Once upon a time the slam dunk was so new, so unexpected, and so original, that no one even knew how to describe it.
“Downward into the hoop, much like a cafeteria customer dunking a roll in coffee.” Was one way the New York Times described the shot as being pitched in 1936. In the decades that followed, the slam went from an object of confused wonder to a move reviled as tall-guy hackery. In 1967, the NCAA called it “not a skillful shot” and banned it from competition. The slam dunk is as American as apple pie, iced coffee, and moms. Eighty years on, it seemed as if the full human range of slam dunk motion had been fully explored. Windmills, Statue of Liberty dunks, free-throw-line takeoffs, 180s, 360s, reverses, double-clutches, through the legs, off the backboard, alley-oops. It had all been done again and again and again.
NBA all-star weekend took place this year in New Orleans from February 17-19. There a number of events that the event consist of however, the dunk contest is the main event for NBA All-star weekend. Nonetheless over the years it has become one of the most boring thing to watch due to lack of creativity, or so we thought. In last year’s 2016’s contest, Zach LaVine slipped the surly bonds of Earth to windmill on the face of God and Aaron Gordon CrossFit leg-lifted clear over Stuff the Magic Dragon, turning Air Canada Centre turned into a basketball fan mosh pit.
Many people were excited for the 2017 dunk contest with Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine both saying that they were going to be returning to the contest for a rematch. However, LaVine was injured a couple of weeks before All-star weekend and was unable to attend. “I had really high hopes that Zach LaVine was going to win the dunk contest this year, but since he got injured I though Aaron Gordon was going to win it by a long shot. I was sadly disappointed,” said John Victor Cruz a Senior at NDNU
The 2017 lineup for the dunk contest included Derrick Jones Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Glenn Robinson III, and returning contender Aaron Gordon. “I thought that Derrick Jones Jr. or Aaron Gordon were going to have a battle in the final. But after all the missed dunk attempts I ended up just turning the channel”, said Gonzaga basketball player Brian Alberts. “I mean I love the dunk contest but there’s just no more creativity. Everything has already been done, that’s why when Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon were going crazy in last year’s dunk contest. It was like a breath of fresh air,” said Byron Davis, a former Azusa Pacific college basketball player and coach.
During night of the dunk contest students came into the St. John’s building lounge area to watch the event take place live. “Yeah a lot of people showed up to watch it in the lounge but after the second round of the dunk contest was over, half of the people left,” said Jay Sharma, a junior R.A. at NDNU. Before 2016, the competition had been in steady decline since Vince Carter’s revelatory Air Canada showcase in 2000. The flaws leading up to this year were easy to pick out; inconsistent performances, creative ambition out of proportion with actual ability, and the worst of all, crappy props. The 2017 dunk contest was a remake of these three things and a major fall off from 2016’s Godly dunk contest. If this keeps on going more people are going to tune out instead of tuning in to All-star weekend. Which could lead to less popularity amongst the NBA and its fans.