This dunk looks great in pictures. Then again, MySpace taught us to know better. (picture from NBA.com)
Cute is for elementary school crushes, puppy dogs on cards, and babies making funny faces at you in grocery store check-out lines.
Cute is not for dunk-contests. At least not NBA ones.
Perhaps I should have seen this coming. With the ever-diminishing age of the players in the league, and with the “rule” of only allowing players in their first three years in the league to participate, it should have been obvious that there would be a fair share of corniness.
But I never expected everyone to buy into it.
In a night when we witnessed one of the top 10 best dunk contest dunks ever, the focus of the contest was aimed squarely on the props. Capes, costumes, ladders, and desserts? Come on.
Watch these highlights again, and then we’ll get into this.
Howard’s first dunk was the most creative dunk of the night. It was also the contest’s most difficult. The second most difficult? Jomario Moon’s overlooked but damn impressive Fred Jones-esque 360 alley-oop.
But no one wants that anymore. Instead, they’re taken by a grown man in a cape. I guess they must have been watching the flowing cape instead of realizing that he didn’t even DUNK THE BALL. The image of him in the air with the cape is spectacular, yes, but the image of him coming up 2 feet short of the rim? Much less so. If he had jumped from the same spot and actually touched the rim, I would be singing Howard’s praises, but that was very much not the case.
As for Gerald Green, he deserves a verbal lashing too. But first, let me commend him on his first dunk. The cup cake with a candle was ingenious, and a true feat of athleticism. I loved that dunk.
But has anyone noticed that he can only do two dunks? Between the legs. Windmill. Having someone pass you an alley-oop from a ladder doesn’t change that. Taking off your shoes doesn’t change that. Same same.
All I want is a dunk contest like the ones of 1988 or 2000, a contest with tangible competitive juices, extreme athleticism, and creativity of dunks, not props.
Instead, all I got last night was yet another dunk contest full of bright lights and underwhelming performances.