There was no LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant or Dwyane Wade at the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Those are the biggest names in the sport, yet all of them, and every other star, sat back and differed again to the high-flying youngsters to put on a show.
Their absence is just the beginning of the problem for a competition that once again has drawn the ire of the sports world.
Sure, giving young up-and-comers the chance to shine is certainly a valuable endeavor. However, the event takes place during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend and features no All-Stars.
Still, this situation gets even worse.
There were a total of 36 missed dunks for the 2013 competition. Tallahassee Democrat's Corey Clark pointed out a deeper meaning of that futility by this year’s dunkers (via Twitter):
@deadspin and there were only 15 made dunks - so those guys shot less than 30 percent in a dunk contest!— Corey Clark/TDO.com (@Corey_Clark) February 17, 2013
While some of these dunks pushed the envelope and were executed with a high level of difficulty, they weren’t impossible. The dunks that were made, with a few exceptions, didn’t jump off the screen and “wow” us.
It was a fun night overall, but what’s the point when contestants can continue to attempt the same dunk, miss after miss, and still record a perfect score on the scoreboard?
Were we spoiled by witnessing the rise of Air Jordan during the 1988 dunk contest?
Are our collective expectations set too high in expecting to see the best in the game soaring above the rim and shattering our memories?
I don’t think so. I don’t think we’re asking too much to be entertained by a company that gets our passion, attention and money.
Next year, and in future years, the NBA needs to bring at least two or more superstars into the fold in order to keep us engaged and bring back the legitimacy of the event.
How many more “worst ever” NBA slam dunk competitions are you willing to sit through before you’ve had enough?