The dunk contest was revitalised yesterday, it was given a shot of adreniline to get it's heartbeat pumping again after last year's lifeless showing almost sucked the life's blood of it for good. Do you want to know the beauty of yesterday's competition? It wasn't Blake Griffin jumping over the hood of a car nor was it Serge Ibaka 'rescuing' teddy bears of child actors brought in for the occassion. It was the dunks without props.The car dunk will receive all the highlights and yes it was a great dunk but for mine, Griffin's first dunk 'attempt' would have been better, had he pulled it off of course. For the first time in many years we saw contestants actually put thought into their dunks and try and come up with something unique, something that would capture the attention of the crowd. Guess what, they did.
For years we have seen these 'gimmicky' dunks get outlandish by the year to the point we were one more year away from midget clowns and circus performers being brought in as assistants to participants. This was the year was a throwback to an era where it was just the man, the ball and the ring -for the most part, maybe an extra ring doesn't really count as props? DeMar DeRozan, JaVale McGee and Blake Griffin (barring his last dunk) brought the heat. DeRozan's second dunk of the night, the "Showstopper" was criminally overlooked as the dunk of the night. The precision and technical ability to pull that off was superb.
Griffin's first 'attempt' on his very first dunk would have brought the house down moreso than the car dunk had he completed it. Attempting a 360 degree windmill, Griffin had the ball below his waist before the jam but could not complete. The props may win the crowd over but it's the actual dunks that keep the purists appeased. This year a car, next year a contestant will have to up the ante, what next? "I have to come up with something else," Griffin said. "Maybe a boat next year."
JaVale McGee's dunks had the crowd gasping in disbelief as he dunked two balls in two rings and then three balls in the one ring on his next attempt. Unfortunately it was a prop-fuelled dunk that stole the thunder at the end but it was the afore mentioned dunks that paved the way for that crowd anticipation for the final round. Gone are the days when a Dominique or and MJ would save one last thunderous explosion in the final round to win the trophy. Now it seems we are rewarding the spectacular at the expense of the technical and clever. Griffin may have been a worthy winner, but it wasn't due to his technical ability on the night. Either way the contest as a whole has been revitalised and all eyes will be on the contestants next year in Orlando. Myself included.