Dunk you very little, NBA

Watching the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest has always been a tradition for me. I haven’t missed a single one in over twenty years. The names of former champions, Erving, Jordan, Ceballos, Nance, Carter, Wilkins and Webb ring proudly like a who’s who of elevator men. Their creativity, desire and athleticism was unrivaled in the years they were proudly crowned dunk kings. But things have changed in 2010. This weekend the contest flat out sucked and I’m the biggest NBA apologist out there.

I’ve alienated many a girlfriend on Valentine’s Days past, choosing to watch the Slam Dunk Contest over a romantic night out. Or I’d slyly try to work the competition into the evening. Sir, may we have a table for two… preferably with a tv in view? Oh, but come on, baby. It’s Dominique versus Michael!

You know what, though? They’d watch. Because back then it was exciting.

Look at the fans in those old videos. Heck, look at the players. They were on the edge of their seats, writhing with each performance. This Saturday, however, the fans didn’t rise. They didn’t OOH, they didn’t AHH and they didn’t high five. They appeared more interested in the nearest after-party which was undoubtedly more exciting.

Dwight Howard’s Superman cape was kitschy and I could watch 5-foot-9 Nate dunk for hours… but a three-time champion? That’s a slap in the face of his dunking forefathers.

I mean just look at this…

Something needs to be done to bring excitement back to the competition… and soon. I’m not saying participation should be mandatory but remember the eighth and final rule of Fight Club. If this is your first night at Fight Club… you have to fight. You can’t go down as one of the greatest dunkers of all-time without winning, or even participating in the contest. Listening LeBron?

I wrote last month that LeBron James let us all down by not participating and I meant every word of it. Twitter was flooded with disappointed fans blasting James for his disappearing act. Did he ever give us a reason for his absence? It wasn’t injury, was it? Has anyone actually ever been injured during the proceedings? I can see baseball players not wanting to participate in the Home Run Derby because it affects their swing but LeBron already dunks harder than anyone in the league anyway.

So suit up. LBJ could single-handedly revive the competition and make it the most watched All-Star weekend in history. We’re all craving it. Let us witness.

I’ve seen LeBron land dunks in the practice gym where he stands at the three-point line, throws the ball over the backboard high against the back wall. As the ball bounces back onto the court, LeBron catches it, windmills it and dunks it while his teammates gasp in awe. Even the McDonald’s marketing brass didn’t think of that for Michael and Larry back in the day. Maybe LeBron thought Bird was talking to him when he said “No dunking!”

After Saturday’s night’s lackluster competition, Kenny Smith said there is a D-League player that could do a legitimate 720-degree dunk. Like the rest of America, I asked myself WHY THE HECK IS THIS GUY NOT IN THE COMPETITION? Why were we just subjected to the b-version?

Here’s a suggestion. Have the NBDL guys square off against the NBA players. Or better yet, if the pros don’t want to get shown up… er, participate, just have NBDL players compete against the And-1 guys. I’m sure they’d LOVE to make a name for themselves in front of a national audience, particularly if it meant the possibility of securing an NBA contract. How long is Nate going to have to carry the crown?

Hey, I’m not bitter (yes, I am). But if the NBA’s not interested in keeping my attention, I can always find something better to do next Valentine’s Day. The Dunk Competition, albeit in the middle of an exhibition weekend, is still one of the NBA’s greatest traditions. If the league doesn’t do something about it soon, I won’t be the only one not watching.

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30 Replies to “Dunk you very little, NBA”

  1. In Summary: Stars. They need to be there and caring about this comp.

    LeBron James pulling out was a very weak move, one that was selfish when his fans would love to see him out there.

  2. Mook… maybe do like Major League Baseball does. Have designated reps from the East and West participate.

    I’m sure I’ll forgive LeBron but he just shouldn’t have said he was going to play, then backed out.

    Bad form.

  3. Now I’m no ESPN fan, but showing the top 10 dunks from the dunk contest the other day made the last few years look like a pile of re-vomitted dog vomit. Give me ‘Nique, Spud and VC any day of the week.

  4. I think they should let middle-aged fat people participate on trampolines. The train-wreck effect would make it an instant hit!

  5. Jon… I think every true fans feels the same way and that’s the problem.

    The NBA needs to do something to shake things up next year.

    Why watch the contest when we can all just go to youtube?

  6. Agreed, man. I can’t remember the last dunk contest I missed, or girlfriend that wasn’t into the elevation, but there have been many crappy, off years. Ever-changing rules and some creative wall can account for some of it, but last night was just plain embarrassing. Shame on the guys who came weak. And onBron Bron and the others who think they’re above this. You want to be the best? Act it!
    (I like the idea of opening it up to non-NBA players. How about the rising rim on a lift that Dwight used? I’d like to see who can go the highest….)

