February 25, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz hangs on the rim after dunking two balls over teammate Gordon Hayward during the 2012 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
In the height of its popularity, the Slam Dunk Contest was one of the best things the NBA had to offer. Alas, it has worn out its welcome, and the league should consider moving away from, or seriously revamping, the once-great contest.
Everything gets old eventually Take the Slam Dunk Contest. In its time, the dunk contest has provided some of the greatest highlights the sport has ever seen. We've reached a point where it is coming into question.
Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant. Vince Carter. Jason Richardson. All made a name for themselves through the dunk contest (you know, in addition to being freak athletes and some of the most talented basketball players ever). They all made the dunk contest exciting and fun.
Now, it's a laughing stock. This year's version of the dunk contest was an absolute joke. Jeremy Evans won, thanks to dunking two basketballs and a Karl Malone tribute dunk over comedian Kevin Hart, but he wasn't spectacular. Don't get me wrong, dunking two basketballs isn't exactly easy, and he did an admirable job. Admirable, but not passable.
The dunk contest is supposed to be an ode to the greatest spectacle the sport has to offer: dunks. What makes basketball exciting? Dunks, among other things. What makes the Top 10 on SportsCenter ever morning? Dunks. See the trend?
Instead of honoring the dunk with superb slams year in and year out, the league has gotten lazy. Ever since the late '90s and early 2000's, the dunk contest has been trending downwards. Each year, it has gotten worse and worse and worse.
Without a doubt, this year's contest took the cake of awfulness. At one point, Derrick Williams (who really has no business being in the dunk contest) used up his entire time limit missing dunks. He wasn't even getting close to the rim on most of his attempts. Honestly, that's just shameful.
Now, I wouldn't exactly call that representing the dunk well. With this being the case, and the fact that the dunk contest has been getting worse, one can only wonder: is it time to get rid of it?
It's certainly a question that's worth discussing. The answer? No, the slam dunk contest should not be cancelled. However, it absolutely needs to be adjusted. That can be done in several ways, one of which is relatively easy.
Believe it or not, Charles Barkley had the answer. After the dunk contest Saturday, Chuck addressed the main issued head on, saying that the superstars of the NBA need to "get off their buts and get back in this thing." He's right.
LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard -- he's talking to you.
People might make the argument that having the same players in the dunk contest would get boring. And to some degree, they are right. But having those stars in the game would be a heck of a lot more interesting than the horror show the league put on for its fans Saturday night.
The league should be ashamed. Fans paid a lot of money to see a show, and the NBA didn't live up to it. Not even close. In all honesty, that contest wasn't even worth a penny on the dollar. It was sad, pathetic and disgraceful.
David Stern, please take note. Your fans deserve better. And the sport of basketball does, too.