AW

2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest – An Epic Failure by the NBA and TNT

In Sports on February 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

Terrence Ross Slam Dunk

Remember the days when the NBA Slam Dunk Contest featured the stars of the game?  Those days are seemingly over, but if the NBA wants to make the contest relevant again, they better do something to get actual stars to compete in the All-Star Weekend competition that people look forward to the most.  After the competition was over, Kenny Smith talked about how the contestants were great dunkers, but that they were nervous.  To which Charles Barkley replied…“The reason those guys were nervous…they actually got in the game.” 

Get the hint NBA?  No one wants to watch relative unknowns dunking, no matter how good they might be.

Of course, if you live on the East Coast, you may not have heard the post-game analysis because it ended at a ridiculously late hour thanks to TNT’s attempt at prime time scheduling.  Anyone who planned on watching the competition on their DVR better have recorded “Sir Charles at 50” because that is where the final dunks and the announcement of the winner took place.

TNT may do a great job of covering the NBA during the regular season, and even the playoffs, but their coverage of the Slam Dunk Contest was abysmal.  It started much too late on the East Coast and there was a lot of unnecessary filler.  Aside from the friends and family of Fall Out Boy, does TNT really believe that any basketball fan tuned in to see their awful musical performance?  Was it really necessary to delay the Slam Dunk Contest further to squeeze that in?

Nick Cannon may have some talent, but his innocuous questions in the middle of the competition did nothing to add to the coverage. In fact, it made it worse.  If he had asked a meaningful question, the audience at home wouldn’t have heard the response because the audio quality was terrible, and Cannon’s microphone work was shoddy at best anyway.

With LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant and the like watching in street clothes, NBA fans were treated to Eric Bledsoe, Kenneth Faried, Jeremy Evans, Gerald Green, James White and the winner of the competition, Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors. Of the six contestants, only Faried is an NBA starter.  In retrospect, perhaps TNT scheduled the event so late in the evening so that they had scapegoat for poor ratings.

There were some impressive dunks in the competition, but nothing that will ever be remembered years from now, or even talked about by basketball fans by the time that they return to work this week, especially those who have off for President’s Day.  At one point in the competition, Shaquille O’Neal jokingly called Ross “what’s his name” to get under Barkley’s skin because the “round mound of rebound” was clearly disgusted with the lack of star power in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

The lack of star power was not the only problem with the Slam Dunk Contest.  The format is absolutely absurd.  It’s doubtful that there is a single NBA fan that cared about the East vs. West competition.  The NBA got lucky that two of the better dunkers were on opposite teams, but if there had been two dominant players on one side, it would have been a travesty to have only one of them advance to the finals because of some arbitrary, dumb format.

If the NBA and TNT cannot figure out a way to get the stars into the competition, they might as well cancel it, especially if they are going to show it so late in the evening.  The competition – which was once the highlight of NBA All-Star Weekend – is quickly becoming as relevant as the NFL Pro Bowl.  If the true NBA stars care about this competition, they need to step up and participate, and put the back-ups back on the bench where they belong.

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  1. Adam,

    Once again you picked a subject I somewhat stumble my way around to pretend I actually know what you are talking about.

    Ahhhh, Sir Charles….I do remember when he was a Houston Rocket. He was good, but he has a personality that does not stop. I remember being in physical therapy with him….he had hurt his toe. I had a crushed knee cap. But he was complaining enough for the both of us.

    Clyde Drexler was one of our beloved players too. And of course all of them were coached back then by the mighty Rudy T. And Houston ended up with winning three World Champions in a row.

    But just a tid bit of trivia about the games this year, being played now….the officials at the Houston Galleria had to shut down early yesterday as the crowd was way above capacity as all were trying to find the “celebrities”. I found that pretty funny and so glad I did not go to the Galleria yesterday. I do not even think it went this berserk when Janet Jackson was here for the Super Bowl and wardrobe malfunction!

    I will admit it is a game I do understand, and do love, and this is an excellent subject to write about.

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