Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  84 responses

The Latest Terrible Dunk Contest Gimmick

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Over the years, as the game’s biggest stars shied away from competing in what was once arguably All-Star Weekend’s signature event, the NBA has felt the pressure to constantly re-invent the Dunk Contest.

Unfortunately, most of the time they have failed miserably.

The latest idea isn’t any better than the previous ones. For some inexplicable reason, an impromptu dunk-off will be held the night prior to the (real) Dunk Contest, with fans voting to determine who will have the honor of competing on Saturday night. Oy.

Here’s the official explanation, via NBA.com:

This one-round slam dunk-in competition will be held during halftime of the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 12, and fans will determine the winner by voting via SMS text message and at NBA.com.

The participants will have two dunks each, with a two-minute time limit to complete each dunk. The player with a higher percentage of overall votes will advance to participate in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest on All-Star Saturday Night. The other three contestants in the Sprite Slam Dunk will be announced on Monday, Jan. 18.

For what it’s worth, TNT is going to announce the participants in this “Dunk-In” tonight prior to its weekly double-header broadcast.

What would have been a lot more exciting (and probably drawn more viewers) is if the NBA allowed amateur dunkers to take part in the aerial exhibition, and had fans vote in someone on the Friday night prior to the main event.

But I guess that would make far too much sense.

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  • http://www.nottherealmelvinely.com melvin ely

    you’ve got to be f***ing kidding me

  • davidR

    super whack isht.

  • http://www.nottherealmelvinely.com melvin ely

    I’ve got to wait ONE WHOLE DAY for the dunk contest to get to the final round? Wow. NBA: where pissing off your fans for no explicable reason happens

  • Joe

    I bet the “brilliant” individuals who came up with this, are getting paid six figures…….How sad!

  • http://www.nottherealmelvinely.com melvin ely

    Hey here’s a depressing concept: you guys know that if Yao Ming joins the dunk contest he automatically advances by basically standing under the basket and throwing it in, right?

  • http://www.basketball247.co.uk Greg Tanner

    Oh my life.

    Get Guy Dupuy and Team Flight Brothers up in this, PLEASE!

  • Hussman25

    The L is trying to kill this Contest with these GIMICKS! LET THE DUNKERS DUNK… FOR GOD SAKE!

  • Yesse

    Nba has already failed on the dunk contest’s enough.They have to fail more?I would understand if this would be like a cuut for 8 dunker’s and 4 of them would make it to saturday and have a normal dunk contest.What about the amateur player dunk contest for the guys who qualified the summer sprite dunk circuit?

  • Muwu

    Isn’t this for amateur guys?

    The NBA did this whole dunk things during the sumemr right? Getting amateur guys from all over so one of em will be part of the dunk contest?

  • riggs

    i think they cant let amateurs in due to potential injury risk (im talking out of my a*s here but thats what it seems like to me)

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    What would revive the contest would be for them to emulate the 2000 showing by, instead of only allowing four participants each year, to inviting nine or ten players. Brandon Jennings used to have his own dunk contests in high school practice. I’m sure he would thrive in it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/ L

    Maybe Shannon CAN dunk now

  • http://theurbangriot.com/ NUPE

    I like the idea of having some amateurs in the contest competing against the pros. Stern should consider that, however probably scared of the prospect that some of the amateurs win.

  • JoeMaMa

    David “Shang Tsung” Stern just sucked the soul out of the contest.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Yesssss. I’ve been wanting to see AI in the dunk contest for years. And T-Mac’s return – he was robbed a decade ago.

  • Muwu

    Really, go google it. I remember watching this NBA thing during the offseason and it was sponsored by Sprite too. They went to a lot of cities and held dunk contests for amateur guys and in some cases I think some And1 guys were there. I CLEARLY remember it.

