All-Star Weekend has come and gone and I feel compelled to discuss one event in particular, as I feel the performance was beyond awful. The Sprite “Slam Dunk Contest,” if it can even be called a contest, was subject to the implementation of a new set of rules this year. I’ll admit, upon hearing the new rules for the first time, it sounded somewhat exciting, adding new team rounds. But it amounted to arguably the worst dunk contest ever. Viewers were horrified at the lack of action and excitement in what normally is one of the most high-intensity events.
The team rounds, also referred to as the freestyle rounds, were meant for the three dunkers from each conference to dunk together, utilizing each other to create spectacular new possibilities. Firstly, I had an issue with the requirement of having three dunkers from each conference; the best dunkers should be in the competition, regardless of their conference. Secondly, the freestyle rounds amounted to basically a set time of warm-up dunks where the players seemed to casually attempt dunks without any intensity. Voting based off the conference rather than dunking skills also unnecessarily skews the competition, allowing players who should not be in the competition to continue onward based off of their performance at their respective conference. Gone was the excitement of seeing judges falling out of their seats with scores of 10 in the air after a monster dunk to be replaced by the legendary players serving as judges, fumbling over their iPads to pick a conference.
The battle rounds followed, which were set up as one on one single- elimination competitions. There were low-thrill and rather boring, with each player performing only a single dunk. After the three battle rounds, again with East/West voting rather than the traditional 1-10 point scoring, I expected maybe another round, with the victors competing for the top spot much as they did in previous years of multi-round dunking. But alas, after one dunk each, three co-winners were declared. I could not have imagined a lamer outcome to this so-called “dunk contest.” I understand that the league is trying to implement changes to grow and stay fresh, but certain things should remain as they are.
Bert Lance once said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and that was exactly how NBA fans felt after the extremely poor showing of the dunk contest. Any photograph from the event posted by the NBA or any of the competing players all have a similar top comment such as “worst dunk contest ever” or “this dunk contest was a disgrace.” It is okay to try new things but it is very important to learn from them, and I can only hope the NBA realizes and acknowledges this clear mistake and reverts back to the high-flying intensity we all love.
Eber is a member of the class of 2017.