You know what’s sad? I don’t even know who’s in this year’s dunk contest. I should know, but I don’t. The slam dunk contest has now become so boring that it just doesn’t excite me anymore.
Looking at the dunks of years past, I am reminded about the creativity in the dunks. There was a sense of pride in going out there and putting on a show. Great dunkers entered. Popular players entered. The dunk contest used to mean something. It was a deal that was worth making a fuss about. We don’t have that anymore.
Big names such as LeBron James won’t join it. Instead, we are getting some no namers that might be good, but the hype isn’t there. Instead, we enter this All-Star weekend with not much build up towards the dunk contest. What happened along the way?
The sad thing is that the NBA is a different world now. Every player is a marketing brand. Because of that, they have to strategize and think about the pros and cons of a dunk contest. LeBron James is so big that he can’t afford to the dunk contest on his brand. I wouldn’t mind seeing Dwyane Wade or even Kevin Durant join the dunk contest. But they won’t. Their image is too tied down to afford something like this.
The contest used to be a chance to showcase and have fun. Now it’s a corporate machine with props, gimmicks and everything else. The purity of the contest is gone. The desire for it to mean something is gone.
I’ll watch it tonight and I hope it’s a good show. But a part of me wishes that the show was like it was before.