This year's Slam Dunk contest was easily the worst in recent memory. It left me (and I'm sure many other fans) on the edge of the seat, still waiting for this year's memorable throw down. But in the end, the dunk never came. According to the New York Daily News, Shaquille O'Neal was overheard calling Saturday's Slam Dunk contest "the worst ever."
The contestants included: reigning two-time, defending champion Nate Robinson, Shannon Brown of the Lakers, Charlotte's Gerald Wallace, and the first time Dunk-In Contest champion DeMar Derozan from Toronto. Despite early season talks of high-profile stars, such as LeBron James and fan-favorite Dwight Howard, joining this year's dunk contest during a record-setting All-Star weekend, the contestants fell short. There wasn't the usual hype for the 2010 contestants. After it was all over, the favorite, 5'9" Nate Robinson, took home the trophy, despite lacking a spectacular, jaw-dropping dunk. From my standpoint, not only did Robinson lack having the best dunk of the night, but he didn't deserve to win either. The champion of final round between Robinson and DeRozan was voted on by the fans via text message, which I believe was just a popularity contest.
This voting method of the fans texting in their choice for the champion is simply foolish. Yes, this contest is put into place to entertain fans. But, in the future, the champion should be crowned by the judging panel of former players and celebrity guests, similar to in years past. There needs to be more of an incentive for superstars and higher profile players to be in the dunk contest. It's better for the fans, the league, and provides for more memorable moments, such as Vince Carter's arm in the rim or Michael Jordan's foul-line slam.
With his win in this year's dunk contest, Nate Robinson became the first ever, three-time champion. He surpassed the dunking greats, such as Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Jason Richardson, and Harold Miner, who all took home the trophy twice, respectively. Even the one-time winners, such as Spud Webb, Isaiah Rider, Kobe Bryant, Josh Smith, Vince Carter, and Dwight Howard, won over the viewers with electrifying and some never before seen dunks.
In years to come, I hope the superstars take more of an interest in participating in the Slam Dunk contest and we see some new, creative dunks. If higher profile players enter the dunk contest in the future, the level of skill and entertainment will bring the Slam Dunk contest back into the limelight.