Thursday, February 4, 2010


Every year for quite a few years I have taped the NBA All-Star weekend. It all began when I was younger and the games were on after my bedtime. The obvious highlight of the weekend was the famous slam dunk contest. Who doesn't love to watch some of the most athletic people in the world show off in front of thousands of screaming fans? Although in my opinion the dunks have become less original in the past few years, I have enjoyed the antics of Dwight Howard turning into Superman and Nate Robinson coming out in a fluorescent green "Kryptonite" uniform bent on bringing down the Man of Steel. Some of my favorite contest moments were during the 2002 All-Star weekend when the contest took on the feel of Wheel of Fortune. In the second round, each player would spin the giant wheel and whatever category they landed on would determine what dunk they would need to replicate from the archives. I remember watching these athletes trying to replicate what became an image of the greatness of Michael Jordan: the dunk from the free throw line. Even though this dunk was performed when a Julius Erving dunk was spun, somehow in my mind this dunk will always be associated with Michael himself. Maybe this is because I am the product of my generation that grew up when every basketball player wanted to "Be like Mike." I do not mean to diminish the accomplishments of Dr. J; it is just that a player who has achieved worldwide fame will dominate the attention of his era. Who hasn't seen the image of Michael Jordan, tongue fully protruded, soaring towards the rim with seemingly super hero ability? This image and this athlete have come to define slam dunking greatness. Michael is not nicknamed His Airness for nothing. What the dunk contest needs to revitalize itself is simply get the stars to enter. In 1985, 1987, and 1988, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins squared off in what have become some of the most famous contests in history. Not only were these two the best dunkers in the NBA; they were two of the league's brightest stars. Come on Lebron! You have been saying that you will compete in the dunk contest and bailed. Until superstars get back into the mix, the epic contests will be lost to future generations.

No comments:

Post a Comment