What happened to the dunk contest?

Photo courtesy of www.si.com

Photo courtesy of www.si.com

“And the winner of the 2004 NBA Dunk Contest goes to LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

*Queue the record scratch sound effect*

That non-existent headline would have been 15 years ago for NBA sophomore sensation LeBron James — Akron, Ohio’s Savior or The Chosen One as many like to call him.

As time passed and story lines took shape, I’ve been the biggest on and off LeBron fan that I know. It’s actually really weird, and I sincerely apologize to all of my friends for the amount of arguments throughout the years.

I know I can be difficult to deal with most of the time, so, thanks for sticking with me — or running for the high hills. Either way is fine:

The funny thing is, I actually started this article last year and never got around to finishing it. Something was missing. Then, last season’s dunk contest took the Twitter world and NBA fandom by storm, and I thought the dunk contest might actually be back for good.

Queue to this season, and we are right back to square one. Now, I don’t want to get it twisted. Following up on the 2016 NBA Dunk Contest was going to be impossible. There is no other way around it, so maybe not all is lost.

I mean.

This shit right here! (Katt Williams voice)

Whoa.

That might have been the best duel of all-time. Sorry Michael and Dominique, but that’s just the power of evolution, my friends.

That said, maybe I’m just talking crazy here?

Whoa, again.

So, what about this season? The excitement seemed to be lacking and maybe that was due to the absence of Zach LaVine. For the first 15 minutes of this year’s contest, I kept saying that the defending champ (Aaron Gordon) had gone down in the first round. Then, I remembered he wasn’t actually last year’s winner, but had probably been the best runner-up of all-time.

After Lavine’s season-ending injury, Gordon’s attempt at a drone dunk, DeAndre Jordan’s appearance or the weak ass representation and enthusiasm from the players, this year just didn’t cut it for me. It was a damn snooze fest.

Glenn Robinson III had two amazing dunks though, so shout out to him for taking the win.

Now, maybe I am a part of that group that over-thinks and over-analyzes everything, but hey, I love me some NBA Dunk Contests.

However, it truly seems the dunk contest has turned into one big joke, and that is unfortunate to see. After seeing Derrick Jones III pull off a 360 through-the-legs dunk on Instagram about a weeeeek ago (Bobby Schmurda voice), I couldn’t believe he didn’t try to pull that one off in the actual competition.

Then, I saw Aaron Gordon pull one off a few days ago on the Internet, and I also asked myself,

“Why in the hell didn’t he attempt that one in the first round?”

Now, it’s not like there haven’t been great dunk contests since Vince Carter’s domination back in 2000.

See below:

Look at the excitement! Look at Shaq’s face!

Look at his camcorder, man!

Holy shit, I’m old.

Sure, expectations have vastly changed and everyone is a critic these days. But, damn, if the MLB can still pull off people going wild for a bunch of dudes jacking home runs off 45 MPH pitches, then it’s time for the NBA to figure it out.

There was a lot of talk a couple years back on extending the All-Star break and giving these guys some more time off. After traveling to a new city each night and then being expected to go out and drop 27 points, a longer break is more than deserved.

It’s absolutely necessary.

Maybe the stars would be more willing to give it a go. I don’t know.

All the stars used to do it. Memmmbbaaa this one?

Look at the excitement, baby! (Dickie V voice) Look at Shawn Marion trying to get his scorecard out to hold up the “10” he is about to give J-Rich.

The GOAT himself is a judge!

Look at that smile!

Let’s bring this back.

Please? Anyone? Bueller?

That said, can you imagine if LeBron James had entered the dunk contest back when J-Rich was runnin’ shit? Me neither.

A second-year LeBron vs the Defending Champ himself. Now, that is a story line, folks. Plus, think about the tone he would have set had LeBron come in and taken the crown from Richardson on this one.

Kobe did it (and won it):

LeBron’s message:

“This is my league, my All-Star Weekend. Thanks for comin’ out.”

Am I that far off here? Maybe. Maybe not.

But, it’s definitely worth a discussion.

If you’ve seen any clips of Zion Williamson, you’d know that a 2017 Zion would have destroyed a 2003 LeBron James in a dunk contest. The dunk has evolved, the media attention has increased, and people have found ways to be unhappy about anything these days.

“His dance after that dunk was highly offensive.”

See the high school freak below:

^He’s 16.

So, where do we go from here?

Is the Dunk Contest still worth it? (Yes)

How does the NBA improve it? (I’m not sure, just yet)

Can we make Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon “all-time dunkers”? (Similar to all-time QB during playground/backyard football)

Can we force LeBron to enter the contest even if he doesn’t want to? (That would be hilarious)

Can we do a fan vote that the players are required to follow if they want an extra week off? (Not the worst idea I’ve ever had)

With those questions, it’s time to bring the real back, ladies and gents.

Will we see it happen?