The NBA recently released its list of slam dunk contest contestants which for the most part has been a quick glance and forgetful moment for most fans. However, in this year’s class, it received a double take from dunk aficionados as the players announced actually had names that we could recognize. It has not been since the epic battles of Jordan and Wilkins of the late 80’s that fans have been just as excited about the finale of All-Star Saturday as they are about the weekend headliner on Sunday. The reason? Star power has been far and few between as players have taken a pedestrian approach to the high-flying event. There may be one marquee name, or even in some cases two, but it was beginning to look as if getting the best players to compete was a dream scenario rather than a possible option.
This year’s group includes three NBA All-Stars…yes three. The last time multiple all-stars competed in the dunk contest was 14 years ago, when Vince Carter and Jerry Stackhouse took part. This season the field includes Wizard’s guard John Wall, MVP candidate Paul George, and second year sensation Damian Lillard who is playing the role of Superman for the weekend’s festivities by participating in five different events.
So does this peak your interest? Having a multitude of All-Stars doesn’t exactly equal guaranteed jaw-dropping performances, however it does add a bit of intrigue that more than likely will generate the buzz necessary to reel in the viewers come February 15th.
As previously mentioned, it has not been since 2000 that fans have been treated to a spectacle that many have even gone so far as to call the greatest dunk contest in history. At a time when there was even consideration to abolish the contest all together, Vince Carter put on perhaps the greatest show of all time which was enhanced even more by teammate/cousin Tracy McGrady, and a then-rookie Steve Francis.
The trio exceeded expectations giving the dunk contest new life and an outlook of more incredible things to come. Unfortunately it has not been the case as year-after-year, top NBA stars continue to decline the opportunity and choose to watch young up-and-comers try their hand at dunk supremacy. But not to cast a shadow on the brilliant accomplishments of the champions who went on to win the contests, it just happens to have somewhat of a ho-hum factor considering their fellow opponents did not supply the same sizzle. More stars has been the theme of what fans have been asking for and 2014 seems to be heading in the right direction. With a rejuvenated list of contestants, new format (East vs West) with a freestyle and battle rounds, we should all remain optimistic and let the chips fall where they may. Good luck NBA, once again we will be watching.