The NBA All-Star Weekend concluded yesterday with a fury as the West All Stars defeated the East All Stars 148-143.
But many were quick to argue and promote that the biggest highlight of the weekend was the “return” of the Slam Dunk Contest, after years of falling far into a chasm of basketball mediocrity.
After careful consideration of this – and a review of many of the dunks a second time around – I’ve yet to share the same opinion and enthusiasm.
To me, the Slam Dunk Contest is still stale bread in a sea of mouthwatering baguettes.
Blake Griffin may have managed to complete a contest-clinching jam by jumping over the hood of a car, but all the hype leading up to it was watered down by a WWE-like introduction and a choir performing at center court. It left me feeling like I was staring down a performance at Chuck E. Cheese’s, as opposed to watching an earth-shattering dunk that would immediately force my body into a standing ovation.
There were also some impressive dunks by Washington Wizards seven-footer JaVale McGee, who came to perform, and made the finals.
But the night was prepared for Blake Griffin – and it was from the get-go – from the advertisements leading up to the contest, to the final fan vote.
With a fan vote coming down to Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee, do we really feel that the unknown McGee even had a snowman’s chance in hell? The guy could’ve slammed down 9 basketballs while simultaneously reviving Lindsay Lohan’s career, and he still would’ve finished as the contest’s runner-up.
But perhaps the biggest disappointment in my eyes was the overall format of the contest itself – and if this were to be tweaked in the future – maybe I would be more than willing to embrace the Slam Dunk contest again.
The fact that a player gets 90 seconds to complete a dunk – only to not be penalized in any way during a miss – is a complete joke. When a guy like Blake Griffin can manage a 49 score (out of 50), when he completes a dunk on the seventh try, is beyond me. And yes, I realize that this is simply a contest for the entertainment of those that view it in person, or on national television.
Each failed attempt should involve some kind of penalty, perhaps in the form of one point being deducted for each miss during the time allotted.
Is giving chance after chance for the player that everyone wants to win really all that fair? Should Ryan Howard and Alex Rodriguez get 20 outs in the Home Run Derby, while a guy like Ryan Braun only gets ten?
Think of it from the standpoint of a player. While he is there to have fun and embrace the moment, in a fair situation, a player’s career can be boosted to a new level if he were to win. Would any of us have heard of Harold Miner – a.k.a. “Baby Jordan” – if it weren’t for the Slam Dunk Contest?
Perhaps I’m just like the old man at his own birthday party that doesn’t want to blow out one candle, let alone fifty. Perhaps nothing will make me happy, and I instead look back and reminisce on the slam dunk contests owned by the likes of Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, where sheer, lethal aggression and supreme talent got the job done.
Not some little kid begging for his toy back, or a glaringly obvious Kia advertisement being plastered right under the hoop during the final round.
Perhaps it’s just gone stale for good in my eyes – and my eyes only?