It is with great sadness and more than a little frustration at having stayed up to watch the stupid thing that I must report that the NBA dunk contest, which looked for a few years there like it might be good again, is, in fact, bad again.
The whole final third of the NBA’s Saturday night show was dumb. Because the NBA still views the dunk contest as the climax of the evening, it was given a dumb and over-long introduction, complete with WWE-style introductions of the judges. Because for sure when you tune into something advertised as a dunk contest on a Saturday night, what you really want to watch is Dennis Scott interviewing Mark Wahlberg and DJ Khaled.
Fans will endure the stupid ceremony if the dunks are good, but, in this case, the dunks were boring. Here are the dunks:
There are one or two impressive dunks in there. Dennis Smith’s second dunk was cool. Donovan Mitchell’s third dunk was cool. Mostly the competitors resorted to costume changes in order to spice up what were otherwise a bunch of dunks we’ve all seen before. The saddest of these was Victor Oladipo, who’d whiffed on all three of his chances on his first dunk attempt, putting a goofy Black Panther Halloween mask on before throwing in maybe the least impressive actual dunk of the evening. It was an act of surrender.
Maybe the show needs another format change. Maybe it needs another couple years off, as it had in 1998 and 1999, before Vince Carter’s insane show in 2000. But I was not feeling the dunks last night! Kenny Smith gamely tried to inject enthusiasm into the proceedings, but the dunks were forgettable. Gotta have the dunks!