The dunk contest has lost it’s pop over the past decade or so. The last good ones that I recall featured Vince Carter and then Jason Richardson. The contest has lacked flavor and seems to get more and more outrageous each year. Making matters even worse, NBA superstars such as LeBron James have stayed away from the competition, and the event has settled for a plethora of big men and C-list stars.
JaVale Mcgee, Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, Blake Griffin (can fly, but wasted his finale dunk on a Kia advertisement, instead of wowing us), Gerald Green, Fred Jones (remember him? me either.) and the list full of names that nobody wants to watch dunk the ball goes on, and on, and on.
In short. This contest needs some spunk, and if LeBron isn’t willing to be the one to give it to us, then why not the next most dunktastic NBA Superstar? I’m talking about Russell Westbrook, in case the headline for this blurb wasn’t enough of a hint. Westbrook has said that he’s like to (eventually) join an NBA dunk contest.
“I would (like to) before it’s too late. But I don’t know where I’m going to feel like doing it or not.”
“It’s so many people in this league that jump so much higher than I do, everybody else can do it,”said Westbrook. “It’s a lot of people that can jump. I only can jump high in the games. That’s it. I think if it’s just regular people would be disappointed.”
“I got a few dunks, but it ain’t nothing that you ain’t seen before,”Westbrook said. “These dunk contests you’ve got to dunk on three baskets, do cartwheels and do something to get points. But I don’t know, man.”
I believe Russ is being a bit modest here, although I do agree that the contest has been done so many times that these guys are forced to make fools of themselves in order to be original (see Paul George). But alas, this contest needs the Russ Westbrooks and John Walls of the world to compete. We need a fresh batch of star-players, who can jump out of the gym. We don’t need Serge Ibaka and players your average fan couldn’t pick out of a lineup entering the contest. It takes away from the value of what the dunk contest used to be.
Remember Jordan? Doctor J? Vince Carter? We need these stars who fans can identify, and having hops like Westbrook does, won’t hurt. The NBA has become such a point guard driven league, that we need these overly-athletic guards to sign up and give the fans what they want to watch.