At Project Franchise, we are all about the fan and think that pro sports should be focused on their customer - even more so during big, "fan friendly events" like all-star games and pro bowls - so you can imagine our horror watching the pitiful display put on this weekend.
Last nights "NBA All-Star Saturday Night Sprite Slam Dunk Contest" sucked. It sucked worse than any dunk contest I can ever remember - and that includes the one we had my junior year of high school that featured two 6'6" white guys who each had about 4" verts and were doing nothing more than layups that were technically dunks... heck, that one was more exciting, as it was impressive since they were only 16.
There was only one semi-original dunk, coming from Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozen as he threw down ball thrown off a side of the backboard pass. Otherwise the night was full of lame, boring dunks that literally had my wife saying "I could do some of those".... and I'm not married to Candace Parker.
I don't know if its that they dont want to get hurt, or if its a fear of being embarrassed by lesser known players, but the superstars have got to turn out for the dunk contest (the way they do for the 3 pt contest and skills challenge) or it ends up being a total snoozefest. The reason the last couple of years were so good, was because superstar Dwight Howard came to the party and actually did some creative stuff, which forced tiny Nate Robinson to elevate his game (which he didnt have to do this year to get the win over lesser competition) - so how about LeBron and D-Wade and Kobe try signing up for next season (and actually keeping their promise to play in it , ahem, LeBron).
The All-Star Weekend festivities are supposed to be all about the fans and a way to give them a fun weekend in the middle of the season where they get greater access to the superstar players that make the league tick - so the NBA needs to get back to making its marquee All-Star Weekend event all about the superstars and figure out a way to get those big name guys back in the dunk contest (like the good old Domonique - Jordan days).
The saddest part of this years dunk contest is how it paled in comparison to the amateur contest held along with the NBA D-Leagues dunk off. These no-name guys went at it 10x harder than Gerald Wallace, who looked like a tired old man, and Shannon Brown, who did probably the most boring combination of dunks ever in a dunk contest, and they came out to give the fans a good time.