6 Ideas to Improve the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

IT’S hard to annually live up to the hype of the NBA Dunk Contest and 2019 was no different. Hamidou Diallo was a deserving winner last night with some show-stopping jams, but the overall experience still seemed a bit lacklustre. I for one don’t mind the way that the Dunk Contest is played out and we have been somewhat spoiled at times, which takes the shine off other year’s. If the league wants to spice things up though I have some ideas.

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1. Do it half-time of the All-Star Game

THERE is so much pressure on the Dunk Contest to deliver and being featured as the last event on All-Star Saturday only increases our expectations.  While you could shuffle things around and perhaps feature the dunk comp earlier in the night, playing it out at half-time of the All-Star game isn’t as crazy as it sounds. If there’s an All-Star who is meant to feature in the event then they can always strategically not play late minutes in the second half. Let’s be honest that would be much a better than option than having Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd, Usher or whoever else perform.

2. Add non-NBA players into the contest

THE thought of adding non-NBAers has been flirted with for a while and honestly, it’s not a terrible idea. While it is the ‘NBA’ dunk contest, adding outside performers could spice up the event and make it much more worthwhile. Perhaps ‘street dunkers’ could compete against some NBA players or act as dunk coaches? Failing that I’m sure there are a few other celebrities out there who would happily try their hand at the contest. Besides J. Cole needs a second chance to throw one down.

3. Have fans/players vote for the competitors

FAN voting would likely see LeBron top the charts every year until his retirement. However, there’s an easy way to combat that. Players who want in on the Dunk Contest could throw their hats in the ring, with the league choosing a field of 15-20 that people can vote for. Players like Diallo would find it harder to break through, but the league could have the votes determine a few players before adding some contestants of their own if they really want. Many more people would tune in to watch the players they voted for in the contest, which leads to my next point.

4. Add more contestants

FOUR contestants work well, with two moving into the final round after the preliminary dunks, but why stop there? Imagine if there was a field of 6-8 contestants who were only allowed one dunk in the first round, eliminate a few, repeat the concept for a second round and then have the final two compete for one last dunk. It would take longer to play out the entire event, but they could introduce a shot clock of sorts to speed up proceedings if that becomes an issue.

5. Ensure hometown players are involved

THIS weekend when Kemba Walker or Miles Bridges were called upon the hometown Charlotte fans went nuts. Neither Walker or Bridges were able to take out the 3-point comp or the Dunk Contest respectively, but they were clearly vocally supported by the Hornets faithful when it came time for them to perform. If the city hosting the All-Star festivities had someone to cheer for each year, it would be a nice addition, which would definitely enhance the atmosphere at the event. Next year’s All-Star game is heading to Chicago – no pressure Zach LaVine…

2019 AT&T Slam Dunk ContestImage from swarmandsting.com

6. Change the structure

IT’S a bit of a cop-out to suggest a change of structure, but let me explain. I like the current way the Dunk Contest is held, but imagine if they held a 20-30 minute open dunk session, that allowed every player the chance to execute a handful of dunks. No serious structure, just come and show what you got, after 10-15 minutes if the NBA chooses, they can narrow the field for the final portion. Simply put, here’s your timeframe, go dunk the ball, best dunk wins the contest.

Peace ✌

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