2012 Summer Olympics

Why the Dunk Contest and Skills Competition Should Be Their Own Olympic Sport

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2012

There are times when watching Team USA feels a bit like witnessing an event at All-Star Weekend.

It almost makes you wonder why the Summer Olympics doesn't take a page from that All-Star playbook and add a little more entertainment to the schedule. The rest of the world may struggle to upset the United States in team competitions, but how would the best international talent hold up in some individual events?

Surely there are some guys with the athleticism and skill to give the USA's best a run for their money.

After all, if Spain's Serge Ibaka can put on a show during All-Star Weekend's Slam Dunk Contest, perhaps he'd do the same in an Olympic venue.

He should have the chance to do just that.

While the Summer Olympics give the world's greatest teams the opportunity to put on a show in a variety of sports, they're also a showcase of the most talented individual athletes.

More importantly, these Olympics are a source of entertainment.

A gymnastics routine is about skill, yes. But, it's also about showmanship. There's an element of artistry that pervades some of these events and elevates them above the competitive bottom line.

So, why not hold a contest to decide the best dunker on the planet?

It would sure beat watching archery.

There's a similar case to be made for All-Star Weekend's Skills Challenge. A guy like Jose Calderon or Ricky Rubio (when healthy) just might give Chris Paul or Deron Williams a run for their money.

France's Tony Parker won the competition this February, so we know he'd be game.

Sure, there are already more than enough events jam-packed into the Summer Olympics, maybe even too many. There's also no question that basketball is one of the most exciting items on the docket.

The game's popularity has exploded internationally over the last 20 years, and it's time to take full advantage of that. It's time to show the world what these players can do, both in concert with a team and as individuals.

More importantly, it's time to give the masses something else worth watching.

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