Finally, the NBA Dunk Contest actually means something again. It doesn’t mean nearly as much as it did in the 1980s, but it certainly means more now than it has in over a decade. The contestants for the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest have been announced and the field features multiple star players for the first time in a long time and one superstar, which has been the missing piece for a long, long time. Hats off to Paul George, John Wall and Damian Lillard for making the dunk contest relevant again.
George and Lillard’s jerseys may not sell like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s, but those players are arguably just as important to their respective teams with the former recently rising to a top-three-caliber player in the entire league. In addition, he knows how to wow fans while slamming the ball through the rim as he’s done multiple times on fast breaks during real games this year. Heck, he’s making us reminisce of the days when Vince Carter would put on a mini dunk contest showing pretty much every night.
What’s even better is these stars aren’t just in the contest for the heck of it; or at least that applies to George. The Indiana Pacers’ star threw down a 360 between-the-legs jam in Shanghai back in 2012 and completed a 360 windmill during a live NBA game earlier this year.
Lillard isn’t exactly the dunking phenom that George is, but he’s becoming a household name in the NBA. The same applies to Wall, although he carried more star power from day one as the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 out of Kentucky. Regardless, both players are worlds more popular than any of the contestants in last year’s contest, and that’s why this year’s competition should be one of the most entertaining in recent memory.
Maybe David Stern’s retirement wasn’t such a bad thing…