  7. These stars today are just too big headed. They think they are too good to take part. The passion isn’t there anymore. Maybe they need to award a large cash prize for these greedy dudes.

  8. I agree about the dunk contest. It was such a disappointment. Those dunks stunk worse than hot garbage on a summer morning.

    The NBA needs to do something. Force Lebron into the contest, raise the rim, bring in some D-League or And-1 guys…just do something!

    As for NASCAR, the only thing more disgraceful then NASCAR allowing that crappy track at Daytona to ruin their “Great American Race was listening to Chris Myers, Darryl Waltrip and the rest of the NASCAR apologists in the Fox Sports announcing booth. Sickening! Can’t they just say NASCAR dropped the ball by not repaving Daytona Speedway and letting the track fall into disrepair the way it has? I generally hate the Fox announcers for NASCAR but they really got on my nerves yesterday.

  9. Been a while big guy…felt like I had to post something after watching our Toronto boy lose the dunk contest. We were left disappointed in more ways than one that night.

    After watching nearly 20 dunk contests, the guy that seems to be overlooked is Jason Richardson. He was part Vince, part Dominique. I’m not saying he’s better but his performances warranted an honorable mention with some of the great dunkers you mentioned.

  10. Chris

    What can I take away from all of this as far as the NBA’s All Star Weekend was concerned ? Well having a prostate examination would have prove to have been far more exciting than any of the crap served up by the NBA ! And TNT televised this crap ?

    What with that and the Daytona 500 , well let’s just say that we’d have been better off watching paint dry !

    Alan Parkins

  11. Jeremy… It’s all good, man.

    Next time you roll into town, I’ll pop in Best Slam Dunks of the NBA, the one I got at that yard sale for 50 cents.

    You know how we do.

  12. Luca… I think the guys are generally interested in charity so maybe something along those lines.

    Now that I think of it, D Wade hasn’t participated in a dunk contest either. Hmmmmm.

    Howzabout a Wade-James dunk off.

    Get me the commissioner!

  13. Good point, Frank. I’m not sure which was more of an embarrassment. The Dunk contest sucking or Daytona not being able to get their track in order.

    I didn’t listen to too much of the broadcast but you’re right, it would have been cool, and in order, for one of the announcers to blast the track.

    God forbid they say something bad about their beloved Daytona.

  14. You’re right, Dan. Richardson had, and still has, some hops.

    I’m actually disappointed DeRozan didn’t win as I had him at +500 to win the tourney.

    Not that I condone gambling or anything.

  15. Chris

    I’d dare not tell you the things I’d tend to do when it concerns Alicia Keys. Suffice to say when it involves the intimacy of a female present, strawberries and cream. Well one tends to have a wail of a time !

    100,000 people turned up to have their brains turned to mush and little close to 150,000 plus were in Daytona to see 43 cars drive over a friggin’ pot-hole. Call that sports entertainment ? More bull_hit on a stick !

    NASCAR’s hierarchy much like the NBA’s is a complete joke ! The fans were sold a bill of goods and they were dumb enough to buy into it all. Jerry Jones made out like a thief in the night off that sole spectacle. And the same can be said of NASCAR !

    Alan Parkins

  16. The entire contest was pathetic. As a NBA fan, I was left feeling empty when it was all over.

    If all star weekend is about the fans and putting on a show for the fans, then the top stars need to step up and dunk.

  17. Hey, Al, at least the race fans in attendance got their money’s worth if you break their time in the stands down by what they paid by the minute.

    From what I’ve heard about Daytona, I’m sure the majority of them were lit up on Busch anyway.

  18. EASports… Well said. I was definitely left wanting more.

    They hyped it up plenty but didn’t need to. Guys like you and me watch it every year.

    As it turns out, they should have worried more about content rather than marketing.

  19. Bring on James White he will take the dunk contest to another level. I even doubt LBJ could win over him. The guy could literally do a free throw under the leg dunk.

  20. James White was actually a student of mine when I taught at Florida (and before he transferred to Cincy). Nice kid, kind of quiet unless around his friends, soft spoken but did well in Public Speaking class. He did a persuasive speech on why college athletes should be paid (which is why he transferred to play for Bob Thuggins I guess). If he just had a better handle and outside shot he’d be an offensive force because he is quick, explodes to the basket and has hops like no one I’ve ever seen. Some of the dunks I saw him do during game warm-ups at the O’Connell Center would have won this weekends dunk contest easily! Although, that’s not saying much.

  21. I remember White. We all expected big things out of him. Turns out David Lee was the better player.

    Nice to see Lee and Horford shoring up the low post for the East in the All-Star game, huh?

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