I feel like the Dunk Contest needs star power to manifest the level of importance the NBA desires to get out of All-Star weekend. Just look at the name ‘All-star.’ It makes sense to have All-stars in every event.
Look at the Rookie-Sophomore Game—a game of future All-stars, mostly.
The 3-point contest—okay not all of them were All-stars, but Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Durant are. Historically, you can draw upon legends of the game who participated in this event, like Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, and Michael Jordan.
Even the Skills Challenge features high-level All-stars—this year Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose competed. In the past, you’ve had players, like Steven Nash, Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant. (Event not established until 2002-2003 season).
The point is: the Dunk Contest—as great as Blake Griffin was—has gotten boring.
I don’t care if you jump over a car, a motorcycle, or even a plane—I want to see dunk offs between All-star level players who are also amazing dunkers.
Of course, I want Griffin in the Dunk Contest, but I would prefer to see him matched up against comparable talent. And that’s what I brought up to Dwight Howard when I spoke to him before the Dunk Contest:
As a competitor, Howard sounds like he is up for the challenge even though he was very gracious in not taking anything away from Blake Griffin’s moment. As much as it was great for Griffin to have his moment, think about a Dunk Contest with some real heavy-hitters.
Remember some of the great matchups in Dunk Contest History.
1984 Michael Cooper v Clyde Drexler v Ralph Sampson v Dominique Wilkins v Julius Erving
1985 Dominique Wilkins v Michael Jordan v Julius Erving v Clyde Drexler
1990 Dominique Wilkins v Shawn Kemp v Scottie Pippen
1997 Kobe Bryant v Ray Allen
2000 Tracy McGrady v Vince Carter v Jerry Stackhouse
Tell me you wouldn’t like to see something super in the next All-star game? How about a Dunk Contest between LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Blake Griffin?
Rob S. De France is a College and University instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.