The NBA Needs to Fix This Issue


Photo Credit: New York Times

The dunk contest has been around since 1976, and prevalent in the NBA since 1984. The dunk contest has always been popular, however the event has declined significantly in recent years and the NBA needs to solve this.

The dunk contest used to be a meetup for high-flying superstars to see who has the most entertaining dunks, according to the judges. All time greats like Vince Carter, Julius Erving, Dwight Howard, and Michael Jordan are just some of the names to participate over the years. Today, however, it seems as if superstars are not interested in participating anymore. Lebron James, one of the most talented NBA players ever, and who is known for his ability to attack the rim, has never participated in a dunk contest, and he is one of many examples.

The decline of the dunk contest is saddening. In the last five years the dunk contest winners were Mac McClung, Obi Toppin, Anfernee Simmons, Derrick Jones Jr, and Hamidou Diallo. These names fail to compare to the golden years of the dunk contest. From 1984 to 1990 the dunk contest winners (starting from 1984) were Larry Nance, Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, and then Michael Jordan twice in a row. Every single one of these players are in the Hall of Fame and were electric to watch in the Slam Dunk Contest.

In this last dunk contest, none of the participants had ever played in an NBA game. Mac McClung ended up signing a two way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers after the dunk contest, but he is the only player who ended up playing in the league. People want to see their favorite players participate in an event like this, and the dunk contest is dying because stars are no longer participating. And this has a big impact on who is watching. Viewership dropped 27 percent in this dunk contest and ratings dropped 29 percent.

Another issue with this contest is that there is no originality. This contest has been around for 47 years and there are only so many different dunks that are humanly possible. In the 1980s, when MJ did his free throw line dunk everyone was amazed, but dunking has evolved so much to the point that the expectations exceed reality.

The NBA needs to find a solution for the dunk contest, and my suggestion is they remove the event entirely. There are many other events they can implement into all star weekend that people would rather watch. I personally think they should replace the dunk contest with a 1v1 tournament. It would be a chance for players to prove themselves and would be the start of a lot of interesting rivalries. It would not only be more entertaining, but also give the most talented players a better chance to showcase their skill.

The dunk contest has lost all its originality and flare over the last decade. Not only would it benefit them to add a more exciting event, but NBA fans are getting tired of seeing the same content every year.