The Slam Dunk.
Maybe the most recognizable sports phrase ever. Basketball fan or not, you probably know what a slam dunk is.
In it's most basic form, it is simple.
Throwing the ball through the basket with such a force that the hands and/or arms pull down the rim, then let it snap back to form.
In its most beautiful form, the dunk can become art.
The floor the canvas, the ball the brush and the air around them the paint. In 1983, Dr. J gave the Lakers' Michael Cooper a front row seat for one of the most iconic dunks ever. In 1988, Chicago, Illinois, Michael Jordan became a brand. In February of 1993, a young freak of an athlete named Shaq tore down an entire backboard in Phoenix.
The NBA has long realized that people love dunks.
Thus, the Slam Dunk Contest was born. This was a night we all looked forward to. Beginning with Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins in 1985, we all loved watching the high flying acrobatics and the pure showmanship that the NBA had censored for years.
The dunk contest was the night when we got to see the best athletes in the world use their creativity and competitiveness to fly 10 feet up—and throw down.
From Spud Webb to Vince Carter, it was a much anticipated event. Unfortunately, since Vince Carter, the contest has become an afterthought at best, and a joke at worst.
Who is the Best Dunk Contest Participant Ever?
The reason the idea has gotten so stale is that we can no longer see the best dunkers participate in this contest. There is also the idea that it has all been done before, and now everything is so reproduced and copied to the point of redundancy.
If Blake Griffin didn't disprove that last year by jumping over a car, maybe nothing will. Creativity on the part of the players is not the issue.
The issue is all of the ridiculous rules and restrictions. Couple that with the fact that due to less and less popularity, the NBA has constantly been changing up the rules each year in an effort to regain viewers, and you get the steaming pile of garbage the dunk contest has become.
We want to see a lineup of Kobe, Griffin, LeBron, Howard and Rose. That will never happen for us, unfortunately.
With the new rules, three of these players are not even eligible. The dunk contest used to be something that players dreamed of participating in. Now, few accept the invite when it is extended, and the higher the star-power, the less likely the player is to participate.
The exception to that rule, of course, is when the festivities are being held on the players' home court.
This year it seems the NBA has hit a new low. Not only is the list of participants poor, there will not be any judges this time around. The fans will account for 100 percent of the vote, and there will only be one round of dunks.
While the fan vote is a nice novelty, it gets rid of the one saving grace the contest has had for the last few pathetic years, and that was the panel of judges, usually miked up and full of chatter.
If I can't tune in to hear Charles Barkley and Dr. J swap verbal jabs, why am I watching?
Certainly not to watch something called Chase Budinger continue to ruin an event made sacred by Jordan, 'Nique and Vinsanity.
This, NBA, is a fail.