Saturday night, I was actually excited for the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. I am not sure what made me think this year would be different, but I did. What ensued in the following moments was something that the NBA should be completely and utterly ashamed of.
Beginning with the new rules and format, the NBA got it wrong. The contest, this year, started with what they called a “freestyle round.” In this round, each conference’s three dunkers would take the floor together as they worked as a team to throw down a few slams, attempting to achieve the highest collective score.
This round was absolutely pathetic. It was unorthodox, somewhat scattered and overall did not showcase each individual’s talents in the least. Isn’t that what this contest is supposed to be about? In past years, it has always been about each individual dunker putting on the best show they could and ultimately get crowned as the Slam Dunk Champion.
Following the freestyle round, there is just one more round where each contestant gets to dunk just once in effort to win their individual “battle.” The conference with the highest amount of battle wins won the contest.
This year ended with a winning conference, thus the title, “Slam Dunk Champions.” You want to talk unorthodox? This was just plain odd to watch when Paul George, John Wall and Terrence Ross took the stage to collectively and awkwardly accept their trophy.
On top of the fact that this year’s format being unorthodox, it made the entire contest much shorter. Think about it. Each player gets one individual dunk and then the contest is over.
In the past several years, many contestants would attempt to complete a dunk quite a few times, which made the night very long and much less entertaining. This year, the contest had the potential to be something special with the type of guys that were invited. However, the format did not allow anyone to get into a rhythm due to the shortage of dunks we saw.
In the end, I was unimpressed with the NBA and All-Star Saturday night altogether. Fans, it is time to give up on something that used to be one of the best events of the year. The Slam Dunk Contest, as we know it, is dead.