Daniel Sims knew he was late.
His Hoopfest team, ET Space Jam, was trying to win its bracket, but Sims had a date on center court.
Sims had made the final of Hoopfest’s slam dunk contest but it conflicted with Bracket 470’s title game. So the Peninsula Community College guard played with his team until it was 19-10.
“They subbed me out and said, ‘Go, run, run, run,’ ” Sims said.
So he did. From near Browne and Main, some four or five blocks.
But when he got to Hoopfest’s center court in Riverfront Park, he heard the semis were done and the finalists were chosen. He could, however, dunk one time for show.
So the lithe 6-footer did a 360-reverse slam.
And Ronny Turiaf, the former Gonzaga star and Sunday’s celebrity judge, stepped in.
Turiaf ruled that Sims would join defending champion Kenny Chandler and Mitchell Zapien in the finals.
And, when Chandler missed his attempt and the 6-foot-1 Zapien barely got his to fall, all Sims had to do was finish and he would win.
With Turiaf exhorting him to do something special, he did. His reverse slam brought the house down, won him his first dunk title and capped an interesting year.
Sims is from Australia and came to Peninsula for a chance to play American college basketball. When friends in Port Angeles told him about Hoopfest, he decided to play and now he has a champion’s shirt and a trophy.
Plus memories he won’t forget.
“This is the first-ever (slam dunk) competition I’ve ever been in,” he said, “and it’s in Hoopfest. It’s blowing my mind right now. There is nothing like this in Australia.
“It is the biggest thing I’ve seen when it comes to basketball. I like it because everyone gets to get out and have some fun.”