Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 3:51 pm  |  27 responses

Paul George Was Robbed…

And the Dunk Contest is dead.

by Bryan Crawford | @_bryancrawford

In the dunk contest over the weekend, Paul George did the Vince Carter 360-windmill dunk… With all the lights in the arena off and his uniform glowing in the dark. And he still lost.

The NBA, famous for the amount of fan input that’s incorporated into its All-Star festivities, may have taken it one step too far in giving fans the keys to the car and letting them vote on the winner of the Dunk Contest. That act alone may have killed the contest forever.

Nothing against Jeremy Evans who had one legitimately good dunk—the two ball toss while jumping over Gordon Hayward sitting on a bar stool—but Paul George had three. And the glow-in-the dark dunk should have made him the winner, hands down.

I wonder if the fans who voted realize that you really only get one shot at that dunk? If he misses the first time, the entire thing is blown. On top of that, we’re not talking about a regular, run-of-the-mill jam either. PG did VC’s iconic windmill from 2000 the first time out, in a gym full of people all sitting in the dark, yo. Not to mention a 360 reverse windmill while slapping the glass and he jumped over his 7-2 teammate, Roy Hibbert, and 6-5 Dontae Jones at the same time.

Yes Jeremy Evans jumped over Gordon Hayward who is 6-9, but Hayward was sitting down. Evans also jumped over Kevin Hart. Was the general voting public aware that a standing Kevin Hart is just three apples high? I mean, c’mon… Chase Budinger cleared Diddy who’s at least 5-9. And yes, I just called the man known as ‘Chocolate Drop’ a Smurf.

All-Star Weekend felt rushed and thrown together already, but leaving the dunk contest voting in the hands of everyday internet and a cell phone users instead of trained and experienced professionals, not only made the event the lowlight of Saturday night, but made the whole thing a joke. The dunk contest has been in a steady free fall for years, but this year, it may have finally hit rock bottom.

Why would George—who clearly has potential to be one of the League’s best contest dunkers— want to compete again, especially if this voting format continues? In fact, why would anyone want to enter when their fate is left to those who aren’t truly able to appreciate how difficult it is to actually perform these feats of athleticism? That part should be scrapped, never to return.

Of course we could sit here and complain all day about where the event misses the mark, but it’s more important to try and figure out what can be done to fix it. But it’s really hard to say because a large part of that is solution centers around the competitors, yet nobody really knows how the field is chosen. How does John Wall—who had the best dunk of the weekend—not make it into the competition?

Also, how many chances does a guy get to attempt the same dunk? Yes it took George a few tries to nail the Larry Bird sticker dunk, but Derrick Williams spent the better part of a minute attempting an off-the-glass-between-the-legs jam that he never got down. It was reminiscent of Nate Robinson from a few years ago.

The best thing for the contest would be to go back to its original format of two dunks for every participant per round and one replacement dunk per attempt. That will help guys concentrate more and give a better show. Oh yeah, bring the judges back. Also, get rid of the props and gimmicks. The glow-in-the dark jam was cool, but the overuse of gimmicks the past few years have really cheapened the event.

Finally, raise the incentive for participating.

Jack up the prize money. Give away a new Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Make the League’s biggest names, the highest flyers and most creative dunkers actually want to participate in the contest. Otherwise, make the Three-Point Shootout the signature event of All-Star Saturday and move the Dunk Contest right after the Shooting Stars competition because right now, that’s where it belongs.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Awful awful dunk contest…way too gimmicky and a bunch of players that people don’t really care that much about. Put the superstars back in the dunk contest!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk


  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    and “a standing Kevin Hart is 3 apples high” is the best thing I have read in months.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    And that is why I didn’t even bother tuning in this year. Just saw the highlights the day after. lol

  • shuref00t

    I have an idea on how to make the dunk contest more interesting. You have Dwight Howard or Serge Ibaka guarding the rim, as contestants try to get their best posterizing dunk on the league’s best shot blockers. The winner is determined by the buzz & excitement generated on Twitter by fellow NBA players– to the dismay of Kendrick Perkins. You don’t even need to raise the prize money on this event, since it’ll be more about pride than anything else.

  • robb

    @shuref00t are you Shane Battier? It sounds exciting but someone could get injured. I say get rid of those f*cking gimmicks and let’s see who’s actually a good dunker. I don’t wanna see clowns fooling around. Damn you Ceballos you started it all. And get Lebron James and Demar DeRozan.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I think there’s a place for the gimmicks; some of the creative ones are really fun (Dwight Howard, Gerald Green), but they shouldn’t dominate the contest. If you fail on a dunk attempt, you should only get to retry that SAME dunk once at most. And judges. Not ex-NBA players who give 10′s whenever the crowd claps the loudest, but sports writers who know what the hell they’re doing and won’t give a perfect score to a gimmick. Cosign all of this article.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Dave Spahn

    Awesome article Bryan. Agree on the whole thing. Paul was HANDS DOWN the winner. He has the potential to be one of the league’s best dunkers for a long time. What is his incentive to ever do this again? Any hope of having LeBron, Westbrook, Rose, Durant, or Dwight in the contest is completely out the window with the fan vote garbage.

