Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Opinion: R.I.P. NBA Slam Dunk contest

Dear NBA,

Once a staple of the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, the Slam Dunk Contest is a shell of its former self, and is no longer watchable. Unless the NBA makes some drastic changes to the format and gets some big-name participants, the Slam Dunk Contest is as good as dead.

First of all, the dunk contest should have at least one star player in it each year.  Out of the four players who were in it this year, the only semi-recognizable name was 5-foot-9-inch New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson, and that’s only because he had won the contest two times before. Another participant, Gerald Wallace, was probably the best overall player entered in the contest, but because he plays for the Charlotte Bobcats, pretty much nobody aside from die-hard NBA fans or people living in Charlotte had heard of him.

The other two entrants, Shannon Brown and DeMar DeRozan, possessed very little star quality. Imagine how excited people would get if they heard LeBron James or Dwayne Wade were participating in the dunk contest. Viewership would go through the roof if people would tune in just to see what kind of dunks those two freakishly athletic players could pull off.  I believe that a player like James, Wade, or Kobe Bryant should be forced by Commissioner David Stern to be in at least one dunk contest.  They could even tweak the format to allow the other participants to dunk against each other for a chance to go against the star player in the final round, and give James or Wade an automatic berth in the finals of the competition. All the NBA needs is pretty much one year where a player with the star power of Dwight Howard or LeBron James participates, and the contest would more than likely be re-energized and be somewhat relevant again.  Michael Jordan competed in three, so why can’t LeBron find the time for just one?

If the stars aren’t going to come out to compete, at least make the participants do creative dunks. This year, with the exception of one dunk from DeRozan, and a dunk where Nate Robinson bought the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders onto the court, the dunks were below-average and lacked creativity and style. Wallace and Brown did average dunks that never got the crowd excited.

Before the contest, there was actually a website called “letshannondunk.com” that hyped Shannon Brown as being the best participant and all but guaranteed a victory in this contest. However, after his disappointing third-place finish, I think the more appropriate website would be “pleasedontletshannondunk.com.”

Ex-Celtic Gerald Green had one of the more creative dunks in the 2008 contest, when he put a lit candle in a cupcake and then proceeded to blow the candle out while still managing to dunk the ball.  And even the casual basketball fan has to remember 2008, when Dwight Howard donned a Superman cape while dunking and flying through the air. Dunks that are creative and well-thought out will likely be talked about for years to come.

Finally, make the prize money go to a good cause. With the average NBA player making millions of dollars to play a sport that they’re naturally talented at, it doesn’t make much sense to reward the champion with even more money. The NBA should instead donate that prize money to a charity. Donating the money to charity may entice bigger name players to come forward and participate because they know their efforts are going to a good cause.

These are just some of the ways the NBA can save the contest from an almost certain death.  If things aren’t improved, the dunk contest runs the risk of becoming irrelevant, just like the NFL Pro Bowl. So LeBron, Dwayne, and Kobe, if you guys are reading this (and why wouldn’t you be?), PLEASE enter the dunk contest next year. Thanks.

Love,

Alex.

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Opinion: R.I.P. NBA Slam Dunk contest