Wainwright said again. It was a promise.