The NBA is at a crossroads. Newly minted commissioner Adam Silver has a big decision to make on the All-Star Saturday Night activities, more specifically the Slam Dunk Competition because Saturday’s display was just dreadful.
First off, what the hell was Nick Cannon’s deal? Nick Cannon is kind of fun on America’s Got Talent, but it’s looked like someone killed his dog earlier on Saturday and Cannon didn’t have enough time to back out of the gig. The NBA brought on Cannon to be the on-court MC for the Saturday events and on its face it should work, but it didn’t. Cannon brought little to no energy to a job that the only job requirement is to have energy and pump up the crowd. It seemed through the television that the arena was dead, Cannon’s demeanor didn’t help.
The NBA pulled out their usual activities of Shooting Stars, Skills Competition, Three Point Contest and Slam Dunk, but they put a conference slant to the competition. That’s not a bad idea, it ties the whole night together and all the winnings are heading to charity, but the Slam Dunk was not a slam dunk. In fact it was the least entertaining of all of the competitions. Yes, even the Shooting Stars beat the Slam Dunk. It’s reached that level.
With the new conference alignment strategy the NBA introduced a ‘Freestyle Round’ where the three competitors dunk in conjunction with each other. This was kind of fun and has a lot of potential. The winning conference got to decide if they would go first or last in the ‘Battle Rounds’ where an Eastern Conference dunker would go against a Western Conference slammer, the first conference to three ‘Battle Round’ win would win the competition and the fans would voter for the individual dunker winner.
It was a total mess. The ‘Battle Rounds’ only featured three rounds because the Eastern Conference and only featured one good dunk. John Wall had the only memorable dunk and on his first attempt which is something that usually doesn’t happen. Many thought the competition still had more to go, it was just so anticlimactic.
The NBA needs to reinstitute the point system to the Slam Dunk or get rid of it. The Slam Dunk has gotten very tired, old, gimmicky and nobody is brining any new stuff to the table. If the NBA takes away the Slam Dunk for just a year or two, people will start clamoring for it back. The NBA needs to get people reinterested in what used to be the best part of All-Star Weekend at whatever costs necessary.
The Slam Dunk of my childhood is gone. Vince Carter and Jason Richardson aren’t coming back anytime soon.