The Slam Dunk Contest is arguably the most memorable event in the NBA season. It is definitely the most awe-inspiring. The unreal athleticism of the NBA on display. Players doing things that no one would’ve believed possible before they did it. Some of the images have been burned into our brains. The Jordan free-throw line dunk has turned into one of the most recognizable logos on the planet for God’s sake. This is where the NBA screwed up this year. Donovan Mitchell didn’t have the dunk of the night, he may not have had a top 3 dunk of the night, and yet, he was still crowned the champ.
There is no way you could’ve watched this weekend and thought that any of his dunks were better than Dennis Smith Jr. going through the legs while doing a 360 and switching hands
And none of them were better than Larry Nance Jr. double tapping the glass on his final dunk of the night.
I realize that he paid homage to Vince Carter for his final dunk, but that shouldn’t mean you win automatically. His final dunk was fine, and his first dunk with the throw off the other hoop was very good, but he had maybe the most embarrassing dunk of the night when he jumped over Kevin Hart and his son, and his sister. That sounds fine, except he had them crouch down. Three short people crouching down so he could dunk over them. From a Slam Dunk Contest perspective, it was cringe-worthy, and he probably should’ve been DQ’d for that alone.
This isn’t the first time the Slam Dunk Contest hasn’t lived up to the hype. 2016 was a solid year, but, beyond that year, it’s been quite a while since they had a truly memorable year. They need to get back to having some of their best players in the contest, and they also need to try to identify people who are creative with their dunks, not just guys who can dunk over people. Because so many things have been attempted, it is taking more and more to be a truly original dunk, and the league needs to get more of that if they intend to fix the Slam Dunk Contest.
Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior Podcast
You can connect with him on Twitter @wkndwarpod
Photo: Bleacher Report