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From left: Jeremy Evans, Nick Cannon and Terrence Ross
From what I've been able to gather through Bleacher Report comments, many fans aren't pleased with the new Slam Dunk Contest format.
For those of you who haven't read the changes yet, the new format will include a "freestyle" and "battle" section. As CBS Sports' Royce Young writes:
The East is competing against the West, but within that the "freestyle" round includes 90 seconds for each conference's three dunkers to do as many dunks as they want/can. Which obviously opens the door to teamwork among the teams, and a bunch of creativity.
Next, the "battle" round, which is essentially a dunk-off between individual players from the East and West. So basically if (Terrence) Ross is taking on (Damian) Lillard, the two each perform a dunk, the judges vote and the loser is eliminated. The first team to win three "battles" wins the dunk contest.
Of course there will be an individual dunker recognized though, and that's where the fans come in. Through texting, Twitter, NBA.com and wherever else online, fans will vote for the MVP dunker, who will be crowned "Dunker of the Night."
Considering that the Dunk Contest is meant to pit the best individual dunkers against one another, it's understandable that fans will be upset about the Western Conference versus Eastern Conference aspect.
With that said, the contest has gotten a bit stale in recent years. I don't think anyone has fond memories of Chris "Birdman" Andersen throwing lob after lob after lob to himself, boring spectators into a coma-like stupor.
There's a chance that the "freestyle" round will free up more room for creativity, as Young writes, so we'll just have to wait and see whether this experimental change will work or not.
Personally, I just wish big-name superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant would compete for the dunk title like Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan did in the past. But LBJ insists he's "never been a dunk-contest guy."