The NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. The Three-Point Contest. The All-Star Home Run Derby for the MLB. The NFL Pro Bowl. Ok, maybe not the Pro Bowl, but all of the latter are examples of professional athletes putting their talents on display in exuberant fashion with high flying acrobatics, deadly accuracy and flat out raw power. However, if you caught the festivities of the NBA’s all-start break last night, then you know that what everybody witnessed has not been described yet. The Dunk Contest featured Chase Budinger, who has recorded and astounding six dunks all season. Six. 165 players have more dunks than that in the NBA. This is not to mention the three-point contest featuring only one shooting guard and further only two guards total.
The Dunk Contest Should be one of the most hyped contests for professional all-star breaks, given the talent level of these NBA athletes and their ability to remain suspended in the air for unfair amounts of time. Now I understand the respect of the previous players with Budinger’s tribute to founder Cedric Ceballos of the blindfold dunk. It was obvious that Ceballos could see through his blindfold, and with that shoestring that Budinger was wearing around his head, I am highly doubting his vision was properly impaired either. Another dunk by the winner Jeremy Evans featured a flying leap all the way over a motorcycle. If this sounds familiar, it is because Blake Griffin flew over an entire car during the takeoff of his advertising campaign with Kia. If you choose to jump over an automobile of any sort, make sure it’s not any smaller than the one used in the previous year. A lack of creativity from some while others were almost trying to incorporate too much inventiveness was the biggest downfall throughout the field. A tweet from Kevin Durant says it all about what direction the dunk contest needs to head: “It’s time for @King James (Lebron James), Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Rose, and @DwayneWade to get in the dunk contest.” So not to completely trash the athletes in this year’s contest, but the potential for appropriate ingenuity in this competition is near unlimited. There are so many highER fliers in the league that need to get on board with the idea of bringing back the dunk contest to the days when the greats like Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and Dr. Julius Erving were proud to defend their titles.
The three-point contest and the skills challenge also lacked in entertainment. The three point contest used to feature the best of the best shooters like the dunk contest, instead of a power forward shooting about 35% this year. His win did come against Kevin Durant and Mario Chalmers, but if you were one of the best shooters in the league your motivation may have been lacking also. I’m guessing that once they heard he was in the competition their thoughts were the same as mine as far as how seriously the NBA was taking this contest. What about Ray Allen, the best three-point shooter of all time? Or Kyle Korver? Chauncy Billups? Sure, Kevin Love maintained enough consistency to win, but that’s just about all he did. Posting only personal high of 18 in his first round, he hovered right around there the whole night with a mere 17 winning the whole thing when Kevin Durant went ice cold in the final round. The only reason he got to the second round is because of a toe on the line from Chalmers. The names that have become synonymous with sharp-shooting need to take a hint and have a fire sparked underneath to take some pride in the festivities, like when Larry Bird repeated three times.