Another NBA All-Star weekend has come and gone, so of course there is a lot of talk about fixing the NBA Dunk Contest. The same types of complaints are being voiced by fans around the world, such as there are no stars, the dunks are not unique and there are too many misses. Instead of complaining about how things are, here are a few ideas to inject life into the dunk contest.
For starters, there really should be no issue with non-stars in the dunk contest. After all, it is not as though Spud Webb, Dee Brown, Desmond Mason, Harold Miner, Brent Barry and Kenny Walker did a ton in actual games to be considered stars and would not get near most fantasy basketball lineups. Some of the best dunkers in the NBA are in fact role players, with James White and Gerald Green being among those men. Neither one met expectations on Saturday, which meant that fans were forced to watch Jeremy Evans go up against Terrence Ross in the finals.
Instead of focusing on who is in the contest, the format needs to shy away from the hoopla and over-production of dunks. Blake Griffin’s dunk over the hood of a Kia was more of a NBA All-Star advertisement than it was a truly difficult dunk. Players are more athletic than ever, and fans should not have to be distracted to make things look more impressive than they are.
The format is pretty tiresome right now as well, with four of the six dunk contest participants only getting two dunks to try and advance to the finals. In the past, dunkers would need to complete nine different dunks to win the title due to the rounds. While White and Green both came up short, the fact that they only were able to get the chance to dunk twice is pure robbery for the fans. They should get to see a lot more dunks from the participants, instead of rushing them off the court so quickly.
If the dunk contest was stripped down a bit and went back to just showing off creativity in the air, the NBA would likely see general feedback return to being more positive. There are limits for the human body that will prevent athletes from pulling off anything truly unique, but different twists and other factors can still make things intriguing. For those who insist on only the stars participating, the NBA would have to seriously increase the incentives.