The NBA Dunk Contest and Theatrical Cupcakes

Walt HaleyContributor IMarch 31, 2009

The NBA All-Star weekend is here and the NBA has manufactured a great weekend of entertainment no other sport can match.

No other league mixes sports, hip-hop and celebrity quite like the NBA.

This year Phoenix is the host city and ever since it’s become the nation’s fifth largest city

They are a sports town loaded with retirees and hot coeds ready to party.

Philadelphia held the title of fifth largest city for years, but Snoop Dogg never seemed to care.  With the Playboy party back in swing and a celebrity game featuring the perennial pathetic white B star with no game Michael Rapaport and a chubby Chris Tucker, Phoenix is now the hot-spot of the sports world.

Even if the NBA is watered-down and drawn out over a long season, All-Star weekend makes it relevant again. The marquee event is the Slam Dunk Contest and once again Nate Robinson against Dwight Howard were the two heavyweights going for the title.

After a series of impressive if not awe-inspiring dunks, the Knicks’ faithful once again have something to cheer about, as little Nate Dog Robinson captured his second Dunk Contest title.

Many NBA fans are happy Spike Lee and the Madison Square faithful can finally place the Isaiah Thomas years behind them and ride the Nate Dog train. This little man carries the annoying little brother mantra to a whole new level, with his ridiculous facial expressions and general over exuberance.

I mean, the guy’s about 5'5" and squeaks like a little toy dog.

After Howard had the contest wrapped up with a somewhat thundering dunk, he then turned around and gave Robinson the assist of a lifetime. He allowed him to use his massive body as a spring board as he flew over him and dunked over Superman. The creative part was he used his “kryptonite green” cape to defeat Superman.

As comic geeks can attest, kryptonite weakens and kills Superman. Superman is only super because of the Earth's weak gravitational pull and its yellow sun which powers him from the destroyed planet of Krypton. This correlates in Dwight Howard being defeated by man half his size that can’t dunk without a He-Man sized prop.

I wonder how Nate-Dog came up with this idea. Maybe he was surfing the internet and came across the young baller on this clip.

Can’t this juniors sue the NBA dunk champ for copyright infringement, or maybe for the theft of intellectual dunk property? I mean he clearly stole this idea and I think a jury of ballers would agree.

Anyone who witnessed the disgrace of the 2007 Dunk Contest where he missed the dunk 70 times and still won somehow would vote never again to see this man dunk. He did a disservice to all the Spud Webb posters that hung on the walls of hoop kids in the 1980’s. It’s tough to have to respect a man who says he “shocked the world” and shut up the haters after his first Dunk championship was reminiscent of the WWE.

The theatrics associated with the Dunk Contest are getting out of hand and the pay off punch is usually pretty weak. Howard’s telephone booth stunt (including a Superman cape and theme music) was capped off with a weak dunk on an 11-foot rim which was initially identified as a 12-foot rim by TNT’s crack broadcast team and then later mistakenly identified as a 13-foot hoop.

Was that better then Gerald Green blowing the candle out in 2008s Dunk Contest? In the history books it’s called the “Cupcake Slam.”

On the plus side, these weak theatrics may have subconsciously given the NBA’s true stars the balls to compete in upcoming Dunk Contests. This year’s 2009 All-Star game is loaded with star power, including 17 possible Hall-of-Famers.

Future first-ballot ballers such as Kobe and LeBron would absolutely restore some credibility to the All-Star Game’s premier event. Possible HOFs like Stoudemire and Wade comprise the next generation players who can bring the game back to the glory days of the 1980s.

These players need to compete against and bring out the best in each other during All-Star Weekend instead of showing up only for the actual game on Sunday.

LeBron, the top draw in NBA, said he would throw his hat into the ring for 2010’s Dunk Contest. Who wouldn’t want to see Kobe vs. LeBron in 2010? How about mixing in some other youngsters like the aforementioned Stoudemire and Wade, or even the Josh Smiths and Andre Iguodalas of the league?

Ever since MJ beat Dominique to set the bar for the Dunk Contest in 1998, it’s been a downhill event loaded with bench and rookie players. The occasionally young rookie will always spice things up, a la Dee Brown and the Pumps, but let’s hope the players as well as General Stern and the his coalition of owner-cronies loosen up so fans can see something better than phone booths, midget leprechauns, and cupcakes.