To Dunk Or Not To Dunk?
When word got out that DeMar DeRozan thinks that he can beat LeBron James in the dunk contest, I was a bit skeptical. When I read that he thought he could beat Jordan as well, I thought that he was downright crazy. Then I watched this:
DeRozan isn’t the greatest dunker, but he’s no slouch. He’s had two years to dream up some other dunks and he has just enough athleticism to maybe do some things. I decided I wouldn’t mind if he was included in the field for the Dunk Contest. He wouldn’t have been a real contender, but he might have pulled off a show-stopper. We watch for the known commodoties anyway.
Well, we won’t this year. Maybe.
Word has come out that LeBron might renege on his promise to compete in the Dunk Contest. Dwight Howard says he could be done as well. Who does this leave us with? Nate Robinson? Krypto-Nate dunk notwithstanding, I’ve seen how badly that can go. And I don’t want to go down that road again.
Is it too late to just cancel the thing? I can’t imagine this year’s edition generating any sort of hype if Howard and James don’t participate. We would all be talking about who isn’t in it instead of who is. And I don’t want the NBA to start bringing back gimmicks because the dunkers aren’t exciting enough on their own.
It wouldn’t be the first time that there was a hiatus. The contest disappeared in ’98 and ’99, giving way to 2-Ball, the precursor to the present-day Shooting Stars competition. No one gave (or gives) a crap about either of those, so the Dunk Contest’s return was a beautiful thing. It didn’t hurt that Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Stevie Franchise and others gave us the most memorable contest since Dominique Wilkins and Jordan went head to head.
It has gone downhill since then. There are some great dunks mixed in and some big names with lots of ability, but the whole thing has felt anticlimactic. I know I’m supposed to be excited and I know it’s supposed to be great, but I’m not and it isn’t. Phone booths and cupcakes can’t convince me otherwise.
So, to LeBron and Dwight: think really hard about what you want to do. I suppose I can’t be angry with you if you decide to stay on the sidelines instead of competing in the Dunk Contest, but I won’t be watching unless you’re there. Or some other NBA player that brings some name recognition and serious springs.
And no, DeMar DeRozan doesn’t qualify.