Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com
As a long-standing spectacle on the Saturday night of All-Star weekend, many have said that the annual Sprite Slam-Dunk competition has lost some of it’s magic. It’s not an All-Star dunk contest.
Gone are the days when the best players in the NBA would compete and fight it out for the formerly prestigious title. Nowadays, the event just feels a little forced; it lacks star-power, ingenuity and Kenny Smith’s constant interviewing of participants really grinds my gears. In this article, I’ll address the first of my concerns: star power. In an ideal world, who would compete in the dunk contest?
Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is one of the most athletic point guards the NBA has ever seen. Every single game we see Westbrook explode to the basketball, before ferociously finishing at the rim – often resulting in many highlight dunks. At his current height of 6-3, dunks look all the more impressive. I honestly thought he might participate this year, but that ship never set sail. Alas, he’ll have to settle to taking part in our fantasy dunk contest.
Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
The 6-10 power forward has already won the slam-dunk contest, when he famously jumped over the roof of a Kia to dunk the ball–with a chorus of gospel singers behind him. Griffin is one of the most powerful dunkers we’ve seen in years. Just look at the dunk he performed in training with the U.S. national team. The creativity is there. It was very strange that BG32 didn’t defend his title, although he did have to perform in both the BBVA Rising Stars challenge and the All-Star Game itself in 2012.
Paul George – Indiana Pacers
Another star that had previously entered the dunk contest but now feels himself too big to participate? Who knows? Well, what we do know is that Paul George is a fantastic dunker of the basketball. His ridiculous athleticism allows him to pull off dunks that others wouldn’t even dare to attempt. George is well on his way to being a star in the National Basketball Association, yet that shouldn’t stop him from participating in the dunk contest now and then.
Andre Igoudala – Denver Nuggets
Once famously robbed from winning the dunk contest, the former Philadelphia 76ers swingman can get up. Despite being known for his lockdown perimeter defence, ‘Dre has amazing quickness, vertical and creativity. All three ingredients that are vital when choosing someone to participate in the dunk contest. Alas, he’s a gold medallist now – I fear he may never compete in such an event again.
LeBron James – Miami Heat
Ever since entering the NBA, the comparisons between Michael Jordan and LeBron James have existed. Something they are both very good at is dunking. MJ famously won the dunk contest with his free-throw line dunk and it’s time for LeBron to add to his legacy by winning the dunk contest. He has the ability to. James himself even once pledged to compete in the dunk contest–only to shrink at the prospect when push came to shove. Imagine if LeBron put his name forward for a dunk contest? The prestige of the event would return. Come on King James, make it happen.
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