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A history of the fools and frauds who used blindfolds in dunk contests

Cedric Ceballos acted as if he couldn't see through his blindfold, but totally could. He inspired people to attempt dunking when they actually couldn't see, and, they have failed massively.

Cedric Ceballos received a perfect 50 to win the 1992 NBA Slam Dunk contest by dunking with a blindfold. It was one of the most incredible acts of showmanship the contest has ever seen.

If Ceballos truly couldn't see through his blindfold, this would be one of the most incredible dunks of all time. But while it's certainly possible that Ceballos couldn't see, it's much more plausible that he was using a thin blindfold that was a little bit transparent. I personally believe Ceballos could see.

More importantly, several dunkers over the course of the years have apparently believed Ceballos could see, as well. They've attempted to dunk while wearing things over their eyes that actually blocked their vision. It's not a case of the blind leading the blind. It's a case of a person with perfectly good vision telling everybody that he's blind and that being blind is great and they should try it themselves. And it's ended poorly.

To this day, Ceballos insists that he couldn't see through the blindfold. In a SportsNation chat, he said the dunk was the result of two months of practice, and on Twitter, he's handled every accusation that he could see through the blindfold with a "nahhh" or "neverrr" or "not ..."

To execute a dunk, you have to do so much more. I bet that if you took the average NBA player and put them five feet from the basket and told them the hoop was directly in front of them, most couldn't execute a dunk. Dunking requires a variety of different tasks that NBA players don't think about when dunking, but almost all of them rely on visual reference.

Their plant step might be too close or too far from the rim, and might not even be in the right direction. They might not jump to the proper height to dunk the ball. They might begin dunking the ball too soon or too late, ending with dunks that slam off the rim or never reach the height of the rim. Even if their plant and release are at the right time and the jump is at the right height, they still haven't gotten to the hard part: Actually dunking the ball where the hoop is.

We're supposed to believe that Ceballos properly executed all these things, and not just from five feet away, but from 75 feet. We're supposed to believe Ceballos began his run at exactly the right angle, took the exact amount of steps he had to take, CHANGED DIRECTIONS AT THE FREE THROW LINE at precisely the right moment and right angle, jumped at exactly the right moment, jumped to exactly the right height, began dunking at exactly the right moment and put the dunk exactly on target.

That's incredible! Or, maybe, you know, HE COULD SEE THROUGH THE DANG BLINDFOLD. Ceballos certainly does tilt his head back as he approaches the rim, in the way one would if they were looking at the basket. Maybe this was just a force of habit out of a lifetime of looking at the basket as he approached the rim. Maybe he was just looking at the rim through his blindfold.

Either way, Ceballos has inspired a slew of copycats. The most direct of these was Chase Budinger,  who wore Ceballos' jersey while doing a 180 dunk with a blindfold on in the 2012 contest. But Budinger didn't exactly hide the fact that he could see. Watching his dunk in slow-motion, Budinger cranes his neck while executing his 180 dunk to keep his eyes locked on the rim. Ceballos' tilted head could've been a force-of-habit thing. Budinger's swerve was completely unnatural, and there's really no explanation for it behind peeking.

Perhaps most damning is that Ceballos himself gave Budinger the blindfold he used. WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU, CEDRIC! Budinger's dunk was tainted by Ceballos' presence.

But other, more foolish hoopers have actually attempted dunking through blindfolds that actually did prevent them from seeing, and their failures have been disastrous.

First, let us focus on Baron Davis at the 2001 dunk contest. Davis had put on a show for the majority of the contest, and posted a 44 on his first dunk of the finals. But he he had a secret weapon, something he called "The Blind Man's Bluff," boastfully telling Craig Sager "I bet you'll be surprised." On the last dunk of the evening, he needed a 46 to win the championship.

So, for the competition's decisive dunk, he lowered his signature headband over his eyes and did ... this.

When the cameras zoomed in on Baron, it sure looked like Davis had cut holes into the headband so he could see through:

But if his intention had been to see through, clearly it did not work. He jumped about five feet too early, never got the ball 10 feet in the air, and slammed it into the ground in vain.  On the sideline, Davis asked "was that, like ... really bad?" He explained that teammate David Wesley was supposed to stop him if the dunk was clearly going to miss, but somehow he never got the message.

He was told it counted as a dunk attempt, and that was the end of his night. Davis had already used his "replacement dunk" for the competition, so this was it. He'd missed his dunk by more than anybody has ever missed a dunk before, and Mason was crowned champion.

The next awful dunk attempt comes courtesy of Filipino hooper Justin Melton. Melton, a 5'9 point guard called "The Flying Minion," posted perfect 40's on all three of his dunks in the 2014 contest, earning a co-championship. To defend his title in 2015, he threw a teammate's shirt over his head and did this:

Let's take a look at just how inaccurate this dunk was:

Melton received a 25, the lowest possible score, and was eliminated in the first round.

Maybe the difference between these players and Ceballos was lack of practice. Both Davis and Melton seemed surprised when they were unable to land dunks. Maybe they were genuinely shocked at their failure because they simply assumed they could execute the dunks but never bothered to try, while Ceballos' months of practice allowed him to master the perfect execution.

Maybe the fact that these dudes failed massively despite starting much closer than Ceballos and receiving directional assistance from teammates proves that there's no freakin' way Ceballos could possibly have done what he did without being able to see the rim.

I guess we'll never know whether Ceballos could really see through that blindfold. That being said, he totally could see. He totally could. He 1,000 percent could see through that blindfold, you will never convince me otherwise and if you actually believe he couldn't see through that blindfold, I think you're a gullible sap, and I don't think you should be allowed to vote or have kids.

But I guess we'll never know.