Downfall of the Dunk Contest


Cooper Rice, Sports Reporter


The NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion used to be a coveted award where NBA superstars would compete and show off their athleticism. With players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Vince Carter performing in the early years of the dunk contest fans would get excited to see a new dunk that had never been seen before. But in recent years there have been many lackluster performances by relatively unknown players, and fans’ interest has gone down.


Since the year 2010 only two All-Star players have won the Slam Dunk Contest, and the last time it happened was John Wall in 2014. The quick decline of elite players competing in dunk contests has a big impact on why fans are much less interested in the competition. One figure that people point to when asking about the dunk contest is Lebron James, who has never competed in the dunk contest.


 In an interview when asked why he hasn’t competed James said this, “There were times when I wanted to do it. But I came into All-Star weekend a few times and I didn’t want to risk further injury.”


 Lebron’s noticeable absence from the dunk contest has caused other players to follow.


 Ja Morant is one of the most explosive in game dunkers the NBA has ever seen, but when asked what it would take for him to compete he said this, “I’m not doing the dunk contest.”


The NBA has gotten desperate to find talent that will attract fans to watch the Slam Dunk Contest once again. In the most recent dunk contest the NBA brought G-League player Mac Mclung to Salt Lake City to compete in the dunk contest. Mclung was signed to a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers so that he was allowed to compete. He destroyed the competition winning easily and getting a perfect score on every dunk. While bringing in a G-League player to compete may not have been the best look for the NBA, they will have to continue to find new and innovative ways to bring eyeballs back to the dunk contest.