This year, the All-Star Dunk Contest was so lame that the NBA probably had to do an emergency meeting on how to prevent the same thing from happening next year. It's time to tweak the format, and here are several ways to do it.
The Dunk Contest was a letdown
Cole Anthony, Obi Toppin, Jalen Green, and Juan Toscano-Anderson competed for the Dunk crown this year. They did their best but seeing a high-flyer attempt a dunk several times takes away the surprise factor when he finally makes it. The players had a hard time making the dunks, and it looked like they had practice sessions during the actual contest.
The social media reactions said it all:
No offense to the participants. They put up their best and prepared for sure. But sometimes, these things happen. So how do we make sure that the failures don't repeat from happening next year or the next? Make some drastic changes.
Proposals for Dunk Contest format change
Among all the events in the All-Star weekend, the Dunk Contest is the only one that has not seen a format change. The Rising Stars game was changed in Cleveland, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, too. There's the Mountain Dew spot introduced for the 3-point Contest. The Dunk Contest format must be tweaked to bring back the excitement among fans.
- Let the fans vote for who they want to see
The All-Star weekend is for the fans, so they must be given a chance to see their favorites compete in the Dunk Contest. This will bring more excitement to the event because the big guns will participate compared to lesser-known talents. However, to make sure Zaza Pachulia or some weird names don't get voted as participants, the NBA must pool top ten selection and open a fan voting system. In this way, there's no more reason for players to skip the Dunk Contest even if they are healthy enough to join.
- H-O-R-S-E format
We've seen how players run out of ideas to showcase for the Dunk Contest, and we can't blame them. Creativity is different from execution. In the H-O-R-S-E format, the first player gets the upper hand because he can think of dunk styles he's more comfortable in or practiced many times before. In this way, players can also compete for certain dunk styles: player A can do this while B, C, D can't. Zach LaVine attempted more free-throw dunks than anyone in recent years because he could do it and has a clear advantage with it.
- Take away the judges
We get it. It's a contest that needs judges and having legends score the competition is a way of paying tribute to them. However, some tend to give unfair scores. Just ask Dwyane Wade. To remove any biases towards players or the dunks they create, the judges need to go.
These are some of the ways the Dunk Contest could be tweaked. It's the main event of the All-Stars before the East vs. West showdown, and it's time the NBA makes some much-needed changes before fans lose interest in it.