This past weekend in the NBA brought about the league’s premier athletes to put on a show for the ages and shut it down in the Big Easy.
Of course the marquee event is on Sunday night when the game's best players duke it out in the ultimate pick up game. But perhaps just as anticipated, it’s the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday.
Yet, as much as it saddens me to say it, this year’s contest was just (for lack of a better word) “bleurgh.”
Don’t get me wrong, the dunks were out of this world. Heck I felt like was watching a video game with some of the stuff that was on show. Just take Paul George’s dunk for example; the athleticism to do a 360 against the grain, put the ball between his legs and still be able to throw it down on a rim hanging 10 ft off the ground, was just incredible. It was Vince Carter-eque, with some Jason Richardson and Dominique all mixed into one dunk.
Nonetheless, as great as it was, there wasn’t really much of a buzz after it. Granted, missing his first two attempts didn’t help either.
Now imagine how it would’ve been had there been a hype man there. Imagine if the NBA took a page out of the AND1 book and had someone pump up the crowd to bring some energy into the building?
Only look back as far as 2011 when Kenny Smith was Blake Griffin’s “coach” in the dunk contest. Javale McGee had just thrown down two ridiculous slams that verged on the impossible, yet Griffin responded by jumping over the hood (not the roof) of a car and the whole building went nuts!
Why? Because Kenny, along with the presentation, got the crowd amped up.
Even though it took him multiple attempts, McGee clearly had the better dunks, but the energy and excitement created prior to Blake’s dunk made it seem better than it actually was. That’s what put him over the hump.
This year musician/actor Nick Cannon was the man charged with presenting Saturday night’s festivities and honestly, I was bored throughout the whole thing. When Damian Lillard exploded for a 360 windmill or when Terence Ross came out with Drake I was just like “meh.”
Ben Mclemore (accompanied by Shaquille O’Neal) came out to a royal introduction, but the moment when you’re on the edge of your seat in anticipation never came. Even when Shaq took a seat on the throne, there was still a feeling that something was missing.
That may have been due to the dull atmosphere, though you could also make a case that it was clear to see that Mclemore was planning to jump over the big fella which isn't exactly original. After all, there’s only so many ways you can throw the ball into a hoop, no matter how you dress it.
That leads me on to my second point. Get some help from the pros…or YouTube.
John Wall took home the Dunk Contest trophy thanks to a sick reverse clutch slam, with some assistance from G. Wiz. Turns out he had got the idea from a YouTube video after someone posted the link to him on Twitter.
"Somebody sent me a YouTube link on my Twitter and said 27 dunks that haven’t been done in the NBA dunk contest," the point guard said after the contest. "The first one was that one, and it seemed hard, but for me it came out to be easy. So it worked out in my favor.”
All these guys do is dunk so they are bound to come up with some insane stuff, therefore NBA players could really learn a thing or two from them, if you ask me. Think about it, who better to ask for tips and tricks than someone that practises the art of dunking day-in-day-out?
I can’t wait to see someone do this in the dunk contest.
Oh and please go back to the old format. The new layout was fun in the free-style round when the teams hooked up for some great dunks. But at the end of the day, this is (or at least should be) an individual competition.
The could spice up an event that’s losing it’s charm.
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