Today: Apr 23, 2024

Sports Commentary: Stars must perform

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

The NBA, next to the MLB, has the best all-star festivities in sports, with the rookie/sophomore challenge, 3-point shootout and the skills challenge before the actual All-Star game itself.

The NBA does the all-star festivities right because it gives many players in every category a chance to show their basketball skills—whether as a young player, a lethal passer or even a sharp-shooter from behind the arc.

The NBA recently held the events in Orlando. The professional sports teams had last weekend to showcase their all-stars, and the intention is to actually see the all-stars.

The slam dunk contest is one of the most anticipated of those events. More and more, it seems like this contest is being downgraded every year.

The history of the slam dunk contest is kind of like the home run derby in baseball. We all know who the best are in those respective categories.

We had Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, Vince Carter, Nate “Krypto-Nate” Robinson, Dwight “Superman” Howard and Blake Griffin. Even Michael Jordan did it and won twice.

No offense to this year’s participants (Chase Budinger, Jeremy Evans, Paul George, Derrick Williams), but we need at least one big draw every year. We have to watch and see if any player can try to make an impact in the contest each year.

Paging Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade, LeBron “King” James, Kevin Durant and any other big name that can put on a show. There is no need for this type of contest to be diminished when we all know that the majority of these guys practiced doing tricks in their backyards or even in practice.

Now, things have changed. Now we have a new thing where fans vote on who they want to win every round. The attempts of dunks have been cut down and even the judges have been taken away.

Another turn-off is that the person that actually wins the year before sometimes drops out the next year. Where is the fun of the challenge?

This year we would have even had a great spin to it with probably one of the most anticipated story lines ever. Knicks guard Iman Shumpert was to participate in the contest before his injury pulled him out. He was going to use international-sensation Jeremy Lin as one of his props—Lin was sleeping at his brother’s house before his amazing breakout three weeks ago.

I look forward, as many do, to the NBA All-Star Weekend. The NBA usually does it right with the different ways to showcase the league. The very popular dunk contest is completely changing and is getting weaker every year with the level of talent. What person does not like seeing one of the best sights in basketball, a good dunk? What has happened to competition these days? Some might not even stay up to watch it anymore. Fans want to see the bigger guys participate.

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