I know the normal thing to say is “the dunk contest is worn out, it’s getting old, every dunk has been done, blah blah blah.” I’ve never felt that way. For the most part, I’m normally quite entertained. And isn’t that the point? To be entertained? Sure, there are some down years here and there, but I can live with that. With that said, I LOVED this year’s dunk contest. There have been years where one guy was so clearly better than the rest of the guys that that one guy dominated the show. This year, we honestly had four guys who put THOUGHT into the contest and brought it. It was the best, top-to-bottom, dunk contest I’ve seen. We didn’t see the greatest dunks of all time, but we did see some of the best non-winning dunks ever.
Before I delve in to some of my favorite dunks, I want to talk about a few of the complaints that creep up every year and really piss me off.
The first complaint is about guys getting to many chances and taking to long. That used to be the case, but is 2 minutes seriously to long? I hear people say they wish the contest was the way it used to be where a guy would get one shot and that was it. The hell? Do you remember the mid-90s. There is only so much a man can do with one shot. Would you like to see the same Jordan/Dominque dunks over and over and over again. That’s what you would get. Everyone playing it safe. Personally, I’ll take creativity and something new every single day of the week, even if it means a guy needs 4 or 5 tries to get it right. No way would you have seen someone dunk two balls in two different baskets if they only had one shot.
The second complaint is about the fan voting. Apparently, fans voting takes away from something or other. I don’t know. If you care about who wins these things then you’re watching for the wrong reasons. I simply want to see good dunks. I could care less who wins or loses. That said, are the fans honestly worse than the judges? Did you not see Ibaka’s FT line dunk? That was the longest dunk we’ve seen in a dunk competition, and yet he only gets a 45? Do you remember Iggy getting robbed by the judges? Sorry, but the judges are no better than the fans.
Finally, and this is a little off-topic, but everyone always compares each and every dunk contest to the Vince Carter contest or the Jordan contest. Let’s stop please. If we had guys come out and do those exact same dunks, they’d get 7s and 8s. I understand that one guy needs to build on what another guy has done, but let’s not pretend that if these guys did those dunks it would be nearly as exiciting. And, one of my feelings, but I was never that impressed with the Carter display. Personally, I think Jason Richardson and Dwight Howard have put on better shows than Carter did. I honestly think Kenny Smith had/has more to do with that contests reputation than the actual dunks. He was a great hype-man that night, and people remember Kenny screaming. When you hear Kenny screa, you think to yourself that something good must have just happened.
As for the specific event tonight, I know people are going to be ragging on the car dunk. Forget that dunk. Don’t let that ruin the other things you saw. Remember the dunk Griffin did just one dunk prior to that. You’ve never seen that before. It was awesome.
On to my top 5 dunks of the night.
#5- The JaVale McGee rock-the-cradle half-reverse. I’m just making up the names as I go, but you know which one. After his first attempt, I didn’t think there was anyway he would be able to put that one down. But he did. It was one of the prettiest dunks you’ll ever see. We’ve seen it before, but because you need such big hands and such long arms to do it, it doesn’t happen very much.
#4- The Blake Griffin REAL 360. I say real, because so many times you see guys start their spin early. Take the famous VC dunk for example. The man started his spin during his jump stop. By the time he took off, he was already spinning in the direction he wanted to go. Compare that to what Griffin did. Griffin honestly took off facing the basket and did the ENTIRE spin in mid-air. The only other time I can think of seeing that is the “Statue of Liberty.” The difference? Griffin managed to two-hand tomahawk this thing. Had he managed to do the very first dunk he tried (and he was damn close), a very delayed 360 dunk, it would have been the greatest dunk I’ve seen. In the version he completed, he started the spin sooner in the jump, making it easier. Still, I’ve never seen an NBA dunk contestant do an honest 360 and manage to play with the ball in the air.
#3- The Demar DeRozan bounce to himself one handed scoop reverse. One of those dunks that you’ve seen before, but this one was just prettier. Also, it’s one of those dunks that if he doesn’t make it his first try, it doesn’t nearly have the impact. Kind of like the Vince Carter dunks. Fortunately for DeRozan, he made it the first try. It really was a thing of beauty. He caught the ball of the bounce with one hand and THEN scooped it down and back up. It was like a half-windmill, only from reverse and only using one hand to control the ball.
#2- The Blake Griffin off the backboard arm in the rim. Really, really sick. You’ve seen the Vince Carter version, and this was the Blake Griffin version. He threw it off the backboard, caught the ball, and put his arm through the rim.
#1- The Javale McGee two buckets, two balls, ally-oop double dunk. Man the names I’m coming up with are awesome. If you watched then you knew this would be the one. Easily, and I mean easily, the hardest degree of difficulty dunk I’ve seen completed in the NBA dunk contest. To be able to throw the ball off the back board, catch it in mid-air, dunk it with your off hand and THEN take the other ball in your hand and dunk it..INTO A DIFFERENT HOOP? Insane. Totally insane. He’s the only guy in the league who can pull that dunk off. I’m positive of that. But agian, if this were the “old days” you’d never even see a dunk like that attempted. Let me just say, thank god it isn’t the old days. I love seeing guys use their imaginations and come up with something like what McGee did. It was fantastic to watch.
Those are my top 5. Best contest of all time? I don’t know. I’d put it in the top 5, maybe the top 3. I can say this though, there was NO dead weight in this thing. That is absolutely the 1st time I’ve seen a contest in which that was the case. And seriously, if you watched this and were not entertained, then there is something wrong with you. If you watched this and were entertained, well, please stop complaining because that is the entire point. To entertain you.
I will say this, though. If there were one thing I would consider changing, it would be to allow all 4 guys 5 dunks a piece and just forget the finals. Ibaka and DeRozan were very impressive and there is no reason I shouldn’t get to see more dunks from them. However, I can immediately see the primary problem. Have that rule in last year’s dunk contest, and people would be ready to kill themselves. No one wants to see Gerald Wallace half-ass it 5 times when 2 does just fine. So, my solution? If someone fails to reach a certain score within their first couple of dunks, they don’t get to keep dunking. Otherwise, let me see these boys fly.