Basketball experts and fans agree, the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest has been disgraced, with the refusal of the league’s best dunkers to participate. In 2011, announcer Kenny Smith’s voice rang over the television with the words, “the dunk contest is back!” when Blake Griffin and Javale McGee put on a show, as two of the leagues best dunkers went head to head. Griffin provided the edge for the win, when he and then teammate Baron Davis, completed an alley-oop, out-of-the sunroof pass, to an over the hood dunk on a 2011 Kia Optima.
It is not like the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was put on hold for a number of years and returned, rather the dunk contest in recent history has known to been turned down by the leagues best dunkers, making for a melodramatic contest.
Campaigns by fans have been seen across the internet for All-Star players like Lebron James and even for a return from Blake Griffin. Lebron critics keep reiterating that all of the all-time greats have competed and won the dunk contest, starting with Julius Erving in the 1976 ABA All-Star game. James has responded saying if he were to participate in the contest, it would because he wants too, not because somebody else does.
Players and coaches usually see the All-Star weekend as a break from the strenuous season, giving players a breather from media and the physical demands of basketball. Fans however, relish in the opportunity to see the leagues best players compete in various challenges. Competitions range from Rising Star Game, a game showcasing the league’s rising rookie and sophomore players, to a skills challenge dedicated to illustrating the wizardry of the league’s top ball handling point guards. A three point shoot out, is also conducted by the league’s beyond-the-arc aces. As with the All-Star Game, these contest are designed to give the fans the most palpable experience, with the NBA’s best players participating in their specialized area.
It becomes apparently frustrating to fans, when the league’s best athletes disgrace the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, by not participating. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Julius Erving, who were all known for their spectacular dunks and championship rings, have all won the dunk contest. Advocates of the contest ask players like Lebron James, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin to give the NBA fans a showcase of the leagues talent, and subsequently revitalize the dunk contest. These players often preform amazing dunks in the season and lead the league in the most dunks category.
Terrence Ross, of the Toronto Raptors currently holds the NBA All-Star slam dunk champion crown. Although Ross scored 51 points last night against the Clippers, a game they lost, he does not even come close to the dunking numbers of the players listed above. In fact in his 51 point game last night, he made 10 three pointers and not a single slam dunk.
Basketball fans may get their first glimpse of DeAndre Jordan in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest this year, however the same can not be said for Miami All-Star Lebron James. Lebron haters will argue he has disgraced the all time greats by not following in their footsteps. If the refusal of the league’s best dunkers to participate persists, the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will continue to be disgraced. A contest that once showcased the spirit of the league’s most competitive above the rim athletes.
By Zane Foley