The annual “Kings of Air” event in Riga, Latvia will gather the world's best slam dunk athletes.
On July 10, the spectacular Ghetto Kings of Air 2018 slam dunk competition will take place at the Grizinkalns Sports Complex in Riga, Latvia. World's top slam dunk athletes will gather at the newly built Coliseum arena in the very heart of Grizinkalns Sports Complex - the home of the Ghetto Games movement. As expected, the event will gather the best of the best slam dunk competitors from all over the world including crowd’s favorite Justin Darlington - a highly talented dunker who won the contest both in 2013 and 2014 from Canada. Joining the international all-star line-up will be the local hero Kristaps Dargais, who has successfully recovered from a recent injury and is ready to face his notorious oponents in the battle for the „Kings of Air” crown.
This will be the sixth annual slam dunk contest hosted by the Ghetto Games team and this year the elite athletes competing are as follows:
1. The winner of the second installment of the TV show „The Dunk King”, one of the world's best dunkers - Guy Dupuy from Paris;
2. Four time slam dunk champion of the Latvian Basketball League and the best dunker hailing from Latvia - Kristaps Dārgais;
3. Lithuania's best dunker and one of the most promising athletes from the Baltics - Gediminas Žitlinskas.
4. Also from the USA - Jonathan J Clark - one of the most talented dunkers in the world who is known for his use of mind blowing acrobatics;
5. For the first time in Latvia, the winner of the prestigious slam dunk contest at the 3x3 basketball tournament Moscow Open 2018 - Yuri Smelcov from Russia!
6. To top it all off, a two-time winner of the "Ghetto Kings of Air" - Justin Darlington from Canada will be back to reclaim the champion title.
7.One of the highest jumpers in the world ukrainian Vadym Piddubchenko or more known as “MILLER”.
The 8th and final competitor will be seeked out during an international pre-qualification tournament in Liepaja, Latvia.
This year „Kings Of Air” is a gift from the Ghetto Games movement to the people of Latvia in the centenary of this small yet marvelous country. This is a unique adventure for the Ghetto Games team, as not only the world's top slam dunk athletes gather together, but also the largest countries of the world are represented at the event - USA, Canada, Russia, France along with the relatively newly founded Latvia and Lithuania. „Kings of Air”, along with GGFEST (short for Ghetto Games Festival) is one of the most notable moments in the 10th season of summer events organized by the Ghetto Games team.
The organizers note that the number of seats in the Grizinkalns Sports Complex is limited at around 2000 seats and room for 1500 more people standing. The founder of the Ghetto Games movement Raimonds Elbakjans notes: „We will be glad to see our friends at this event in order to experience the unexperienced. It’ll be something unreal!" For those staying at home there will be a live broadcast of the event on the www.kingsofair.com and www.ghetto.lv websites
In 2018 the main partner of the „Ghetto Kings of Air” project is Samsung.
A selected few of world’s most glorified slam dunk masters faced each other during the competition. New school dunking master – CJ Champion from Florida, USA was joined by some more seasoned vets and living legends in the art of dunking a basketball in extraordinary ways. Jordan „Take Flight” Southerland, the current champ Chris „Hoopstar” Staples and the champion of the second installment of „The Dunk King” – Guy Dupuy. Ukraine was represented by Vadim „Miller” Paddubchenko, Lithuania by Gediminas Žitlinskas and the Poland by both Arek Pržibilsky and Peter Grabo! All these contestants faced the two time champion of the „Kings of Air” event – Jordan „Mission Impossible” Kiliganon from Canada.
The performance of the athletes was judged by thousands of spectators, as well as a very respectable jury – a local legend and former NBA basketball player Andris Biedriņš, Latvia’s national team players Anžejs Pacečniks and Jānis Blūms, former Utah Jazz player and current president of the Russian basketball federation Andrey Kirilenko, as well as the president of the Latvian Basketball Association Valdis Voins.
"What helped me to win was the consistency of my performance - I did not waste any time and stuck to what I know best - my style!" Chris Staples acknowledged after the victory. He admits that dunking is no longer an everyday thing for him. Now he is more focused on perfecting his technique in other aspects of the basketball game.
"Each dunk performed in the first round of the competition was better than the one’s in finals three years ago!” The leader of the Ghetto Games movement Raimonds Elbakjans, was delighted with the mastery of the championship participants.
Andris Morozovs, the head of the Riga Central Market, was overwhelmed by the fact that the history of sports was recorded at the Riga Central Market. Many decades ago this same building has gathered members of a hockey championship and now this – the world’s most notorious slam dunk event right here in the very heart of Riga, Latvia!
Ghetto “Kings of Air” 2017 was a free event to visit for all spectators. There was no entrance fee what so ever. Those who could not arrive in the capital of Latvia on July 11 could witness the live stream of the whole event.
The event is organized by Ghetto Games - the largest street sports and culture movement in Eastern Europe. The movement stands for a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle and it gathers up to 12 000 unique participants each year and more than 200 000 spectators at events and activities hosted by their team. The prime values of the Ghetto movement are love, friendship and compassion.
This year at the Kings of Air we will have many new dunkers in Riga.
On July 11 at 7 PM local time the world’s most celebrated slam dunk competition will take place in an unusual surrounding – a newly renovated pavilion in the Riga Central market. This will be the fifth consecutive year the event takes place in Riga, Latvia, and this year it’s gathering 10 top athletes from around the world:
The new school dunking master – CJ Champion from Florida, USA will be joined by some more seasoned vets and living legends in the art of dunking a basketball in extraordinary ways. Jordan „Take Flight” Southerland, Chris Staples and the champion of the second installment of „The Dunk King” – Guy Dupuy. Ukraine will be represented by Vadim „Miller” Paddubchenko, Lithuania by Gediminas Žitlinskas ! Two dunkers will represent Poland - Peter Grabo and Arek Aro Przybylski. Ivars Rihards Žvīgurs - will represent Latvia in this contest. All these contestants will have to face the two time champion of Ghetto Kings of Air – Jordan „Mission Impossible” Kiliganon from Canada.