NBA All-Star 2013: The slam dunk contest needs some time off

By Joe Buettner

Feb 25, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz completes a double dunk as he jumps over teammate Gordon Hayward (20) in the 2012 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

For practicing Catholics, the Lenten season begins today. If you are unfamiliar with Lent, it is a 40 day period where Catholics give up something in order to strengthen their faith. The NBA should maybe follow suit.

Though, instead of giving up something for 40 days, a good thing to give up may be the dunk contest for a few years. The names in the competition are nowhere near marquee players, so why should they headline Saturday night’s main event?

The dunk contest used to be something to look forward to during the All-Star break, but it has become stale. Even when the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin entered, he won thanks to his popularity and gimmicks.

It is a competition that has been down for a while, and the NBA has tried to increase interest, but it still does not have that same aura about it.

The NBA Dunk Contest has been held since 1984, though, the contest was not held in 1998 or 1999. Interestingly, when the contest returned in 2000, it featured Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Steve Francis in one of the best contests of all-time.

Maybe that is what this contest needs. A little break. When writers of a television show get in to a funk, they take time off. They take a break to get new ideas and then come back fresh.

The same with comedians. Ask a comedian to come up with an hour’s worth of material every year, and see how fast they run out of funny things to say.

The dunk contest needs the same treatment. Most of the dunks performed are not that original anymore, because all anyone wants to do now is jump over anything they can find. There were some decent dunks last year, but the guys performing these dunks are not big TV grabs.

LeBron James teased his fans on Twitter by simply tweeting “Dunk Contest?”. However, I would not anticipate King James to ever enter the competition. Though, if he does, you can bet Kevin Durant or even old-man Kobe Bryant will want to one-up him and enter the contest themselves.

The NBA needs their superstars to step up and participate, but for now, give the contest a break. One, two, maybe three years would do. Just enough for fans to ask for it back, and see who in the league would be willing to participate by then.

It is a fun competition, and the NBA does not need to permanently terminate it from All-Star weekend. It’s luster has been lost, and maybe this year’s event will blow us away, but a break is truly what the competition needs to get back to where it was.