Blake Griffin: Can He Rescue The Slam Dunk Contest?

Joseph ManuelContributor IFebruary 18, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks the ball against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 9, 2011 in New York City. 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. The Clippers defeated the Knicks 116-108.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

So it's to come to this. The dark ages, if you will.

With all hate aside, Mr. Robinson can rise, but really, a three-time champion?

It ain't what it used to be. Especially after last year's snoozer, where Shannon Brown apparently studied old tapes of Jerry Stackhouse in Oakland back in 2000.

Now, however, we are all free from Nate Dogg and his gimmicks (remember those Kryptonite shoes?). To reiterate, Nate Robinson hailing as a three-time champion is straight-up wack. Almost as wack as Dwight Howard allowing Nate to jump over him back in '09, metaphorically letting the judges know that, when it comes to this leaping business, Robinson will always be higher than Dwight.

But back to the task at hand. Of course, there has to be a rub. The gates have been opened, and a kid who was nursing a busted knee this time last year is now in the running to be the new jumpman.

No, not you Greg Oden.

Enter Blake Griffin, who boasts a YouTube video with more than a million hits that features him absolutely shitting on the Knicks. 

But the rub has a way of making people ignore it when it is convenient. It knows how to whisper to those who will hear it.

So now, submitted for your approval, is a simple question: Can Blake Griffin save the Dunk Contest?

Of course, he has to win it first. But if he does, can he rescue us mortals from the tyranny of bad props and tasteless flavor for years to come?

Let's take a journey. Griffin is more Tim Duncan than you would imagine: He leaves the emotions at home, tucked away in a safe in that hidden room of his closet.

Sometimes he'll give a slight grin, but for the most part, his demeanor matches his physique—stony.

But can a stony Clipper rock Los Angeles?

Griffin lacks the image of the (shudder) champs of recent years—which is a good thing. Maybe he can let his hops and technique do the talking, instead of cupcakes, retro jerseys and phone booths.

Maybe he can bring the fans out of their seats, and drop 50s like he was The Game.

And maybe, just maybe, he can bring the word "contest" back into the whole debacle. Calling it the "Sprite Slam Dunk" sounds more like an energy drink than the highlight of the festivities.

But the rub, there it is again, floating like a butterfly. And as we all know, floating like a butterfly wouldn't be complete without its evil twin.

And the part about stinging like a bee?

Well, Blake Griffin isn't a guard. He's far from it. He's a 6'10" power forward with muscles on his muscles. And, by examining past occurrences, it's safe to determine that big men just can't bring it in the Contest like the smaller cats.

Amar'e Stoudamire? Yeah, his bits with Nasty Nash were nice, but they didn't result in the trophy.

The Birdman? Uh, that free throw alley-oop would have been cool if we didn't have to see it being attempted 47 times.

Shawn Kemp? Dee Brown stole that show, and had everybody pretending to pump their kicks when they were throwing down on lowered, seven-foot hoops (even if they weren't rocking Reebok Pumps).

The list goes on and on. Johnathon Bender, Stromile Swift, even Ralph Sampson. And yeah, Josh Smith is 6'9" but he sure as hell doesn't look or play like he's 6'9".

All right, we see you Larry Nance, but that was what, 27 years ago?

Oh, and yeah, there's Dwight Howard, but, as you can probably tell, my sentiments toward his Dunk Contest outings are as garbage as his free throws.

So, with all that aside, can a kid who practically silenced John Wall's ROY campaign and can't make a decent commercial (just ignore his Subway bit) help us get the carbonation back in the Sprite Slam Dunk (Contest)?

Just a plea, really. And not to sleep on DeMar Derozan, Javale McGee, and Serge Ibaka (Props for banging on Okafor!) but the NBA needs Blake Griffin to tear this contest apart. To bring it back to the good days of giving shot blockers nightmares and making us forget about Freddie Weis.

Oh, and of course, leaving all that gimmicky shit at home.