This year's All Star Slam Dunk Contest did not live up to the hype. The NBA needs to make sure it includes participants who actually want to...participate.
If you watched All Star Saturday Night, chances are you were disappointed in what you saw. Paul Pierce winning the 3 Point Shooutout? Deron Williams was obviously palming the ball as he dribbled through the Skills Challenge obstacle course. The run-of-the-mill dunks in the Slam Dunk Contest were just the icing on the cake.
Congratulations to Nate Robinson for becoming the first ever 3-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner. Although his dunks were not up to par, they were better than the dunks executed by Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace, and DeMar Derozan. Plus, he brought out the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
Unfortunately, Nate won by default. Because all of the other participants were scared to miss (Brown), did not want to dunk (Wallace), or were too nervous (Derozan), Robinson was able to claim another title. It's hard to blame Nate for his lack of creativity, this being his third time but the other guys were holding back. In a competition like this, the dunker needs to do something to draw attention from the crowd immediately. Brown was saving his jump over 7-foot Lakers center DJ Mbenga for the second round but forgot he had to make it out of the first. This is the NBA, leave it all out there. Like the guys do in the D-League Dunk Contest...
Although the dunks this year failed to produce the memories of past contests, there is no need to panic. There is nothing wrong with the current format and next season's dunk contest will erase the memories of this one. But some past performances have been unforgettable. Since this year's contest was a bust, here are some dream dunk match-ups that would be sure to make the greatest contest ever...
Dominique Wilkins vs Josh Smith
Wilkins won the competition in 1985 (beating Michael Jordan) and 1990. Smith won the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest, even paying tribute to Wilkins by donning his jersey. Which Atlanta Hawk would execute the perfect power windmill?
Shawn Kemp vs Dwight Howard (a.k.a. Reignman vs Superman)
The best possible battle of bigs in the dunk contest. We've all seen what Howard can do when given the chance to use his creativity. Reignman may be better known for his off-court escapades but he once posterized someone who gave him a handshake right after.
Isaiah Rider vs Vince Carter
Vince-anity put on an incredible show in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, getting so high on one dunk that he stuck his entire forearm through the rim. Rider's "East Bay Funk Dunk" earned him the title in 1994 and sparked a new wave of dunk creativity into people of all ages.
Michael Jordan vs Kobe Bryant/Lebron James
There really is no competition for Air Jordan. His Royal Airness beat Dominique Wilkins at his own game and went on to become a legend. Since Kobe and Lebron are so often compared to the greatest, it's only logical that one of the M.V.Puppets take him on. In the end, it's gotta be the shoes.
And just in case you want to see a slam dunk contest that actually was good, take a look at the 2003 McDonald's High School All American Dunk Contest featuring Lebron James and Shannon Brown. Lebron had all the hype coming out of high school so he was going to win no matter what but the competition was good...