One of the biggest draws of NBA All-Star Saturday Night is the annual Sprite Slam Dunk contest, even if the contest has failed to live up to fan’s expectations in the last few years. It has slowly gone downhill. After a while, there was too more emphasis on what prop a person could use instead of the actual dunk itself — I’m looking at you Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Gerald Green — leaving fans wanting something more.
In the ’80s, stars like Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb and Michael Jordan brought the popularity to an all-time high. The ’90s brought dunks like Dee Brown‘s blinded attempt, Cedric Ceballos‘ blindfolded dunk, Isaiah Rider‘s between-the-legs dunk (also know as “The Eastbay”), Brent Barry‘s take off from the free throw line and lastly, the onslaught of dunks that Kobe Bryant gave to us in 1997.
After a two-season grace period without a contest, Vince Carter re-introduced the world to the contest in a way that only someone nicknamed “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” could. No matter who gets chosen this season, I doubt anyone touches VC’s performance from Oakland in 2000. However, for this year’s festivities in Houston, the NBA has elected Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat as captains for All-Star Saturday Night. I like this idea and have hope that Wade and Paul will do a greater job of selecting the right players to take part in the action than the NBA has done in the past.
In case two of the best players in the league are unsure of whom to pick to participate in the dunk contest, I have put together a list of players who would be the ideal selections and have proven so during the first half of this season. These are four players that will not only bring excitement and popularity back to the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, but they are also pure dunkers in the truest form.
*** *** ***
1. JAMES WHITE, New York Knicks
When your nickname is “Flight” you should be an automatic shoe-in for any dunk contest, anywhere in the world. White was an Internet sensation before YouTube was created in 2005. He made a name for himself at the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest in 2001 and brought his athleticism and creativity to many a Midnight Madness at Florida and Cincinnati, and then again to the NCAA College Slam Dunk contest in 2006. Plus, it sounds like D-Wade already has White on his radar.