Once upon a time I really cared about the Dunk Contest. From the time I was a little kid I was glued to the television the minute TNT kicked off its All-Star Weekend coverage (I even watched the ridiculous Shooting Stars Contest, I have no life) I sat through it all from Jason Richardson (twice) to Fred Jones and Josh Smith. Hell I even got stoked on Nate Robinson’s first title. The Dunk Contest was tradition.
Then the Dunk Contest started to show warning signs. When Gerald Green set the blueprint for using gimmicks as a road to Dunk Contest fame (and taking it straight to the D-League) it seemed like everyone and their mother was jumping on the prop bandwagon. Whether it was Dwight Howard’s Superman suit throw-in, or JaVale McGee pimping out his mom to Dr. J and trying to dunk three balls at once and failing. You could get the sense that the Dunk Contest was not well.
Maybe it was because everything has been done before, maybe it was because of the NBA’s decision to ruin the perfect format of the contest with fan voting and way too much Sprite product placement, but you could see the writing on the wall.
And on Saturday night, the Dunk Contest died.
You could get the sense that the Dunk Contest was on its death bed when the NBA totally changed the format (all fan voting, one round) and put together a foursome that wasn’t exactly going to glue anyone to their televisions. The outcome was expected, and it was UGLY. While Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, Paul George and Jeremy Evans put on the best effort they could it just wasn’t an enjoyable product. The times have changed, the big name rookies are too good for the contest, the best dunkers are too go0d to participate, and no one seems to care like they used to. It just might be time to scrap the Dunk Contest altogether. Give the players the night off, let the D-League All-Star Game take center stage anything is better than continuing this downward spiral at this point.
I have spent every All-Star Saturday Night glued in front of my TV since I can remember, I don’t know if I will be there next year.
R.I.P. to the Dunk Contest. Thanks for the memories.
But, hey reincarnation exists right? Right?