Sunday, February 1, 2015

What "Don't Fake The Funk On A Nasty Dunk" REALLY Means

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is the third of a three part series about the word "funk". Part III presents comments about the meaning of the saying "Don't Fake The Funk On A Nasty Dunk" and includes a video of a commercial in which Shaquille O'Neil uses that saying.

Click for Part I of this post.

Part I provides information and comments about the Latin etymology and the Kongolese etymology for the word "funk". That post also provides several definitions for the word "funk" and the word "funky".

Part I provides information and comments about the Latin etymology and the Kongolese etymology for the word "funk". That post also provides several definitions for the word "funk" and the word "funky".

Part II features a video and lyrics of the 1992 Hip-Hop song "Fakin The Funk"(remix) by Main Source. That post also includes my comments about the meanings of certain words in that rap.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural reasons.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those quoted in this post, all those featured in the video and the publisher of this video on YouTube.


Shaq Reebok Commercial

Juan Martin, Uploaded on Oct 4, 2006

shaq reebok superbowl commercial(1993),shaq and the test with some nba legends and shaq and the backboard again,spectacular commercial.
Shaq is professional basketball player Shaquille O’ Neal.
Selected comments from this video:

Riccardo Perozzi, 2007
"chamberlain,russel ,walton, jabbar .... WOW!!!"

truepinoytamaraw, 2010
"5 greatest centers in the NBA!!!!! :) shaq, wilt, walton, kareem, russell!!!!!!!!!"

[Comment from another uploading of that video at
FireStormTrooper, 2007
"awesome commercial: shaq paying his dues to the legends (bill russell, wilt chamberlain, kareem abdul-jabbar and bill walton)."

The meaning of "fakin the funk" from by Nabru, September 14, 2005
"fakin' the funk
When you are pretending to be something you are not, capable of a skill or trait you do not possess, or in some other way misrepresenting yourself. See fronting.

KRS-ONE is an old school rapper who dislikes so-called "Gansta" rappers who are just fakin' the funk."

The meaning of the basketball term "dunk" (also known as "slam dunk")
"A slam dunk, also dunk or dunk shot, is a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air, controls the ball(s) above the horizontal plane of the rim, and guides the ball(s) downward through the basket with one or both hands contacting the rim.[1]

This is considered a normal field goal attempt; if successful it is worth two points. Such a shot was known as a "dunk shot"[1] until the term "slam dunk" was coined by Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.[2]

The slam dunk is the most efficient basketball shot. Moreover, it is a crowd-pleaser."...

The meaning of the saying "Don't Fake The Funk On A Nasty Dunk"
This saying was used as a password to enter the gymnasium for exceptionally skillfull basketball centers. The password was a warning that anyone who wanted to be considered to be on the same level as those basketball greats better have his (or her) "A" game on as there would be no way that that person could pretend to have those skills. In my opinion, this saying can be extrapolated to mean "Be yourself, don't try to pretend to be someone who you're not, because eventually you'll be put to the test and found to be faking."
Commenters about "Don't Fake The Funk On A Nasty Dunk" have different opinions about the meaning of the word "nasty". Some examples of that are given in the additional comments section below.

I believe that in the early 1990s when this commercial was filmed, the word "nasty" meant "very bad" (as in not good at all). I think that "nasty" still has that meaning, unlike the slang meaning of the word "sick" which in the 2000s can mean "very good". When Shaquille O'Neal made that great slam dunk in the commercial, he proved to those basketball greats that he belonged in their presence. In other words, by making that slam dunk, he proved that he wasn't faking the funk.

"This one is from Shaq's first commercial when he got to the NBA. It was a Reebok commercial. Everybody was calling him the next great center, and Reebok played on that, showing Shaq appear at like a private gym or something... He's asked what the password is and says, "Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk." He's then allowed into a gym with Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Jabbar. They toss Shaq a ball and say, "show us," and he runs up to a basket, dunking the ball and tearing down the rim."

"This goes way back before Shaq, though he got the phrase back in action. Darryl Dawkins used to say it a loooooong time ago.

Are we talking about a time when nasty was a bad adjective to have modifying the status of your dunk? Or has the nastiness of one's dunk always been an admirable goal? If nasty is undesirable, then the phrase clearly means you should not fake the funk if you have just made an average, perhaps slightly malodorous, dunk. If nasty is something to strive for, then it is saying one shouldn't force the funk of any particular dunk and let the funk stand on its own merits."

"It's obvious what the phrase means: not all dunks look good. If yours doesn't, don't act like a badass when you come down off the rim - cause you ain't got the FUNK, and funk is a good thing to have."

"Nasty, in this context, is a bad adjective... it's the only way it would make sense."

"Yo, you boys need some old schoolin' going on, back in my days in the NBA, dunks weren't "nasty", thats come about from you whippersnappers, back then, "nasty" meant what "fugly" means now.."

"The phrase means that you shouldn't front. If your dunk was nasty, be real about it. Do not fake the funk. This applies to everything, not only dunking."

From, June 4, 2012
"Faking the Funk
...Of course more recently we remember this phrase from a TV commercial featuring former Kazaam star and basketball legend, Shaquille O’ Neal. Shaq says DFtFoaND as a password to gain entry to some sort of mysterious slam-jam showcase lair, shortly before throwing down a nasty dunk that destroys the backboard and impresses some older b-ball fogeys. The commercial was culturally significant on many levels …, but perhaps most important was the introduction of DFtFoaND into our vernacular. Clearly the phrase was awesome – but what does it mean to fake the funk, and how does one avoid doing so?

Much has been written on the topic. Scholars have debated its true and exact meaning, but this much is true – faking the funk in its most general sense means to try to be something you’re not. Faking the funk is exuding a bravado that is not commensurate with your qualifications. It’s being phony-baloney.

Sure the phrase has a more direct meaning in basketball parlance (when you slam-jam, do so with authority, or do not attempt a slam at all), but for those of us unable to perform a nasty dunk, or even so much as a mild dunk, there is still much to be gleaned from DFtFoaND. The takeaway from this wise phrase is to just be yourself, and to do your best.

Don’t try to be someone you’re not, don’t worry about trying to impress others. That’s the essence of DFtFoaND, and a tremendous piece of life wisdom"...
Italics and bold font were in the original article.

This concludes Part III of this series.

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