Lost Art of the Dunk Contest
With All-Star weekend approaching, We're going to recap some of the greatest and most memorable moments from All-Star Weekend. First and foremost, I want to address the Dunk Contest, well lack there of.
The Dunk Contest is the most exciting part of All-Star weekend, even the players become fans of the participants. The first Dunk contest was in 1976 (same year dunking was legalized) during halftime of the ABA All-Star game. "Dr" Julius Erving was the victor edging out David Thompson, "Iceman" George Gervin, Artis Gilmore, and Larry Kennon, all great players. Dr. J became victorious with the memorable dunk from the free throw line which was never seen before at that time.
No props was used in that contest, just a ball and grown men with bounce. History was made that night because for the next 3 decades the dunk contest will become essential in Basketball Culture.
The next Dunk Contest wouldn't be until for another 8 years, in Denver, same place where it was born. Larry Nance won that year with some rim punishing dunks, but the next 6 years is when the Dunk Contest turned into a fan favorite. Dominique Wilkins aka "Human Highlight Reel" won in 1985 with some of the greatest windmills ever seen. Dominique mixed athleticism and power with his dunks, reason why he is one of the greatest dunkers ever. He would lose to teammate Spud Webb the following year making Spud the shortest player ever to win. Spud came into the contest standing only 5'7, proving you don't have to be 6'8 to throw it down.
'87 and '88 would belong to MJ. Famous dunks like "kiss the rim", "rock the cradle" and the free throw line dunk, which later became the Jordan logo, introduced style and grace into the dunk Contest, all thanks to His Airness.
For the next decade we would see innovative dunks like Dee Brown's "No Look", Isaiah Rider "between the legs", Cedric Ceballos "blindfold", " Statue of Liberty" and many more. But the next great dunk contest wouldn't come until 2000 with Vince Carter, Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, and Jerry Stackhouse. This would go down as one of the greatest dunk contest ever. Vince Carter would win doing dunks like between the legs, the 360 windmill, and putting his arm in the rim, we all was left entertained. We would get two more good Contest with Jason Richardson winning back-to-back in 2002 & 2003.
For the rest of the decade the dunk contest would become average at best. A bunch of props, stupid rules, and double-digit attempts for one dunk, the wow factor has been lost. 2010 winner Nate Robinson attempted his final dunk 14 times before finally making it. Dwight Howard would get a 50 for a dunk that wasn't a dunk, basically throwing it in with a superman cape on.
In 2011, Blake Griffin brought out a choir and a Kia Optima (Kia sponsored the contest), basically making a big scene, just to do a basic dunk, only jumping over the hood of the car, not the whole car. Blake would beat out Javale Mcgee who best dunk was Dunking two balls on two different goals, and to me, that was the winning dunk, but glamor and glitz trumps pure talent.
Creativity has been lost somewhere in transit. Now this year we get players who, no offense to them, nobody wants to see in the dunk contest. If this is for the fans, why can't the fans have the top high-flyers in the league to participate. The NBA and the players need to step up and bring back the true essence of the dunk contest, A ball and grown men with bounce.