NBA: Dunk Contest Facing Make-or-Break Year

Justin HussongContributor IIIJune 26, 2016

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz jumps over comedian Kevin Hart as he wears a Karl Malone Utah Jazz throwback jersey on a dunk during 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

No more jumping over Kias. No more glow-in-the-dark jerseys. No more cupcakes. It all has to stop.

This year is crucial for the NBA's most exciting event of All-Star Weekend. With a field of six devastating athletes, a diehard fan can only hope that this is the year we see a reversion back to the glory days. Coming off possibly the worst dunk contest ever last season, this group of guys needs to make a statement.

While some props in the contest worked wonders such as JaVale McGee's extra basketball hoop or Steve Nash's head, the whole idea of "who can jump over the coolest object" must stop. After we have seen Blake Griffin dunk over the hood of a car, Derrick Williams dunk over a motorcycle and Chase Budinger dunking over Diddy (or whatever name he's going by these days), it has left us longing for the days of Vince Carter and Jason Richardson.

The key cog that has built up excitement for this year is that the contest finally features all players we have actually heard of. While James White and Terrence Ross are the unfamiliar names of the contest, their dunk accolades are well-documented.

Kenneth Faried, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe and defending champion Jeremy Evans provide much excitement for this year. While there are no huge names, these are all relevant players in this league. 

Most importantly, the dunk contest has lost credibility due to the fan voting. Biased voting in past years has resulted in winners that did not pass the eye test. Last year, Paul George was robbed after Jeremy Evans donned a Karl Malone jersey. The previous year, Blake Griffin had the contest wrapped up as soon as he stepped in the building strictly on name recognition. Serge Ibaka, McGee and DeMar DeRozan all outperformed him.

In 2010, the fans voted Nate Robinson the winner once again over DeRozan, who got robbed. If fan voting once again picks a faulty winner, the contest will lose even more of its little remaining credibility.

The dunk contest has the potential to be more exciting. The problem is that the bar has already been set in the stratosphere, and it is difficult to come up with new material that no one has seen before.

If anything, we must hope that the participants have a few tricks up their sleeves, which is very possible considering their unparalleled athleticism. If James White can dust off this old trick, or Gerald Green can unleash some of this absurdity, then we have ourselves a real competition.

The pressure is on for this young batch of participants. They have the ability to give this beautiful showcase of All-Star Weekend a serious shot in the arm. Anything and everything has been dunked over. It is time for these men to bring their "A" game and dig deep into their bag of tricks for something no one has seen before. The appeal of the dunk contest is at stake.