Skylar Diggins captures everyone's reaction to the dunk contest.
Every year it seems that we play the same old game with NBA All-Star Saturday Night. One of two popular narratives usually emerges…
The slam dunk contest is dead.
The slam dunk contest is back!
Over the last decade or so, "DUNK CONTEST: DEAD" holds a 75%-25% edge over "DUNK CONTEST: BACK!" The 2014 Slam Dunk Contest is firmly in the former category. It will forever be remembered as taking what was once one of the most entertaining nights of the year and burying it six feet under, perhaps permanently.
It was awful. It was horrible television. The crowd was dead, the announcers could have cared less, and it seemed like everyone just wanted to get out of the arena as quickly as they could, including the participants. At one point, Kenny Smith tried to make the point that the dunkers had to be "more excited than the fans." That's how bored the people in attendance were. I've heard test cricket crowds with more sustained energy. It had all the excitement of a NASCAR caution lap or an NFL replay review.
The dunk contest was so bad it took until the very last dunk from John Wall, the only highlight of the evening, for someone on the broadcast (judge Magic Johnson) to proclaim the "dunk contest has returned" as they feebly attempt to do every year. That was quite far from the truth. The real dunk contest died a long time ago, but the NBA keeps trotting out its rotting zombie corpse year after year regardless. In fairness, at least that's more life than Nick Cannon showed as host of the evening. The nicest thing you could say about Nick Cannon's job as emcee is that he must have a really, really good agent who keeps booking these gigs against all odds.
What made the 2014 version the worst dunk contest of all-time? For starters, the format squashed any excitement that remained. The 90 second "freestyle round" with three dunkers from each conference going at one time killed any possible energy the crowd could have had. There was no build, no drama, no nothing. It was like watching a layup line with the announcers saying dunks were "nice" like they were trying to sell wristwatches on QVC. Then for the battle round, nobody understood the format. When the East won each of the first 3 battles with the West, that was it. The dunk contest proper was over before it even began – just one solo dunk from each player. And then, nobody quite understood who "won" the dunk contest. As it turns out, the East was deemed official winners and John Wall was (by some method) named "dunker of the night." Whatever that means. Of course, it was announced on air by Kevin Harlan before Nick Cannon's big reveal, in a fitting moment to wrap up a mind-numbing evening of complete and utter boredom.
If the slam dunk contest is once again resurrected for 2015, it will be a miracle. With my ranting done, here's what other people had to say. As always, these are Real Tweets from Real People…
Earlier today, Adam Silver said he'd never seen anyone in the NBA try to intentionally lose. Then the dunk contest happened…
— Adam Reisinger (@AdamReisinger) February 16, 2014
No wonder David Stern got out when he did…he saw this dunk contest on the horizon.
— Brett Anderson (@BAnderson_30) February 16, 2014
"The 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, where your favorite dunkers sit on rectangles."
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 16, 2014
Worst. Dunk contest. Ever. NBA/TNT Blew this one.
— Jay Richardson (@JayRichardson99) February 16, 2014
Wait.. that was the extent of the slam dunk contest?
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 16, 2014
And the crowd goes wild!! #crickets
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) February 16, 2014
In what way is the solution to the dunk contest "fewer dunks"
— Emma Carmichael (@emmacargo) February 16, 2014
Holy hell, this is ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ bad.
— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) February 16, 2014
I saw the end of a XCountry Ski race today that was more Exciting than this Dunk contest! Who's Nick trying to fool?!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) February 16, 2014
wait so did someone win everyone is leaving what happened
— Lana Berry (@Lana) February 16, 2014
Absolutely shocked the NBA's big-name players would turn down the opportunity to participate in such a stellar exhibition as we just saw.
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) February 16, 2014
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) February 16, 2014
Between TJ Oshie and the dunk contest, this was a HUGE day for hockey.
— SportsPickle (@sportspickle) February 16, 2014