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