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Point-Counterpoint: NBA Slam Dunk Contest

By Scott Carrol, Phil Guay
On February 14, 2013

Scott: Why would anyone ever want to discontinue the Dunk Contest? When done right, it may be one the coolest and legendary events in sports. As a kid, I can remember shoving half my arm down a Nerf basketball hoop pretending to be Vince Carter and putting a piece of tape on the floor and jumping from the "foul line" like Michael Jordan. The Dunk Contest has given us some of the greatest moments in sports, regardless of how poor it was last year. Having one off year is no reason to discontinue an event forever. Let us not forget the theatrics of Blake Griffin and others recently.

Phil: A wise man once said that all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately this is the case for the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. What used to be an electrifying display of pure athleticism and talent has now become a corny, unoriginal parade of no names that can jump high. The days of dunks thought to be humanly impossible, like Dr. J's original soar-from-the-free-throw-line or Vince Carter's reverse, windmill 360 dunk, are gone. They have been replaced by bizarre superhero costumes and mediocre dunks over sedans. The NBA needs to do us a favor and put the dunk contest out of its misery.

Scott: While I agree that the dunk contest might have gone downhill a bit, it is mostly because of how most things have been done already. It has shifted towards the gimmicks of superman capes and sedans because they're trying to put new twists on old classics and every couple years they do complete a dunk we haven't seen before, such as Javelle McGee dunking on two rims and J.R. Smith going around his back. If anything, the dunk contest requires more creativity today than back in its heyday.
Phil: Exactly. When it is done right - but that has not been the case. Nothing is worse than seeing a guy try to take off from the free throw line and cheat by four feet or use the full two minute clock to fail in his attempt and finish with a standard flush. It gets worse when you see who is competing each year and you have to say "Who?" I thought it supposed to be the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest.
Scott: Yes, the top tier guys have not been competing in the past two years, but the same has happened to the MLB Home Run Derby, as most of the top hitters fear ruining their swing. Most of the top athletes fear injuring themselves attempting a dunk, so why risk their multi million dollar contract in a contest that offers no cash reward? Plus, some of the lesser-known players are far better dunkers than the NBA All-Stars.
Phil: They may be better dunkers, but in a superstar league like the NBA, it is superstars that we want to see. Imagine a contest of LeBron, KD, Dwight and Blake Griffin.
It would be insane. Another big issue I have is the lack of creativity in the dunks. Now this isn't anyone's fault, but seeing the same old stuff every year is just another reason to pull the plug.
Scott: Michael Jordan ended every Dunk Contest by taking off from the free throw line and Dominique Wilkins best dunk contest dunk was a windmill. That's lack of creativity. In the modern Dunk Contest, people are attacking the basket from all angles, jumping over anything they can find, and adding any props and theatrics possible. I don't think that your problem is with the creative aspect of the Dunk Contest, but rather that we have reached a threshold with what is possible. But who knows? Maybe there is something that we haven't thought of that will be pulled off this Saturday. There is no way of knowing.
Phil: Yeah, I do agree with you that the threshold may have been reached. If the Dunk Contest has any chance of survival, it needs to change the way it does things like doing away with the props and gimmicks we have seen recently. No more capes or phone booths, no more bringing in a choir to sing "I believe I can fly." No more jumping over teammates, we have seen that too. We need to get back to the basics: a man, a ball and an aerial assault on the basket. Until this is done, however, the Dunk Contest needs to go. 

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