THE DUNK CONTEST IS DEAD

Many moons ago, I wrote about the time Gerald Wallace participated in the dunk contest and how uninspired it was…

… I officially owe Gerald Wallace an apology.

Just minutes ago, Jeremy Evans won the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest, edging out a veritable cornucopia of superstars (in the form of Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, and Paul George).  Together, these four combined to officially put the competition six feet under.

Gone are the days of traditional yet creative dunking.  We know the superstars are “above” participating at this point, but we went from ‘Nique vs. Jordan and Vince Carter to virtual unknowns at an alarmingly quick rate.  Furthermore, in the past, the contest used to feature at least 2-4 swingmen who weren’t household names but could “swizzle and swazzle” in mid-air with the best of them.  From Kenny Walker all the way up to Gerald Green, you saw guys who didn’t exactly succeed in their careers, but were more than capable of flight feats that could get you up off the couch and make you be all “… OOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!”

Tonight, it was anything but riveting.  “Jumping over something” is the new windmill.  Pretty much everybody misses at least their first two attempts at a dunk.  Rehashed blindfold gimmickry.  Glow-in-the-dark tactics.  More jumping over things.  Guys wearing cameras on their ears.  Kenny Smith hijacking the entire thing.  Diddy.

I don’t know what happened.  Maybe everything that can be physically done has been done already, forcing guys to resort to props and a reliance on external things (which often have no impact/effect on the dunk at all).  These guys are longer and more athletic than ever, but the human body can only twist and turn in so many ways…

… or, maybe it’s like how we here at SOSB feel about modern hip-hop.  We can’t relate to the entire scene anymore.  I can still listen to Gang Starr or Rakim, and I can still watch Wilkins to Jordan to Kobe to VC, and I still FEEL  it.  It’s all pretty straightforward and to-the-point by today’s standards, but it still hits just as hard.  Maybe the youth of today are all Tweeting and Tubmlring (?) about how Williams rode out on that motorcycle with the Minnesota Timberwolf, and then proceeded to jump over said vehicle.  I don’t know.

Either way, in my eyes, the thing needs an overhaul of some sort.  In a lot of ways, the whole All-Star Saturday Night needs some work.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions that aren’t blatantly sarcastic in nature (MOZGOV IN THE SKILLS CHALLENGE ANYONE?!) and, more importantly, I certainly don’t expect anything to change.

I yearn for the days of guys like Desmond Mason.  And, to end this on a better note, here is a YouTube creation highlighting his dunk prowess.  If nothing else, just look at the title and watch for about 20 seconds:

“SLUM DANK 2003 – DASMOND MASON.”  Slum dank, indeed.

– Wes Lilliman

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