In theory, the new format the NBA implemented for the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was supposed to make things more exciting. By having the dunkers “battle” we would get to see multiple “finals” and matchups of multiple contestants. By dividing them into teams, under the guise of charity, we would see some cooperative competition. The 90-second freestyle portion would be a warm up, for the main event, multiple matchups for the dunk title.
Then the contest happened.
The 90-second freestyle session was a bore. A series of awkward alley oops and dunks that have been done in game. The East at least tried to mix it up, with NBA Street style “Gamebreaker” dunks that featured multiple lobs, except those guys don’t jump 20 feet in the air and the ball wasn’t glowing and the rim didn’t explode. The highlights of this “round” included a dunk where Paul George jumped high, another where Ben McLemore jumped high and Damian Lillard’s between the legs dunk that was fun because “short guy dunked.”
Fine, I can live with this. We got to see them warm up, with uniforms on and music playing and a timer, cool, whatever. Time for the main event
*Birdman hand rub*
Things got off to a fair enough start; Damian Lillard missed his first try (a recurring theme here) but eventually got down a decent 360-ish dunk. Returning champion Terrence Ross brought out Drake as a prop and put down a between the legs dunk.
“Oooooh, that was decent. Now let’s see what Lillard responds with.”
Well, see, what had happened was. The way my dunk contest is set up.
Then Nick Cannon walked over to judge Dominque Wilkins, and asked him who won?
“WAIT, WHAT? THAT’S IT? ONE DUNK?!??
Boom, Lillard is eliminated, bye Damian Lillard and all your small man novelty, thanks for that dunk. With nary a scorecard, or a score for that matter, the contest was almost over. Judges were holding up tablets that said East and we were on to the next “battle.”
Instead of the promise of multiple matchups and the tension of multiple eliminations, we got a clean sweep for the East, no memorable dunks and an ending to the contest that nobody knew happened.
“Wait, it’s over? Why aren’t those guys dunking now?”
So, yeah, if you missed the dunk contest, you didn’t miss the dunk contest. The only dunk truly worth telling your kids about years from now, maybe, was John Wall’s over-the-mascot double-clutch reverse dunk that won him the title of “2014 Sprite Slam Dunker of the Night.”
Adam Silver, I know you are new at this job, but here is a little bit of advice:
WE WANT TO SEE AS MANY DUNKS AS POSSIBLE. WE WANT FIVE OLD GUYS TO TELL US A SCORE FOR THE DUNK. WE WANT LITTLE PAPERS THAT SAY “10” ON THEM THAT WE CAN HOLD UP WHEN WE LIKE A DUNK.
WE DON’T WANT THIS. Ever Again.
Worst dunk contest, ever.
Gotty Note 1: As much as we want to blame LeBron and other stars for the Dunk Contest overall suckage, some of the blame goes to the league as well. Darren Rovell’s tweets yesterday pointed out the flawed financial aspects of the event.
Gotty Note 2: Any dance move where you feel the need to yell out a “Yaaaaas!! Honey! Werk!” is probably a little too tutti fruity for one grown man to be doing. Two grown men – and a mascot – doing it together is definitely walking a real fine line.