Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, Paul George and Iman Shumpert. Seriously?
The NBA couldn’t even get the best player from the city hosting the All-Star Game to participate. They couldn’t get a former dunk contest champion. They couldn’t even get “Superman”.
You have…..1 unheard voice message…..”Hey Dwight, it’s David Stern. Uh, listen…I know you are probably going to bolt from the Magic Kingdom after the season, but could you help an old buddy out and at least give Magic fans the feeling that there’s still a 1% chance you are going to return by demolishing 3 scrubs in the dunk contest next week? Thanks Dwight, call me back ASAP.”
Press SEVEN to erase this message *beep*.
I don’t think that call was returned. Nor do I think it was even made. What incentive does any player have to go out there and potentially injure himself by trying to do some crazy dunk? None. But what incentive did Dr. J, MJ, Kobe, and Vince Carter have? They wanted to be the best, no matter what the competition was.
But when you look up and down the list of players who have won the 26 dunk contests, you see the star quality of the winners fade. From 1984-1992 you had future hall of famers and solid players participating/winning the contest. After that, there were the occasional rookie/second year potential stars, filling out the contest. Once the NBA realized that it had America, and more importantly, the sponsors hooked, where was the need to pressure superstars into doing something they didn’t really care about?
Since a young Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter won the contest back-to back, the mish mosh of players to win has been pretty bad. Nate Robinson has won 3 times. He has been looked at as the modern-day Spud Webb for his 5-9 stature. Congrats Nate. You have an incredible vertical jump, but like most of the other competitors, I don’t care about you. You are irrelevant. Fred Jones, I couldn’t even name a team you were on, which is incredible since you were on 5 of them in like 8 years. Gerald Green is probably more famous as being the 47th guy the Celtics traded to the T-Wolves for Kevin Garnett back in 2007.
Ever since “Vinsanity” took over in 2000, Jason Richardson, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Josh Smith are the only “real” players who have won the contest. It’s flat-out pathetic, that guys who are selected as “All-Stars” aren’t even the ones participating in the contest. That’s like having the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star game consist of backup catchers and middle infielders.
If you can’t get the top stars to participate in the premier exhibition at the All-Star Game, it’s time to scrap it. Premadonnas rule the NBA and ruins the product. If I can’t see LeBron James appease his millions of fans by attempting a 360 degree windmill tomahawk jam, then the hell with the contest. I’m sick of watching a bunch of no-names throw down mediocre dunks. Or even worse, throw 15 self passes that bounce off the mark.
This is the phone call that needs to be made to save the best exhibition at any of the All-Star Games…
LeBron: Yo’, sup’ commish?
Stern: LeBron, I’ve got a business proposal.
LeBron: A what? A business proposal? Is this legal under the new CBA?
Stern: Listen LeBron. I’m asking you, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, Russel Westbrook, D-Wade, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Gerald Wallace to be entire field of this year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
LeBron: Woah, commish, I don’t know. I’m pretty banged up and was looking to rest my knees.
Stern: Winner takes all $5 million
LeBron: I’m listening…
Stern: Fans vote the seeding. 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 vs 5. Three dunks in each round. Out score your opponent to move on.
LeBron: I’m calling my agent….
Make it happen David Stern. Make it happen. If not, maybe it’s time to scrap the dunk contest?