On Saturday, February 15, the NBA All-Star John Wall made history in the dunk contest, becoming the first Washington Wizard to win the competition. Numerous reports attack this year’s dunk contest as being subpar, with a new complicated system that left the contestants and fans wanting more, and melodramatic presentations from the contestants. Wall, a first time All-Star, was with the first franchise Slam Dunk winner for the Washington Wizards, making history along-side the new dunk contest format.
Over the past decade and a half, the NBA has reformed the Dunk Contest format several times. This is party due for the need of its revitalization and the aim to produce the best performance possible by the contestants. This year format change facilitated the East versus West spirit of the All-Star games, grouping pairs of players to their conference and having them compete together. There was also three judges this year, Laker’s legend Magic Johnson, legendary dunkers Philadelphia 76er Julius Erving and Atlanta Hawk Dominique Wilkins.
The first round of the Dunk Contest was an East versus West showcasing of three versus three players, who worked together to showcase their group choreography skills. This section of the contest has been dubbed the “freestyle” competition, giving teams a chance to work together with less pressure than being out there alone. Layup line drills mixed with Globetrotter acrobatics, the East prevailed over the West.
Terrance Ross from the Toronto Raptors began their line by throwing the ball off the backboard to Wall, who then after catching the ball mid jump passed it to Indiana Pacer Paul George, bouncing the ball off the shot clock as an alley-oop pass to George, who windmilled it home. John Wall and his Eastern Conference teammates made history in the Dunk Contest, becoming the first winners of the new NBA All-Star “freestyle” format. The round was harshly judge by critics who argued the concept failed to produce consistency, as the West failed in their choreography.
After winning the first contest, the East and West would match up again, this time each player showcasing one dunk at a time. The Western Conference contestants consisted of Ben McLemore from the Sacramento Kings, Harrison Barnes from the Golden State Warriors, and Damian Lillard from the Portland Trailblazers. The philosophy behind the last round was that whichever conference became the first to beat their counterparts three times won the contest; however if the teams were in a tie, the dunks would keep going until there was a deciding winner.
When a team pulled ahead, the other team would have a chance to match. The belief was the dunk contest could merit more rounds of spectacular dunks, if the competition was close. The East decidedly steam rolled over the West, defeating them in both rounds with 3-0 sweeps. At the end of this round, after the East was declared the winner, fans were invited to text in who they believed was the “slam dunker of the night,” Wall with a two handed reverse dunk over the Wizard’s G-Man mascot took home this accolade.
Most experts and sports fans agreed, that they would like to have seen one more round of dunks showcasing the winning conference going head to head against each other. Paul George Terrence Ross and John Wall were undoubtable the best dunkers on the court, seeing them going head to head would of been analogous to the old system showcasing each player going at one another comparing each of the game’s best dunkers. Regardless of the format controversy in this years contest, John Wall made NBA All-Star history by becoming the first Washington Wizard Dunk Contest champion, competing in a controversial novel format.
Editorial By Zane Foley