Changes Coming to the Dunk Contest?
If the execs at TNT (who were bored by the event as much as you were this year) have their way, that’s exactly what’s going to happen: Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s David Levy is planning to meet with NBA officials to talk about potential changes to All-Star Saturday’s dunk contest, which has faced media and viewer complaints in recent years for lacking star power and excitement. Despite that criticism, the showcase in Dallas held earlier this month scored a 3.1 U.S. rating and almost 5.5 million viewers for TNT, making it the second-most-watched night in the event’s history. Any changes to the event ultimately will have to be made by the NBA, but TNT has carried the event for 25 years, and Levy’s opinion is certain to carry weight in league circles. While Levy would not be upset to have LeBron James compete against Kobe Bryant in future dunk contests, he does not believe that the event necessarily needs that kind of star power to thrive. Levy, Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting’s president of sales, distribution and sports, is more interested in having the players who agree to participate put more effort into it. In some cases this year, it appeared that dunkers were trying to make up dunks on the fly. ‘I think it had to do with preparedness. We’ll talk about that,’ he said. ‘I want to figure out how we can change or grow the event and keep it relevant.”’