Monday, January 24, 2011

Death of the Dunk

It seems that the NBA hasn’t realized it yet, but its once-acclaimed dunk contest is laying on its death bed.  What was once one of the sport’s top spectacles, an indication of everything that was right with the NBA, has sadly developed into a weak annual attempt of trying to keep tradition alive.  Long gone are the days of Jordan and Wilkins slicing through the Saturday night air.  Fans today are instead treated to the likes of Serge Ibaka and Javale McGee; names that wouldn’t arouse  interest in even the most die-hard NBA fans.  Do the majority of casual basketball fans even know who these guys are?  I doubt it.  And that’s no knock to them, as they both play important roles for their respective franchises, but they’re just not the names the NBA needs to satisfy fans who are expecting a show. 

Blake Griffin is a nice addition, as he has catapulted up the list of most exciting dunkers in the League, but unfortunately his appeal is bogged down by three names that are not synonymous with excitement.  McGee can throw down, but he’s listed as a seven-footer which takes away most of the mystique.  The other two, Brandon Jennings and Ibaka, although both are full of athleticism and are more than capable of ‘wowing’ a crowd, do not produce enough excitement to reinvigorate  the collapsing contest.

The Dunk Contest has been on respiration recently after memorable mishaps like the ‘Dunk Wheel,’ and allowing Nate to steal one too many titles (Igoudala’s behind the backboard reverse), and it needs star power to build it back up.  Dwight did his part, and other stars need to follow suit.  It goes without saying how much excitement a LeBron/Griffin throw down would generate.  Maybe even expanding the field in order to supplement the up-and-comers with solidified stars would work. 


The current format and participant pool is getting stale, and it would be a shame to allow such a storied contest to continue to remain stagnant.


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