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2013 Slam Dunk Contest: Once-Spectacular Event Has Lost Its Luster

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 16:  Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors celebrates after winning the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest part of 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Toyota Center on February 16, 2013 in Houston, Texas. 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
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 17, 2013

It was 10 years ago that former Golden State Warrior Jason Richardson won his second Slam Dunk Contest in as many years.

That would end up being the last time we saw true greatness in the event.

Headed into the 2013 Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday, some believed it would be one of the better showcases in recent years, with contenders such as 2007 champion Gerald Green and YouTube sensation James White headlining the list of participants.

So much for that.

While there were indeed some fine dunks last night, there were also 36 missed dunks (The Tallahassee Democrat's Corey Clark noted that contestants shot under 30 percent on dunks for the night, via Deadspin.com).

The Toronto Raptors' Terrence Ross had some impressive dunks (including a tribute to Vince Carter's electrifying display in 2000), but he also missed on a great deal of attempts before finally slamming it home (he missed five times on his first attempt of the night).

Oddly enough, he was the champion of the contest this year, because basically everyone else missed dunks regularly.

One of the biggest problems with the Slam Dunk Contest is the format, which has led to speculation about potential solutions.

As Marcus Thompson of Bay Area News Group suggested, contestants should be allowed one missed dunk per turn, then should lose one point off their final score for each successive missed dunk. These contestants presumably know what they're going to do before the competition, so there should be no way they miss more than once or twice per turn. 

We all want to see some captivating dunks, which is why there should be some leeway for misses, but when a player misses four or five times before he actually slams one home, the crowd is basically half-dead by the time he jams it in.

Players like Carter and Richardson were so good that they didn't need that many attempts to shock the world, but—and this points to another problem in the contest—there are fewer actual All-Stars that compete in the event these days, leaving it up to bench-warmers and bit players.

We all would have drooled at the chance to see LeBron James and Blake Griffin duke it out, or Paul George challenge Kevin Durant (curiously enough, George was in the three-point contest instead, where he performed poorly).

But, for whatever reason, the actual All-Stars aren't that excited about the contest anymore. It's a shame because the event loses its star power in the process and leaves it up to some players who have hardly sniffed the court this season.

A change in the scoring system, coupled with more All-Stars, would go a long way in reviving the Slam Dunk Contest.

 

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