  • http://www.nicekicks.com Chris

    @Caboose you forgot about Michael Jordan who only seems to give out 7 or 8′s regardless of how amazing the dunk was.

  • robb

    Do sports writers know better than former players? I don’t think so. Maybe the judges should be people like Air up there, Dupuy, Tdub, guys who really know what dunking is all about. I don’t think those guys would give too many 10′s though, but I’m sure they’d get it right.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    overall paul had the best dunks, but he shot himself in the foot with glow-in-the-dark, we could hardly see it at all. And he pushed of a lot on hibberts shoulder. The sticker dunk was underrated, it just took him too many tries. But yea, the contest feels dead. They need to expand the field and bring in bigger names, get a sponsor that’s willing to give out some serious prize money, and have judges even though they also get it wrong from time to time. Budinger was second in the voting! Jeremy Lin could probably have showed up and done a few lay ups and won the thing in a landslide.

  • Tempest

    The 3 point shootout is lame as hell. The dunk contest will always be the number 1 show on All Star Saturday. But it should be the Sprite Slam Dunk comp with amateur dunkers eg Kenny Dobbs and the TFB crew, they can do things that make your mouth hit the floor

  • http://slamonline house

    Yes PG got robbed and the NBA D league dunk comp was more entertaining than the NBA dunk comp.

  • dun kno

    if u look at georges closely, youll see he pushes off hibberts shoulder for exta leverage.. like cmon that makes it so much less impressive and difficult..

  • qwerty

    if lebron, blake griffin or dwight wont join anymore i hope they get to field guys like russell westbrook or john wall. heck westbrook should have been fielded if it werent for that voting thing which brought in rudy fernandez instead…

  • cardel

    rudy did alright on that contest

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    George missed a lot of dunks, and he did not catch a lob with two balls while jumping over someone.
    Calling that “legitimately good” is criminal.
    That was the only original dunk of the entire night. Yeah, it’s nice that George turned the lights out, but he did a dunk that’s been done before. Nobody has dunked two balls off an alley oop while jumping over someone. That’s crazy.
    And George pole vaulted over Hibbert using the other cat as an extra boost.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    You know, the fact that George needed so much leverage to get over 7’2 Hibbert just makes VC’s Olympic dunk that much more impressive…

  • http://SLAMonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Allen, that two-ball dunk was good and also creative, but let’s not go too far. And the fact remains, it was still his “only” good dunk of the night. It’s actually more criminal, IMO, to dismiss PG’s glow-in-the-dark dunk based on the fact that we’ve seen it before without taking the other main factors into account.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Evans had the best dunks of the night, but PG had the better overall contest.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Javale McGee dunked 3 balls. Which was way more impressive then 2.

  • http://SLAMonline.com Bryan Crawford

    There was nothing impressive about Jeremy Evan’s head-cam dunk or him jumping over Kevin Hart in a Karl Malone jersey. Co-sign nbk’s point. JeVale McGee dunked two balls on two different rims. Way more impressive, IMO. If there were real judges involved, Jeremy Evans would’ve lost. Of this I am certain.

  • http://smartgilas.com.ph deezndhaus

    this years all-star week is the worst. wathcing the all-star game was a pain. I didnt even really try to watch until the last 6 mins.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    With the old round by round thing he would have lost. I agree. He won because he had the best overall dunk. Since nothing George did really impressed me I wasn’t bothered that he lost.

  • Top$helf

    They need to get some of the sprite slam dunkers and the d league dudes in it with the NBAers and put like a few hundred Gs on the line btw where is James White when u need him

  • MikeC.

    Maybe do a partners contest? An amateur paired with a pro. Each pair sponsored by an NBA partner like Sprite, Sprint, Spalding, Adidas, etc. They each do their own dunks, but the score is determined by their total points as a team. It would be cool to see DeRozan with the best amateur dunker from Toronto, Lebron with Miami’s best, Blake with LA’s best, Shumpert with NY’s best, etc. It would spice things up and create more buzz. People would want to see if the pros really are the best dunkers.

  • bk

    Cosign nbk………. And also think they should get players from dunk contests from 2000 through 2010 to be judges…… I mean let’s face it, sure Dr j and all them were great dunkers…. But I don’t think they can truly appreciate what tissue players can do…….. Like last year, Blake shouldn’t have made it out of round one, it should have been demar nd mcgee. And then this year they let fans vote, most of whom have never dunked…… NBA needs to step they’re game up