OK, most all of us were glued to our TVs this past Saturday night for all the All-Star festivities(or at least DVRed it) and saw what the dunk contest has come down to. Now, I don't know if you guys caught the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown earlier in the day when those "pro" amateur dunkers competed. Of course, these guys are mostly comprised of streetballers who spend hours upon hours creating and perfecting their dunks, but Got damn! Their creativity puts any of the dunks at this year's NBA Dunk contest to shame! Here's a prime example:
K Dobbs taking Ced Ceballos' blindfold dunk to a whole other level. Definitely makes Bundinger's version look weak! Search youtube for the other dunks which were get-off-your-seat good too!
Then, a few hours later, we were subject to a snoozefest that brought more silence than cheers. Obviously this year's dunk contest was a total flop and their genius idea of eliminating physical judges and letting the social media-driven fans decide resulted in an anti-climactic crowning of a new dunk champion.
1. The Obvious: half the field needs to be comprised of Star players.
No disrespect to Jeremy Evans or any of the other guys who participated, but like most of the folks who have sounded off about their disgust, this contest needs STAR POWER. Lebron, where you at? Defending champ, Mr Kia spokesman, Blake Griffin, where you at? Uber athletic Westbrook, where you at? What compelled fans to watch this in the past was seeing MJ, Nique, Clyde, Kobe, etc showcase their creativity and athleticism. Yeah, its nice to see an up-and-comer make a name for himself and dazzle the crowd with his leaping ability, but have him play the underdog and compete with a few stars! These elite players need to get off their high horse and give the fans what they want! How the league does this? That's the big question. How about they say if they don't get at least 3 superstars to volunteer in the contest, then they will just kill the contest altogether. That kind of ultimatum might light a fire underneath some of these diva players(aka LBJ) to actually participate and save this competition.
2. Base their scores on crowd noise by adding a Decibel meter in the arena.
The one biggest sign the dunk contest is so unappealing is the crowd doesn't get into it anymore. Most of us have the "been there-seen that" mentality so if its not new or exciting, we ain't gonna cheer. Only way to promote the crowd to cheer for their favorite dunker or dunk is to display a huge decibel meter on the big screens and once a guy completes his dunk, the crowd's level of noise will be factored into the score.I think adding this dimension into the scoring will revitalize crowd participation. Judges will have to factor in the crowd's response before putting their score in or have the crowd noise meter be the 5th judge(if there's 4 real judges) Set 80db as an 8 score, 90db for a 9 score, 100_db for a 10 score or something like that.
3. Bring back physical judges and give them monitors to see the dunk replays in slow-mo
The social media voting experiment obviously failed because we all knew who won, but who got 2nd...3rd? 4th? Bring back guest judges...make them recognizable people too, and not just past dunk champions. Shoot, let Bieber judge. Let Lady Gaga. Give us fans something to talk about like "why the hell did Biebs give him a 7?? that dumba**" And giving them all monitors to see the same slow motion replays we see on TV before they enter their scores is crucial! Almost always they only see the dunk in real-time and won't see the intricacies of the dunk that you would in a slow-mo replay. Give the judges a chance to look at it from different angles so they can better judge the dunk.
4. Props, props, props! I keep hearing that they should eliminate the use of props but really, with every conceivable dunk already been performed, bringing in props only adds another dimension. As long as its done tastefully and brings entertainment value to the dunk, I'm all for it. D12's 12 foot rim dunk, Blake's Kia dunk, Nate's kyryptonite ball. Bring it! That's part of all the creativity is what other objects or people you can add to your dunk that will make the fans jump out of their seat.
5. Forget the time limits and go back to the old school 1 makeup dunk rule.
What makes these dunk contests drag and make the fans lose interest is when they try a dunk 10-20x and finally make it(or miss it). The luster is gone! You won't get the same crowd reaction after the guy has attempted and missed a hundred times before that! I think the O.G. rule was 1 makeup dunk per round but to be fair, give them 1 makeup dunk per attempt, so if they miss on their first dunk they have 1 makeup dunk, then their next dunk if they miss, they get 1 makeup dunk, etc. If they miss again, then their max possible score is 5. Simple as that.
6. Keep it at 2 rounds and only the Top2 advance to the Finals
Its not as exciting to see 3 guys in the finals, You want to see 2 guys go head-to-head in any final round. Give them 3 dunks in the first round and only the top 2 advance, then only 2 dunks in the final round. The contest will move much faster and it gives less down time for the crowd to get restless.
7. if they don't get enough superstar players to commit, then ditch the pro's dunk contest altogether and just fill in this spot with the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown amateurs to compete! At least you know they will give it their 100% and put on a show! Better yet, pit them and the D-league dunk participants. No star power(like it is right now), but creativity is much higher since these guys have more time to spend perfecting their dunks.
What do you guys think? I know I put a lot of thought into this(maybe too much) but I have fond memories of tuning into All-Star Saturday night as a kid and watching my boyhood NBA idols go toe-to-toe. I'd hate to see this contest spiral into oblivion so something more drastic needs to be done to revive it. One.