  • michael scorn

    I just want LeBron to keep his promise of being in the dunk contest.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I don’t understand what the big deal is with letting amateurs dunk against the pros. There are thousands of young brazilians that could out-dribble most midfielders from Champions League teams, doesn’t mean that they’re better, it’s for show… Ok that’s a bad analogy, the young dudes from the favellas actually might very well be better.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Your NBA dunk contest contestants are: Lebron James, Andre Iguadala, Josh Smith, and Joe from Montana!!!!

  • Young C

    How is this idea any worse than the league office picking four random guys and allowing Nate Robinson in every single year? Besides, now we get 2 dunk contests in one weekend. Maybe people can think for themselves instead of just jumping on the Slam bandwagon. Alot depends on who will be in the dunk-in

  • Randy Brown

    It would still take some shine off of the NBA players if some relative unknown comes in and wins it. As awesome as that would be. And off the back of the Yao comments above, what would happen if T-Mac was in the dunk off? Damn you China

  • Jeronimo

    @Marcel: The idea of allowing amateur (read: non-NBA players) dunkers to take part in the dunk contest is great. The Spanish basketball league (ACB) implemented it a few years ago and one of the amateurs ended second. He was amazing, and like you said, it generated a tremendous buzz.

  • Joe A

    Well, it’s a better idea than the dunk wheel that they had in 2003.

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Dwight Doubts He’ll Be in Dunk Contest

  • bakers’ dozen

    What I hate about the contest, by the Bakers’ Dozen:
    1) Two dunks is not making the players reach deep for new ideas
    2) DR J is a horrible judge, because he rates everybody super low. Don’t believe me? Watch ’97 Slam Dunk contest at Youtube and look at the score they gave Darvin Ham. He’s notorious for this.
    3) Make the players alternate dunks so they have time to think about what they are going to do. The reason the 80′s had such great dunk contests was because there were 8-10 players in it, and they each got 3 dunks per round, and three round of dunks. That makes the winner have to complete at least 9 dunks before the night is done. I hate seeing 4 guys dunk the ball twice in each round with two rounds. It’s whack.
    4) I want to see the And 1 ballers vs. NBA dunk off. Make the grand prize $1,000,000 even with no consolation prizes, and then you’ll see guys coming up with new material. Better yet, have people have dunk off’s in major cities around the USA, and have the top 3 advance to compete in the dunk off vs. the NBA All Stars. THAT would rock!


  • LA Huey

    No problem with the idea of the Dunk-in here. Besides, it can’t get any worse than last year’s H-O-R-S-E, right?

  • davidR

    bakers’ dozen for new dunk chairman

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoshElam JE

    There’s still the same amount of rounds and contestants on Saturday Night during the real contest. All this is is a new way of deciding the fourth contestant. In the meantime, the fans get to see a couple extra dunks the night before. Don’t really see what the big problem is.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ


  • Elias

    Air Up There/Tdub/Kenny Dobbs to the dunk contest.

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    I still can’t believe the dunk wheel actually happened.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    Joe Montana can dunk?!?

  • Tommy Patron

    In my opinion, the NBA is just doing this to try to pump up attention/viewership of the Friday night activities. This is lame.

  • robb

    That idea sucks.

    And honestly Marcel if the NBA allowed amateur dunkers to take part in an aerial exhibition as you suggested is a pretty bad idea, because most certainly these amateurs would out dunk the pros and saturday’s event would lose interest. I would never happen.

    The dunk contest doesn’t need to be reinvented, you need to bring back the 80′s way: the league’s best 8 dunkers, including superstars, and that’s it. I mean, remember 1988? Jordan, Dominique, Drexler.

    We need Shannon, Lebron, Wade, Howard, Iguodala, J-Smoove, Rudy Gay and Jamario to compete.

  • underdog

    More sms, more ca$h. Anyway, I don’t want to see amateur dunkers on the All-Star weekend, this is the NBA, there are plenty of street ball event for them. The thing I don’t get, why 4 players? There should be at least 6, or 8.

  • doom

    damn. I thought it would be from players in the rook-soph game.

