Dunk Contest Downfall

Mike Nicolini

Every year, fans vote for NBA players they want to see in the All Star Game on Sunday night. However, during All Star weekend, Saturday night is always looked at as the most exciting with the Slam Dunk Contest, 3 point competition and skills challenge.

The Dunk Contest was always the more anticipated and most watched event, which was why it was always saved for last. However, that may be changing as the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest has taken a turn for the worse over recent years.

This contest is supposed to be between the best dunkers in professional basketball. However, these last few years, players who are not very well-known are beginning to participate. One question keeps arising, “where are the stars?”

All of the great dunkers in history have participated and won the dunk contest such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and most recently Blake Griffin. This past weekend, six players by the names of Jeremy Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Kenneth Faried, Gerald Green, Terrence Ross, and James White participated. With all due respect to those individuals, these players put together what might have been the worst dunk contest in history. Granted there will never be another dunk contest quite like the one in 2000 where Vince Carter defied the laws of gravity on every dunk, or when Michael Jordan dunked from the free throw line, but this was inexcusable.

One solution to the downfall of a once must-watched contest could be getting the stars back in the event. For instance, the best player in the NBA right now, Lebron James, and human highlight film Blake Griffin could make this entertaining once again.

However, Lebron James, one of the best dunkers in professional basketball has not participated in a dunk contest yet in his career. Even after announcing he would join on national television, he later went against his word and did not join the following year.

During All Star weekend in Houston, Lebron tweeted, “Dunk Contest?” giving fans false hope that maybe he would participate and make it exciting; instead, once again Lebron mocked the contest by not participating.

David Stern and the rest of the NBA executives have until next year to figure out a way to save the dunk contest, whether it be adding a cash prize to the winner or to a charity of their choice. But something needs to be done.

The 2014 All Star weekend will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, which will hopefully host an exciting dunk contest and maybe the likes of Lebron James.