NBA All-Star Weekend: Dunk Contest Needs an Overhaul
The NBA All-Star Weekend is still a solid event. There is entertainment value, and it is interesting to see some of the best basketball players in the world display their talents on the same stage.
However, much like other exhibition events, there has been something lacking as the years have gone by.
Comedian Frank Caliendo pointed out that even the live crowd seemed like they weren’t having the greatest time:
The crowd seemed asleep in the #SlamDunkCompetition. How crazy would they have gone if Lebron came out of the crowd and just put 1 down?— Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) February 17, 2013
Specifically, the dunk contest is no longer a premier or must-see event. This is not to suggest that the event is bad television, however.
There are still some eye-popping dunks, and 99.9 percent of the viewing audience would be hard-pressed to ever throw down a similar jam in anything but their wildest dreams.
Yet, there is something missing. There is a still a sentimental fondness to the dunk contest, but players like Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins really set the standard.
The comparisons to the past greats almost always make the modern renditions pale in comparison.
Today, there are more gimmicks and more attempts to come up with unique twists and variations. Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted:
Upon reflection ... Gerald Green woulda been better off hanging onto scissors & dunking simple compared to success of cut-the-net plan— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 17, 2013
Unfortunately, there are limits to what the human body can do. No one is going to jump from the three-point line. No one is going to jump over the backboard from behind.
No one is going to do a forward-flip, mascot style, and flush the rock without the use of a trampoline. No one is going to dunk four basketballs on the same leap.
Jumping over a painting of yourself dunking a basketball? Yawn.
Jumping over a seated Mark Eaton? Jump over a standing Mark Eaton! Then we are talking.
Jumping over a ball boy? Put the ball boy on Mark Eaton’s shoulders, jump over both of them and I will be thoroughly impressed.
If anything, the dunk contest may not be the best event of the night.
You might hear some argument that the three-point contest actually has more drama than a guy missing six straight dunks and being awarded 30 consolation points for his efforts. The skills competition is also interesting, though it is hardly riveting to watch even for the diehard sports fan.
What if the NBA put on a few new events? Is there something else that could be interesting?
What about a select one-on-one competition? Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Charlotte Bobcats recently admitted (via CBS Sports) that Michael Jordan legitimately beat him while playing head-to-head.
If that is the case, put it on television; a few fans might want to see that. In fact, given the hoopla surrounding Jordan turning 50, why not have "His Airness" take on a few other stars or former greats?
How about a fashion show of current NBA stars? During the dunk contest, Charles Barkley was critiquing a number of outfits anyways, including the shirts worn by Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook. As tweeted Caliendo:
"Charles Barkley is really being careful about what he says." - said nobody ever#SpriteSlamDunkContest— Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) February 17, 2013
Chuck suggested that Wade was not wearing an attractive shirt, and wondered aloud what the shirt that Dwyane didn't buy looked like.
Why not set up a runway and have a select group of players show off their vests, sweaters and specialized sunglasses for the indoors? Sir Charles would have to be a judge.
Undoubtedly, the weekend festivities will likely continue into the future with a few more tweaks. However, if the NBA really wants to make this a better event, they might think about a revamp.
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