Based on the talent level and dunking ability of the 2010 NBA Dunk Contest’s four participants, it appeared 30 minutes of my evening would be well-spent.
Instead, it was comically awful and nearly a complete waste of my time.
Gerald Wallace looked disinterested.
Shannon Brown, also a first-time participant, didn’t live up to the hype. Following his boring one-handed slams, the joke “Don’t Let Shannon Dunk” (mocking his website, LetShannonDunk.com) was rampant around the web.
Even Nate Robinson, a two-time champ, was boring. The only dunker that kept me from changing the channel was my pick, rookie DeMar DeRozan .
DeRozan, a 20-year old, 6′7″ small forward for the Toronto Raptors who could dunk when he was 11, didn’t wow the crowd with his first dunk (a cliche, between-the-legs reverse).
But he made a few jump out of their seats with an incredible windmill throw-down after receiving a pass from Sonny Weems that ricocheted off the side of the backboard.
His third dunk wasn’t televised live because the camera was inexplicably focused on a subdued Wallace.
He jumped over Weems, propelling himself over his teammate for an exciting jam, but the replays didn’t do it justice.
There was little crowd noise.
None of the star players watching from the sidelines were forced out of their seats in amazement as so many other Dunk Contests have done. And no one is impressed with Nate Robinson anymore.
He won in 2006 and last year because of his dunks, but more so because of his 5′8″ frame.
In 2006, when Andre Iguodala had the title wrongfully stolen from him, the fans, judges and analysts were stunned by Robinson’s leaping ability given his compact and short frame.
By now, everyone is used to him. The simplest dunk wouldn’t warrant a perfect 50 like in 2006. Therefore, without much creativity, the crowd remained relatively lifeless, both during and after his dunks.
He tried to liven up the crowd by doing something that had nothing to do with dunking—bringing sex appeal into the contest by telling the five Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in attendance to cheer him on by shaking their pom-poms.
I, and presumably everyone else, believed he would line them up in a row facing the basket and jump over them, but no such thing was done.
It was for pure advertisement purposes and probably not just Robinson’s decision, but it was fitting. The dunk contest wasn’t exciting, so why not try to instill some excitement? It was a desperate ploy and, deservedly, it didn’t work.
What did make the contest worthwhile was the TNT commentators, especially the ever-entertaining Charles Barkley. He has always been outspoken and controversial, but nothing like this.
First off, he sounded intoxicated, and his comments backed it up. Some things he said were either random, made little sense, or were just plain ludicrous.
But his displeasure for this particular dunk contest was widespread.
With Robinson and DeRozan awaiting the final decision, Barkley could be heard saying “Maybe no one will win.”
If anyone deserved to, it was DeRozan, who did a few creative dunks (receiving a perfect 50 on one) and fueled the only jubilant reactions from the crowd. Not only was this the worst dunk contest I have ever witnessed, but the only dunker that deserved the title lost 51-49 to the more popular player.
One of my twitter followers, Debra31098, said, “I want my half-hour back.”
Despite DeRozan’s somewhat energizing performance and the comments by Barkley, I do too. I never thought I would have to say that when referring to the Slam Dunk Contest.
Hopefully changes (added players and more creativity) are on the horizon. If not, it still can’t get much worse.