  • robb

    And amateur dunkers would mean LBJ NEVER participating, if he was defeated by an amateur, he would force the NBA not air the contest and he would tell Nike to confiscate all the tapes. Forget about it.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    What exactly is so bad about a dunk-in? We STILL GET THE ENTIRE CONTEST. Last year we voted in a player from 3 rookies. I’d rather see them dunking first before deciding.
    However, if the NBA wants to make this event better, take it back to how it was before: More participants, more rounds, and more dunks. The contest has gotten way too short now.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Hey Randy Brown, f*ck you and your trailer home.
    People like to complain for no reason whatsoever every time David Stern makes a change, just because everyone else complains.

  • Cizzo

    I guees I won’t be watching that ish again!!!!!!!

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    The whole texting thing is garbage. Aimed at 12-18 year olds, right? And more $$$ for the NBA. I still think it sucks how there is only 4 competitors? What happened to 8? Meh. Yet, despite all that, the dunk contest is still better than the travesty that is the Slo-Mo-Lazy-Skills-Comp. Also: lol @ Joel O’s.

  • Saku 39

    Don’t let the amateurs in – they would win. What would the NBA gain if Lebron got outclassed by Guy?

  • L

    Guy Dupuy might be the best contest dunker right now. It would be great to watch him compete against LBJ, Josh Smith, Shannon Brown, Nate…If you doubt me watch this link:



  • L
  • Jalepino Sausage

    bull ish

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Co sign Teddy-the-Bear @ 2.06. All the cools kids complain when Stern makes a change (without think it through)… and the followers, they, you know, follow.

  • Shadojoker

    My potential list of the Dunk-in Participants…

    Russell Westbrook
    Rudy Gay
    Demar Derozen
    Shannon Brown

    Now my list of the 3 participants are
    Nate Robinson
    Josh Smith
    Andre Iguodala (hopefully to avenge Nate’s thievery)

    I sadly doublt LBJ will participate..

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    this is in no way worse than the wheel of dunk. that was the worst thing that ever happened to the NBA, not counting Len Bias.

  • David

    Here’s how to make the dunk contest work again: retired dunk competition greats (e.g. Doc, Nique, Jordan, Webb) pick the 4 or 6 contestants each year. (who would say ‘no’ to dr j?) then you lose all the other gimmicks and you keep it really simple – dunk the ball and the judges score, miss and you get 0 for the round.

    There you go, NBA, make the dunk contest interesting again and we’ll forget about the stupid Nate vs Dwight fiasco last year.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    What, no cupcakes?

  • http://slamonline.com dmonz

    2010 Dunk Contest Cast:
    Lebron James (please!)

    The Hopefull:
    Corey Brewer!

    Guest Starring:
    Air Up There

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    You know how they can get great dunkers to join (I think Shaq came up with this dunno)? Make the grand prize a tricked out Maybach or Escalade. They can even get those guys at WestCoast Customs pimp it for publicity. THEN watch as all the superstars sign up

  • Marvin

    This game is supposed to entertain the fans, this is just pissing me off. They know who we want to watch competing; Lebron, Shannon Brown. Give us to them.


    I understand that Howard has said that neither he nor Lebron will participate. Stan Van Sweaty remains in the competition, however.

  • http://slam ld5

    this is actually good u people just don’t respect the NBA enough its probablly the best league out there

  • rob

    It seems we got it wrong. The dunk off will be between two participants. These are DeRozan and Eric Gordon. The winner will advance to the main event on Saturday. I hope people support DeRozan.

