The NBA All-Star Weekend concluded with a fury as the West All Stars defeated the East All Stars 148-143. But the real eye-opening performance was by Blake Griffin.
In fact, many argue 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.
Sure, Blake Griffin 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. That’s instead of 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.
But this was Blake Griffin’s night. That includes the advertisements leading up to the contest, all the way 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 still finished as the contest’s runner-up.
But the biggest disappointment in my eyes was the overall format of the contest itself. If we were to tweak the format in the future, perhaps I would be willing to embrace the Slam Dunk contest again.
A player gets 90 seconds to complete a dunk (without any penalty during a miss). That fact alone 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. I know it’s simply 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 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 receive 20 outs in the Home Run Derby? Yet, a guy like Ryan Braun is stuck with only ten?
Think of it from the standpoint of a player. He is there to have fun and embrace the moment. In a fair situation, a player’s career can receive a major boost 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. I instead look back and reminisce on the slam dunk contests owned by the likes of Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. Then, sheer, lethal aggression and supreme talent got the job done.
Not some little kid begging for his toy back. No glaringly obvious Kia advertisement staring us right in the face during the final round.
Perhaps it’s just gone stale for good in my eyes – and my eyes only?