"JUST DUNK IT"
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 21:02
One of the most relished events of NBA All-Star Weekend took place on Saturday—the Slam Dunk Contest. It consisted of high-flying action by short guys and big men alike, as well as a whole lot of misses.
There is a certain flair missing from the dunk contest that I firmly remember from my youth. Who could forget Jason Richardson’s bounce from the baseline to catch the ball and put it between his legs for a reverse slam in 2003? Or Vince Carter in 2000, when he took a bounce from a teammate, cradled it through his legs and finished with a violent slam with stitches in his left hand? Or in 2006 when Andre Iguodala took a pass off the backside of the backboard from Allen Iverson, ducked his head under the padded glass and slammed it home?
There are so many to choose from. Players like Julius Erving, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins all made the Slam Dunk Contest RI-DUNK-U-LOSULY awesome. Now it is the Rising Stars Slam Dunk Contest, where “real” stars don’t even participate. Can anyone imagine a young LeBron James flying from the free-throw line? It is just not the same.
What is the difference between then and now? Richardson, Carter, Iguodala, Erving, Jordan and Wilkins all made the dunk on the first attempt. There wasn’t a barrage of balls flying off the rim. There wasn’t a timer back in the day. There weren’t even props, just dunks—and darn good ones.
That being said, Terrence Ross and Jeremy Evans saved the evening for what looked to be a down-and-out flunk contest. Evans dunking over a portrait of himself and Ross slamming over an innocent child will make it into the history books.
The failed attempt of Gerald Green to try and dunk the same ball twice while in midair became a headache. Green cutting down the net was the most exciting part but then the miss after miss killed the entire buzz in the building. Did you not come up with a backup plan? Make it creative and original, but if you can’t dunk it in practice don’t flunk it on national TV. After all that they still had to put a new net on.
Kenneth Faried’s dunks were powerful but plain. James White’s free-throw line windmill was amped up before the start, but, well, he missed. Eric Bledsoe did a 360. About 18 of them appeared in Sunday night’s All-Start Game. Bledsoe was able to redeem himself later with a pretty authoritative bouncing windmill.
In the end, the participants need to have better backup plans if the first dunk does not go down. Don’t keep trying it. The surprise is gone. I’d rather see them try a completely different dunk and miss again than see the same slam bounce off the rim three times.
Give it up for all their athletic ability but allow anyone to enter the contest. Bring back Blake Griffin, Iguodala and the stars. No one will top the likes of Carter, Jordan or Richardson, but if the right athletes don’t have the ball in their hand, we will just see more misses.
Send questions, comments and a better All-Star Weekend to Ryan Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org