  • http://jayemmbee.blogspot.com ClutchPerformer

    co-sign melvin
    but yeah bring back the 80s way when anyone could join, got like 10 guys slamming.

    amateaur i dont know about that, and 1 maybe, although a better idea is make the all-star game be nba vs and 1 like how it used to be NBA vs ABA

    Demar Derozan will murk Eric Gordan, like Barkely and Kenny said , I didnt even know he could dunk

  • Jer Boi

    eric gordon? wtf. derozan should win. better win.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    This is even stupider than before. So these two guys have to come up with more dunks than anyone else. Great.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    I really only want Lebron to compete if he’s going up against names. I don’t care about scrubs like DeRozan and Gordon (even though the former is a great dunker). I wanna see names like Josh Smith, AI, f it, even Dwyane Wade. Let’s actually have a dunk contest here.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    If I see Nate Robinson in it again, heads are going to roll. His newest dunk is probably jumping over a midget in a chair with a cupcake.

  • Jon

    the only disgrace is eric gordon! why on earth is he up against derozan?

  • j4zzm4n

    seems being the half time entertainment at a rookie game is enough to get you into the dunk contest. disgraceful….

  • Mid Bear


  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    Anton just gave me an idea: Dwight dunking a midget holding a basketball. Cool right? Anyone?

  • me

    what’s the point when the participants already showing their best dunks in the first contest to get a ticket to the second around, and are they supposed to do the same set of dunks again?

  • Prentice

    I think the Dunk in IS for amateurs? Like someone said, Sprite ran a contest in the summer to get these guys a chance to compete, it was on NBA.com and there were like 6 regional winners, including Air Up There, Guy Dupuy, etc..

  • Justin

    @Jukai…exactly what I was thinking. These guys have to now come up with something really good, but not spectacular because they don’t want to waste them for the next night. Crowd reaction is a factor on these dunks and if they pull out something huge the night before and then do it again the next night, the effect is ruined. Just a horrible idea. And yeah, I forgot about that whole wheel travesty. The look on Steve Francis’ face when he had to do that 360 Statue of Liberty dunk was pretty funny though

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    If I see the East Bay Funk Dunk again I’m taking mofos out with a sniper rifle, amateur, pro or Yao Ming.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    Also, I’m not impressed by Guy Dupree or anyone else who can do Harold Miner sh*t, but higher. And I’ll say it again – until I see the Goats Double Dunk the Dunk Contest is not worth watching.

  • JoeMaMa

    I miss Terrence Stansbury.

  • Bushfiya

    Eric Gordon is facing off with DeMar DeRozan in the Dunk Off!! DeMar is gonna throw DOWN!

  • Bushfiya


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  • http://slam shawn williams

    why not winner take all? get sprite to sponsor it for a million dollars! and i would have the 2 highest vote getters pick teams live on friday night from the top 24 vote getters!

  • http://slam shawn williams

    quit this east vs west. have the captains pick their team like u do at the park or at the rec. make sure its live plus you would have something fresh to talk about all weekend.

  • BostonBaller

    Please stop w./ the LBJ dunk talk…If he enters it will be a miracle or the L is paying him royally to be in it. He is not a dunk contest dunker as far as creativity goes unless he has some stuff in the closet. I’d love to watch the Flight Brothers and the And 1 guys go at it with the best dunkers in the L.

  • Jordan

    Time for EJ to shine baby!

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  • Eyeshield21


  • Art Vandelay

    Bron pulled out of the contest because Nike realized they can’t get the tape confiscated if he loses

  • TNT

    They should let the non-nba players in, I refuse to call them amateurs because they are not in the NBA…they are still professional athletes. I would love to see James White in a slam dunk contest…from the free throw line between the legs…he’s crazy.

  • gloryroad

    honestly I don’t think getting amateur dunkers in the contest would help anyone. it’s pretty obvious guys like mr.720 can pull off much better dunks than anybody competing in the dunk contest. But I doubt the fans really wanna see amateurs at the dunk contest. I personally just want to see nba dunkers compete because I enjoy watching shannon brown or gerald wallace pull off dunks in games and want to know what else they can do. To find out what guy dupuy can do all you need to do is go to youtube. No disrespect to the “amateur” dunkers. a lot of those guys have perfected the art of dunking and are far better dunkers and more creative than nba players. But I just don’t think it would add much excitement. In the end the judges would probarbly just cheat to make an nba guy win.

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