The future of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Saturday's Slam Dunk Contest was an atrocity. Guys struggled to complete their dunks, which lacked creativity, and it was legitimately hard to watch on TV, let alone from inside the eerily quiet arena.
Driving the news: Some are calling for the event to be canceled, or at least put on hiatus, which actually has precedent.
- After a terrible showing in 1997, the 1998 event was replaced by a shooting contest called "2-Ball." The following year, a lockout canceled the entire 1999 All-Star Weekend.
- Then, in 2000, Vince Carter made the Slam Dunk Contest great again with an iconic performance that will perhaps never be topped.
The big question: Will the contest return to glory in the coming years, or should the NBA be concerned about its future?
- On one hand, perhaps all it takes is a few big names — or the next Vince Carter — to revitalize the event. High-flyers like Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon dazzled the crowd in recent years, and these things tend to be cyclical. Patience.
- On the other hand, there are only so many ways to put a ball through a hoop: Could we be running out of dunks? That's part of why more stars don't participate — it's become too gimmicky, and there are more ways to embarrass yourself than actually shine.
More All-Star Weekend:
- Curry catches fire: Steph Curry hit 16 threes and scored 50 points en route to winning All-Star MVP. When he's on like that, barely even watching his shots go through the net, it's something to behold.
- Elam Ending shines: The new All-Star Game format — which replaces the game clock with a target score — continues to be a success. If the NBA adds a midseason tournament, might they use it?
- LeBron makes headlines: LeBron James spent the weekend sending messages — to the league, the Lakers and maybe the Cavaliers. Naturally, he also hit the game-winner.
- Other winners: Karl-Anthony Towns won the 3-Point Contest; the Cavaliers trio won the Skills Competition; Team Barry, led by Cade Cunningham, won the Rising Stars Challenge.
- Shaq's speech: This was fantastic.