It seems like every year NBA fans get excited for the All-Star Saturday night and look forward to the Slam Dunk Contest. And like every year, many are left feeling disappointed. This year’s contest was no exception.
From participants jumping over people to participants making numerous attempts at a dunk, the contest just seems to fall flat.
One of this year’s participants was Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and while he provided some solid dunks (jumping over two of his teammates and a glow in the dark dunk), he voiced what many fans think about the contest — it’s a joke.
“(Not to) take nothing away from the dunk contest, (but) it was a joke,” George said. “I guess whoever had the biggest celebrity involved in their dunk was going to be the winner. I guess I should have tried to reach out to some people.”
I totally agree George.
Props, celebrities making their way on the court (anyone else feel P-Diddy getting some face time was annoying?) and the feeling that every conceivable dunk has been done all adds up to an event that has lost steam in recent years.
Gone are the days of top-tier players trying their hand in the event such as Vince Carter, Michael Jordan, or Dominique Wilkins. Though there was some hope Blake Griffin might rescue the event but he sat out of the event this year and didn’t defend his title. And of course there was LeBron James teasing the fans in 2010 saying he would participate but in the end he backed out of it. And it is this lack of star-quality players in the event is what George points to.
“I agree, you have to have the faces of the league come back and get involved in it,” George said. “That’s what really made it big back in the day when you had Jordan and Dominique going at it. That was the All Stars and the guys that were the men in the league. That’s what fans want to see.”
OK so how do we revive the dunk contest back to prominence? Here are a couple of ideas.
1. Have a cash prize. Find some sponsor willing to put up some big bucks which might entice marquee players to show that they got. Hey, money is a great motivator.
2. Create a D-League vs. NBA dunk off. What better way to get the competitive juices flowing than to have hungry D-League high-flyers ready to show up NBA players on national TV to prove they will provide the fans a better show. Don’t believe me? Check out some of the best dunks from the 2012 D-League Dunk Contest. No celebrities to jump over, just pure rim-rocking dunks including a player using the shot-clock.