I have a joke for you. What do you get when you mix American Idol, Guitar Hero, 3 NBA All-Stars, a rookie, a dunk champion, Shaq, the Nae Nae dance, some YouTube videos and the NBA trying to be too creative? The 2014 Slam Dunk Contest! Did you laugh? Probably not because the joke wasn’t funny but it was a joke.
Before I say anything else negative about the Contest, that doesn’t have a winner but instead a “favorite,” I do want to congratulate John Wall for a couple of reasons. 1 for doing the dunk contest when he was unsure he should because of injuries. 2 because he showed up and didn’t disappoint. 3 for giving one of our YouTube videos a shout out as inspiration. 4 for giving the “pro dunkers” like Kenny Dobbs props for also inspiring the dunks that the Eastern “winners” performed.
I’m not trying to take away anything from these “winners” and the contestants that competed in the NBA’s version of America’s Got Talent that had Nick Cannon hosting and a 3 man panel made of Dr J, Magic “the dunk contest is back!” Johnson and Dominique Wilkins who were told to oversell the event as if they were used car salesman selling an unpopular car that’s on it’s last leg after being in and out of the shop for repairs. I’m criticizing the owners and sponsors of the shop that’s trying to sell us these cars and continue to screw up the format of the contest in ways that we didn’t think was possible.
Like the Wheel in 2002 that wanted short 2 foot dunkers to jump from the free throw line or the 2010 night before Dunk-In Contest between Eric Gordon and DeMar DeRozan, this year the NBA implemented a confusing format that basically is a warm up round and 1 dunk.
Let me explain.
The first round was called the freestyle round and like most freestyle rhymes, it was something that not everybody could appreciate and far from the polished finished product that most people would want to pay money for.
Each team had 90 seconds to dunk as much as they wanted and then the judges said which act they preferred. The thinking by the NBA was the crowd would go insane over a momentum building high flying act that resembled half-time dunk exhibitions that popular YouTube dunkers have been doing for years. The result was a lot of great dunks but arguably great wasted dunks to a silent crowd.
The problem is most people in the crowd and sitting at home need the dunks to be sold to them with a pretty package not just delivered in a DIY kit that requires us to figure out what we have. The crowd needs breaks between dunks where they can hear the commentators go crazy and then breakdown the dunk while slow motion replays are shown. They want to see the player celebrate each dunk with people on the sidelines. They need crazy facial expressions from other All-Stars. They need a history lesson that reminds us where we have seen the dunk in the past or if we have seen it the past. They want a score after each dunk so they can gauge how good it was and be able to compare one dunk from the next.
When the dunkers are just performing one after another it comes across as fancy lob city layup line but unlike the layup lines where each dunk is a surprise, each dunk here struggles to impress because we are expecting to see something great.
When you think of a good battle or fight you don’t think of a 1 round boxing match or a karate fight that ends with a guy pulling out a gun and shooting everybody. You think of multiple punches or kicks with guys going back and forth but in the NBA Battle Round you throw a punch and hope you knock out your opponent.
Here’s the rules. The East and West teams had head-to-head matchups and once a dunker loses a round he’s eliminated and the conference that is first to win 3 battles is crowned Team Champion.
Terrence Ross and Ben McLemore came out with Drake and Shaq with nice dunks and high entertainment value that would have fit in perfectly with the dunk contest of a few years ago that included everything from crying kids, toy bears, choirs and sponsored cars. They were good dunks and dunks good enough to wake up the confused crowd. Then John Wall delivered a knockout punch with a reverse dunk over the Wizards mascot and dance that surely will be a favorite of animated gif makers….hey, look it’s an animated gif of the dance.
The crowd went crazy and people were finally in the mood but then just like that the contest was over.
Wait what? — Charlie Villanueva (@CV31) February 16, 2014
Yep how anti-climatic. The East had swept the West in the round and fans were left sitting with blue balls as it was probably the fist time since 2000 that fans were screaming more and wanted to see the event continue.
The highly anticipated 2014 NBA Dunk Contest that featured 3 All-Stars for the first time since 1988, when Michael Jordan had to perform 8 dunks to win against Nique, was over after 1 dunk.
THE WINNER AND THE INSPIRATION
It was a great dunk but it was still just 1 dunk for Wall who was voted by fans as “Dunker of the Night.” Then in maybe the most shocking moment of the event he gave a shout out to Kenny Dobbs, arguably the greatest dunker in the world, and the youtube dunk channel TFB that has showcased many of the best dunkers in the world doing these dunks for years. It was a nice shout out to the “amateur dunkers” that have provided inspiration and consultation to many of the NBA contestants in the past few contests.
As for Wall’s highlight dunk. That came from Myree “Reemix” Bowden in a Ballislife mix we put out called “27 Dunks NEVER done in the NBA Dunk Contest that Would all get 50s!” “It was only my second time doing it,” Wall said after being voted Dunker of the Night by fans. “My first time was on Thursday. So I just felt comfortable with myself and I knew it was a dunk that hasn’t been done before. And I knew it was the main thing coming up with the creativity, and it worked out in my favor. Someone sent me a YouTube link on my Twitter that said, ’27 dunks that haven’t been done in the NBA dunk contest.’ And the first one was that one, and it seemed hard, but for me it came out to be easy. So it worked out in my favor tonight.”
We were right thinking that these 27 dunks would do well in the contest but since there’s no scores (How the F do you have a dunk contest with scorecards!?) the dunk didn’t get a 50 but was treated like a 50…if 50s were given and was the highest score. Maybe we will remix the video with more Reemix dunks and call it “26 Dunks NEVER done in the NBA Dunk Contest that will help you get lots of tweets, likes, +, mentions, shares and text votes.”
There’s really not much else that can be said about the event. They had All-Stars. They had a dunk champion. They had a high flying rookie. They had all the ingredients for a great event to make us forget about last year’s disaster but the Chef that is the NBA & Sprite screwed up again and gave us another disappointing meal that actually makes us question if last year’s meal was that bad and if this item will still be on the menu next year.
Dinner is served.
Here’s two of the dunkers, Kenny Dobbs & Guy Dupuy, that influenced the dunks in this contest.
And the dunk that is being so celebrated by Wall was done by Jordan Kilganon the night before in the Sprite Showdown contest but it wasn’t enough to get Jordan to the 2nd round because of some suspect judging. You know Judges? The guys that hold up scores after a dunker dunks in a contest!