ARTICLE OF THE DAY

The NBA Dunk Contest
by Kevin Monroe
2/20/06

Long gone are the days when the NBA’s best dunkers enter the dunk contest.  The days when Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins performed in the contest every year to excite the fans and prove who the best dunker was, are over.  For the last several years the competition has been among the no-names of the NBA.  Vince Carter won in 2000 and since then the winners were Desmond Mason, Jason Richardson twice, Fred Jones, Josh Smith and this year’s champion Nate Robinson.  The average basketball fan couldn’t even tell you what team these guys play for.  This year’s competition was more exciting than it has been in years, but where are the Superstars?

 

Imagine with me if you will, what kind of competition it would be if the Stars of the NBA entered the contest each year, like they did when the competitions first began in the mid 80s.  Remember Larry Nance, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Dr. J. all competed in the event?  These days everyone is worried about the amount of stress 3 or 4 dunks will put on there knees and ankles even though they usually dunk that many times every other night in their regular season games.  Today’s NBA athletes are self-consumed and soft, what happened to putting on a good show for the fans?  Professional basketball is entertainment by the way, and these players should realize we expect to see entertainment on All-Star weekend. 

 

Think about what kind of TV ratings next years’ competition would get if the four most exciting dunkers in the NBA entered the contest.  This list could be debated, but I think the most exciting foursome of dunkers in the NBA are Vince Carter, Dewayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.  I would actually pay for that contest on Pay-Per-View.  LeBron, and Dewayne Competed in the skills competition and the All-Star game, but not the dunk contest.  Maybe the NBA should make these guys enter the competition or find a way to make it worth their while. 

 

The one thing I do know is an event that we used to mark on our calendars in advance for has now become an after thought.  I completely missed last year's contest, and I only saw this year's because I was at a friend’s house and they had it on.  Kudos to Nate Robinson for taking me back to the days when the dunk competition was at its height.  Spud Webb won in 1987, and unless something changes, I may never get excited about the dunk contest again.

Kevin Monroe
kevin@downeastsports.com