Posted February 05, 2014

All-Dunk Contest Team: How Adam Silver can save the All-Star’s showcase event

Ben Golliver, Blake Griffin, Gerald Green, John Wall, LeBron James, Paul George, Terrence Ross, The Point Forward All-Stars
Blake Griffin

Come back, Blake Griffin. The Dunk Contest needs you. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin, Clippers

Did Michael Jordan quit after one Dunk Contest? (No, he did three). Did Dominique Wilkins? (No, five.) Did Julius Erving? (No, two in the NBA, plus his prior ABA work.) Did Spud Webb? (No, three.) Did Clyde Drexler? (No, five, and he never even won!) Did Jason Richardson? (No, three.) Did Shawn Kemp? (No, four.) Did Howard? (No, three.) Did Green? (No, three.) Did Desmond Mason? (No, three.) Did Nate Robinson? (No, four, although he probably outlasted his welcome.)

The only Slam Dunk Contest champions besides Griffin to go one-and-done were Brent Barry, Dee Brown, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, and Fred Jones. Of those five, only Carter’s performance was so tantalizing that it demanded an encore. Griffin belongs next to Carter in that discussion. The Point Forward ranked his 2011 contest win at No. 6 in the top 10 of all time, as it included far more than just the “jump over the Kia” dunk that will always stand as its legacy. More. More. More.

Fixing the Dunk Contest requires buy-in from the biggest names year after year, not just on one-off occasions. Griffin is still just 24, he’s putting people on posters on a regular basis during games, he’s capable of leaping/power combinations that no one else in the world can match, and he’s shown he has the guts to put himself out there on that stage before.

In a true dream world, Griffin would be this generation’s Wilkins, stringing together a half-decade of appearances in a row, taking on all challengers, winning some, losing some, generating year-round excitement for the event, and creating real rivalries.


John Wall, Wizards

The No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft is one of four first-time All-Stars this year and he would add some serious juice to the Dunk Contest. Wall, 23, was invited to participate, but is still unsure whether he was going to accept, according to CSNWashington.com.

I take his invitation as a sign that the league’s selection committee has good taste and the proper amount of ambition. Wall is fast, bouncy, explosive, powerful, essentially ambidextrous and has a showman’s flair. There’s a lot of Dunk Contest potential at play.

This mixtape is a few years old, but it offers a taste of what Wall might bring to the table if he did decide to accept the invite, or if Silver found a way to get him involved down the road.

19 comments
MartyJenkins
MartyJenkins

Simple - make it charity focused.... players would have to participate or face the stigma of not wanting to help a worthy cause.... would take care of a lot

joshua33nelson
joshua33nelson

Have the fans vote on who should be in.  Top ten have to participate (unless legitimate injury) or get fined.  Consider it part of the job duties.

iamHoraceKnight
iamHoraceKnight

Here Is the Simplest Fix:  If Sprite Isn't Willing to Offer a Better Reward(I think it was $50,00) find a better Sponsor.  


A Custom Made Truck or Car.  

$300,000 To A Charity Of Your Choice


zsmitson
zsmitson

whats crazy is gerald green can't even palm the ball. he's got a chopped finger on his right hand from when he was a kid and it got caught in the net (while dunking) i think. he just has mad crazy hops and still has awesome dunks

TheBrownMamba
TheBrownMamba

Lebron won't join the Slam Dunk contest. Cause he knows he won't win. His dunks are not for the contest.

hubrob107
hubrob107

The best dunkers aren't in the NBA....open the contest up to the BEST DUNKERS...put up some real money...you will have the BEST contest EVER

butter04
butter04

Well, that was disappointing. I was actually expecting some creative ideas for how to fix the dunk contest. But this article didn't actually talk about how to save the dunk contest, all it talked about what who should be involved this year. If Silver wants to save the dunk contest, he needs to do a lot more than just get stars in 2014, he needs to completely reformat the event. I'm going to go back to Bill Simmons now.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

I remember when Darnell Hillman (IND?) won the first NBA dunk contest in the 70s.  It was interesting, but the game was cool, seeing the stars compete.


The dunk is passe, has been for quite some time now (Jordan?).  Those who run / own our sports are too often not sport fans and tinker to no good end.  MLB's time-honored All-Star game has now been ruined by the home run derby which even kids find to be a yawner.


Focus on the game (East v. West, not Magics v. Jordans) and stop dumbing-it-down for the kids who know better.  They want to look up to their heroes, not see them acting as, well, children.  It may be why LeBron disdains participation.  Let him disdain away, play the game and forget the dunk contest. 

nwaber
nwaber

How about tie the dunk contest to some sort of post-season benefit? For example, the winner of the dunk contest's team gets home court advantage in round one (if their record isn't already good enough for it). 


Or perhaps something nice for the following preseason, for example: the first preseason game for their team is played in the gym of that player's choosing, and they get to give out the first two rows of seats to whomever they want. If the player wants to play in MSG, MSG it is. If he wants the game played in his highschool gym in a town of 3000 in rural Idaho, make it happen (and maybe reinforce the backboards). Maybe someone would want to play at Rucker Park. That could be cool.


Or option 3: the winner of the dunk contest's team hosts the next year's all-star weekend.


Or option 4: the winner's team doesn't get scheduled to play on Christmas day, and can only be scheduled for home games for Dec 24th/26th.


Maybe all three. Telling a multigazillionaire like Lebron that he can have some more cash for doing the dunk contest is the wrong approach for two reasons: 1) he already has a LOT of money. A million dollars is still substantial, but not game-changing. 2) If he entered the dunk contest after being offered the million dollars, there would at least be the appearance that he entered because of the cash- not because of the competition, or the fans, or whatever else. He would presumably donate the money to some charity to show that he's not just money-hungry, but the optics are still suboptimal. Conversely, bringing a Miami Heat preseason game to his old highschool gym... that could be appealing.

Nate the Pate
Nate the Pate

That Griffin contest was so rigged, I started believing the NBA is fixed.  Ibaka and Derosen did some incredible dunks that were far better than the nonsense Griffin pulled.  Ibaka did a BEYOND free throw line dunk.  Can't mess with the Sponsors I suppose.  I bet if he missed all his dunks, the refs would have given him 10 minutes to try again - ala Birdman and Nate Robinson.

TrevorThompson
TrevorThompson

Start with $10M to the winner's charitable foundation.  Then get a full panel of judges who take it seriously, so you can make some better scoring system work.  The winner also gets a super bling'd title belt to wear at game introductions for the next year.

pipdmx33
pipdmx33

Is Nate Robinson too old? Add him in there. Fans love the 5'7 dunker. It's a shame that most of these guys are afraid of a little competition and rather be on the sideline wearing goofy clothes instead of competing.

myhandlerules
myhandlerules

I think most of us who aren't drooling sportswriters recognize that Griffin's dunk "over a car" was nothing special. It was a dull dunk over the hood of a car, which most NBA players could probably do. Hell, I'm a 5'9" non-NBA player, and I can jump over a car's hood with a running start.

Hollywood26
Hollywood26

@myhandlerules  It was LITERALLY the same dunk i did in 2003 at the Hoop It Up in DC.   I finished 3rd (by the way I'm 6'0)

BenchSplinters
BenchSplinters

@myhandlerules I agree 100% with that.  It was a shameless advertising stunt with no particular difficulty compared with several other dunks.