NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2012: The 4 Guys Who Should Actually Be in It
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Remember the clip of Michael Jordan taking off from the free-throw line in the dunk contest?
Or former Atlanta Hawks superstar Dominique Wilkins dazzling fans with his hang time and acrobatic slams?
This was when the dunk contest was at its finest. What made it so special back then?
The dunk contest used to feature the league's pinnacle players, which is exactly what fans want. Fans dream of plopping the world's best players in a gym and asking them to "show off" their hops.
Nothing against this year's participants (Iman Shumpert, Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, and Paul George), but fans aren't nearly as interested in seeing these players dunk.
Truthfully, many fans have likely never heard of a couple of this year's participants.
One may argue that certain low-profile players are more talented dunkers than the league's elite, or that the dunk contest allows younger players to gain publicity and broaden the perception of the NBA.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but that's not what we actually want to see. Just because a lower-profile guy can dunk blindfolded while spinning doesn't mean we would prefer him over the league's marquee players (unless he's Spud Webb).
Here are the four players who should truly show off in the dunk contest. These guys bring the hype, the fame, the competition and the rim-rattling throwdowns.
Duh. This is a no-brainer.
Blake Griffin creates posters left and right, and he's the man fans most desire to see in the dunk contest.
He didn't disappoint last year. I mean, he jumped over a car.
Imagine if he was in the contest on a yearly basis. Fans would die to know what Griffin would have planned come each All-Star Weekend.
Griffin epitomizes what the fans crave. Can we please have what we want?
Next to Griffin, LeBron James remains the most electrifying dunker in the game.
It's time for him to take his talents to the dunk contest, where we can witness him defy gravity with creativity.
Imagine LeBron and Griffin in a dunk contest battle, seeking to one-up each other with another crowd-pleasing flush. It's going to take something like this for the dunk contest to emulate the Jordan-Wilkins matchups of the late 1980s.
Truthfully, the presence of LeBron James alone would revive this event.
"Superman" participated in the contest not too long ago, but his exhibitions should become an annual delight.
Howard's size and athleticism make him such a unique dunker.
What's more, he is also a fan-pleaser with his creativity. He previously wore a Superman cape in the dunk contest and surely has plenty more tricks and ideas up his sleeve.
Dwight adds needed flavor to the dunk contest. Plus, he's top-five player whose face people want to see.
Westbrook's become one of the game's best point guards and one of the league's most thrilling dunkers.
There's always something intriguing about a point guard who throws it down like a power forward.
Frankly, there's no reason why Westbrook shouldn't be able to display his abilities in the dunk contest. He's an up-and-coming star on one of the best teams, and he's made plenty of posters over the past few years.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
These four guys should represent the NBA in the dunk contest. The dunk contest is obviously a hyped event, and a hyped event calls for hyped players.
Moreover, there are other names that should also be considered for this event. Derrick Rose (when healthy—he's currently iffy for the All-Star Game with a bad back), John Wall and Rudy Gay would also bring an aura to the dunk contest.
If the game's elite decide to one day return to the dunk contest, then the event's glory will revive. Until then, it remains exciting, but it's not the NBA Jam Session that it's been in the past.