While the NBA All-Star weekend was mostly entertaining, there was a certain dirty feeling associated with the weekend’s events. Especially that of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest which appeared to be more scripted and pre-determined than a cheesy WWE Pay-Per-View event.
Despite pulling off what appeared to most to be superior dunks, Serge Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan were swept under the rug in an effort to put the Golden Boy, Blake Griffin into the finals to allow him the chance to perform an average dunk over a Kia (official sponsor of the NBA mind you).
With Griffin playing in L.A. for the Clippers and the obvious attempt by the NBA to build Griffin into their next mega-star, there was little chance that anyone other than he would walk away victorious. The degree by which the event appeared to be scripted and pre-determined, however, was much more than I expected.
So much so, that Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said that he is now finished competing in the Slam Dunk Contest unless the props are eliminated, this according to the Washington Post. I personally, have been adamantly against the use of props to aid in the dunk contest as I think it takes away from the true athleticism and creativity of the players. But who am I?
DeRozan, as a current NBA player and past performer (a very good one at that), however should carry a little more weight on the topic. When asked today if he thought he was robbed in the competition he said “I think so. I’m a dunker. Dunk contests, you go out there and dunk. I’m not into all the props and everything. I try to come out with a creative dunk and do it and go from there. My fans liked it and you can see the reaction from a lot of people afterward. If there’s a dunk contest next year I’ll do it. But not no prop dunk contest.”
Now, I wholeheartedly agree with what DeRozan is saying here but it must be pointed out that he is rumored to have planned perhaps the most elaborate and ridiculous ‘prop dunk’ for last weekend’s event. Just as rumors flew out about Griffin jumping over a car, rumors and pictures came out that DeRozan was planning to use a trampoline and a man in a chicken suit for one of his dunks.
Sure, he can still be against props and know that he had to use them in order to compete and win, but it’s worth pointing out.
DeRozan wasn’t the only one who was robbed in the contest as far as I’m concerned as Serge Ibaka had the best “foul line” dunk in the history of the contest. Hopefully, the NBA can get it right and do away with all the props and significantly reduce the number of missed dunks. While JaVale McGee had some incredible dunks, most were after 15 or so misses which made them far less impressive. The contest would be much more exciting if they enacted a “3 strike” rule to only allow contestants 3 misses before being disqualified for any given attempt.