NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2013: What NBA Must Do to Ensure Thrilling Spectacle

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2013

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Jeremy Evans of the UTah Jazz celebrates with his trophy after he won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest part of 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend at Amway Center on February 25, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest can be one of the more captivating editions in recent years.

Every year, people argue that the dunk contest is dead and should be abolished. Then, following the event, fans are left raving about this dunk or that dunk.

Sure the dunk contest will never again reach the heights of the '80s, when Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins had some absolutely epic duels, but that doesn't mean this year's edition can't be entertaining and compelling.

There were some definite problems from last year that need to be rectified, otherwise the dunk contest will be very disappointing.

In order to avoid that, the NBA should take up the suggestions listed below.


Throw in Somebody Like James White

Every year, people bemoan the fact that the biggest stars keep away from the dunk contest, LeBron James being the most obvious name. Sure it'd be great to have LeBron in, but some of the fun is watching relatively unknown players getting a chance to emerge on a huge stage.

James White could be the guy to emerge this year. He only plays 6.9 minutes a night for the New York Knicks, but White may be the best pure dunker in the league.

For those who are unaware of his abilities, watch the video above.

Everyone has seen the biggest stars in the league dunk on multiple occasions since they lead every single basketball highlight. It's the guys like White, though, who could provide the kind of surprise that would make the contest spectacular.


Get Rid of the Skits

Nobody tunes into the dunk contest to watch Kevin Hart dressed up as a mailman deliver a jersey to Jeremy Evans or for Kenny Smith to act like a hype man.

Stuff like that just takes away from the dunk itself and helps to drag the entire event out.

People can complain about the increased reliance on props and other things, but it's stuff like last year where the line needs to be drawn.

When Josh Smith unveiled his Dominique jersey in 2005 it was nice because he just took off his regular jersey and had the Wilkins one underneath. He didn't have a comedian give it to him right on the court.

This is a slam dunk contest, not an episode of Saturday Night Live. While it's all in the spirit of entertainment, there's plenty of entertainment to be had from watching the players perform almost superhuman feats of achievement.


Bring Back the Judges

It's ridiculous that the NBA opened up all of the voting to fans last year. The fans have decided the actual winner for the past few years, but 2012 was the first time where there were no judges involved whatsoever.

With this, you just run the chance that name recognition alone means a guy wins the contest. If LeBron was in the event, he could almost lay the ball up and still win.

Meanwhile, some bench player for the Charlotte Bobcats just dunked three balls all at once with his right foot. Since nobody knows him, he's bound to get a much lower share of the vote.

There's no perfect way to have the winner selected, but leaving it all up to the fans is one of the worst ways.