Blake Griffin's dunk contest winner - a soaring jam over a car during last year's NBA All-Star weekend - set off more social media buzz than a Super Bowl ad.
''Once in a lifetime,'' said Tim Chaney, the marketing director for Kia, which was lucky enough to have the electrifying moment fused with its product before a national TV audience.
What's less unique is Griffin's status as a young, engaging, Twitter-savvy NBA star. The emergence of the Clippers forward and others like him may explain the league's increased appeal among coveted but hard-to-attract younger viewers.
''The league has always done a good job promoting its stars,'' Chaney said. ''It's a star-driven league, and there's a new, emerging class of younger stars.''
The lockout-shortened season drew robust TV ratings across the board. But the numbers were particularly strong among the young - a development that sponsors always like to see.
TNT had its highest-rated regular season in its 28-year relationship with the NB...