Spicing Up The NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

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2010 was a big year for the NBA.  It gave us the defending champions in the LA Lakers.  The youngest NBA scoring leader in league history with Kevin Durant.  ‘The Decision’ by LeBron James, and an epic free agency year with numerous player movements. Last but not least, the lamest slam dunk contest in NBA history.  Honestly, how many of these dunks really impress you?

There are a couple cool dunks, but most of them are stuff that NBA fans have already seen before.  The dunkers-Nate Robinson, DeMar DeRozen, Gerald Wallace, and Shannon Brown, aren’t players who would be your first pick to watch in a slam dunk contest, with maybe the exception of Nate Rob.  The big stars no longer want to be a part of it as they did in the past.  Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving gladly participated in the ‘80’s and wanted to win, but the stars of today don’t care.  Instead, the caliber in the past few years has been replaced by the likes of Chris Anderson, Jamario Moon, and Hakim Warrick. Wow.

So how then, do you improve the dunk contest?  There are still current NBA players who people would love to see. Josh Smith and Amare Stoudemire brought back some originality in 2005. JR Smith had an impressive dunk in 2005. Jason Richardson can still throw down, and brought the most impressive dunk in NBA History. Everyone would still love to see LeBron James compete, as he had claimed he would in 2010, but backed out.  Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook are a couple other players who might draw some attention.  Bigger names will draw bigger crowds and better results, if they can be got.  If they cannot be had, then there are some hidden gems playing in the NBDL or other leagues that could beat NBA players in a dunk contest.

Won 3 dunk titles, but excitement is minimal for him

The first few names that come to mind are ‘Air Up There’ and ‘T Dub.’ Taurian Fontenette, aka ‘air up there’ or ‘Mr. 720,’ made his name on the ‘And 1 Mixtape’ circuit with his 720 dunk. The 6’2” athlete literally looks like he can fly, throwing down an aerial display with ease. I can’t describe it legitimately, you have to watch for yourself. He also blew away the competition at the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest last year. ‘T Dub’ is a part of group called ‘Team Flight Brothers,’ and made his mark last month in a Nike Dunk Contest in Los Angeles.  He is a 5’9” spring from the mold of Nate Robinson.  Another dunker is 6’8” John Clark, who has some impressive dunks in his bag.

If you throw any of these guys into the mix, you are instantly given a more enjoyable dunk contest.  Although the NBA Dunk Contest is meant to showcase the best dunkers in the league, it has become pretty clear from the past years that that is no longer the case.  We are given some nice players, but not the best dunkers in terms of athleticism or originality.  Dunkers like ‘T Dub’ and ‘Mr. 720’ stir things up for the contest and make it more interesting.  If they start beating NBA players, then higher caliber players become interested in defending the NBA’s name.  Wouldn’t a dunk contest of field of Lebron, John Wall, Air Up There, and T Dub make for a must see event?  The replay value on news telecasts will be high and the buzz for the dunk contest grows even stronger for the following years.  There will be stuff pulled out during the contest that people have never seen, unless they watch Youtube.  The best dunkers in the league will want to come and prove themselves, not against only the leagues best dunkers, but the world’s.

‘Air Up There’ brings a new dimension

The Dunk Contest product right now is a bit broken and unoriginal.  This is a quick fix that might be a bit puzzling to some who have never heard of the dunkers I’ve mentioned, but watching their videos brings a quick recognition of their talents.  The idea is a bit outside the box, but it would work.  And if this article left you hungry for more dunks, you’re in luck: Top 100:Best Dunks Ever.

-Bjorn Zetterberg

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