Monday , Jan , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Was Gerald Wallace a Last-Minute Replacement for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest?

Was Gerald Wallace a Last-Minute Replacement for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest?Call me a basement-dwelling, tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Gerald Wallace wasn’t supposed to be in the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.  The pieces of evidence are few but compelling.  To me, at least.

I first hopped on this train of thought when I logged onto the NBA’s official page for the contest and saw this telling graphic:

Notice anything strange?  Gerald Wallace’s column reads "HIGHLIGHT VIDEO COMING SOON".  What’s more, if you’d navigated to that page just an hour earlier, you would have seen that there wasn’t even an image of Wallace, with only the pop-art silhouette background appearing.  I can’t help but think that they weren’t anticipating his inclusion and had to cobble something together as the last minute.

Not enough evidence for you?  Check this out:

That’s a shot of "speed artist" Dan Dunn with the art he produced as a means of announcing the competitors in this year’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.  While Shannon Brown and Nate Robinson appeared as giant paintings, Gerald Wallace was represented only as a simple pencil drawing.  Could it be that Dunn didn’t have enough time to practice his painting of Crash and had to improvise with a small-scale sketch?

All things considered, I’m fairly certain that Wallace wasn’t originally included in the contest but was called on to fill in at the eleventh hour.  That naturally leads me to wonder who was initially meant to take part but pulled out. 

Could LeBron James have bailed out of the dunk contest when he realised he couldn’t convince another big name to join?  Was Dwight Howard looking to reclaim his crown after last year’s loss to Nate Robinson?  Let us know if you believe Gerald Wallace could have been a substitution and, if so, whose place he took.

[Photo credit: Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images.  Thanks to Matt Hirsch at 360i for hooking us up.]