2012 NBA Dunk Contest Round-Up - It Wasn’t All Bad But It Wasn’t Good
We all remember the good old days. The time when Vince Carter assaulted the rim with an array of dunks. When Michael took off from the free throw line. When we first saw the East Bay Funk Dunk. Those were the days.
Sadly, the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest will be one that won’t be fondly remembered. There was nothing “classic” about this one.
It was a mess of missed dunks, failed jokes, and mediocre performances.
Chase Budinger came out to an awkward “White Men Can’t Jump” act and followed it up with a fairly promising slam. With P. Diddy throwing a surprising good alley-oop pass, Budinger leaped over Diddy to hammer down the one-hand slam. With Diddy seemingly drunk, it was impressive that the pass was on the money the first time.
With the first dunk down, things were looking good. First dunks are always a warm up. It seemed to be a sign of good things to come.
And that brought us to Jeremy Evans’ first dunk which was a much better indicator of what we would experience throughout the contest.
After attaching a video camera to himself, Jeremy Evans disappointed the crowd with a routine reverse jam followed by a chin-up on the rim, intended to get the crowd going but instead leaving them in silence. I’m not even going to post the video, you don’t need to see it.
For Paul George’s first dunk, he also went with the jump-over-another-person route but turned it up a few notches by jumping over his teammate, 7’2” Roy Hibbert. After a few misses and with a little boost off the shoulder of his teammate, George finished up with a nice dunk. Definitely not a game-changer, but a respectable first effort.
Keeping with the trend of jumping over stuff, Derrick Williams decided to go windmill-style over a motorcycle. After a few misses (which became a theme of the night), Williams rose up and pulled off a decent dunk. Not really what you would expect in a dunk contest, but an impressive dunk nonetheless.
After a good start to the contest, Chase Budinger threw down a dunk that gets pulled off in games on a regular basis, a standard windmill. A windmill so standard it doesn’t deserve being posted.
What makes someone think that a dunk as simple and as common as a windmill would cut it in a slam dunk competition? By this point the frustration was beginning to set in throughout the Twitter world. We all sensed that this dunk contest wasn’t going to be what we hoped it would be. It was starting to be real.
Thankfully, Jeremy Evans exploded with his second slam. With a sitting Gordon Hayward throwing two balls into the air simultaneously, Evans gets up to throw down both balls at once.
Finally the crowd got what they wanted. A dunk that energizes the crowd enough to actually get them out of their seats. If only the trend continued.
Paul George ramped up the theatrics for his next dunk donning a glow-in-the-dark jersey and dunking in the dark. The Tron-style dunk, while aesthetically looked pretty neat, didn’t really work because it was too dark to see George pull off the windmill 360 slam. The idea was there, he just didn’t execute.
Derrick Williams also stepped it up for his second attempt. First of all, bonus points for involving Spaniard Ricky Rubio. Anything Rubio is involved in seems to be a little more exciting. Williams really brought it with this slam. Rubio tossed the pass off the side of the backboard and Williams finished with the 360 alley-oop (albeit after a few attempts).
At the end of the second round of dunks, Jeremy Evans probably had his nose ahead of the pack due to the two-ball dunk.
The third round of dunks turned out to be somewhat of a homage to dunkers from years past. Chase Budinger showed his respects to Cedric Ceballos by going with the famous blindfold dunk. With the crowd’s help, Budinger not only completed the dunk but threw it down reverse. Whether or not he actually had holes in the blindfold, we will never know.
Jeremy Evans used his final dunk to throwback to the glory days of the Utah Jazz by putting on a Karl Malone jersey. Not only was there a jersey change, Evans decided to jump over borderline-midget comedian Kevin Hart (not quite as exciting as jumping over Roy Hibbert, but probably a little funnier). Combine that with throwing the hand back behind the head while dunking it and Evans pulled off an enjoyable slam.
Paul George finished off his performance with an interesting dunk, but maybe not the most exciting. After a few missed attempts, George took off from the baseline and while slapping the glass (and leaving a sticker of Larry Bird’s face on the glass) spun underneath and slammed it on the other side of the rim. It ends up sounding more exciting than what eventually happened.
Pictures of the sticker on the glass (via SB Nation).
After his first two dunks, Derrick Williams throws down a stinker for his final slam. After attempting time after time to throw down an off-the-glass, through-the-legs alley-oop, Williams was forced to settle for a boring off-the-glass, two-hand alley-oop. A disappointing end to a promising performance with no need for me to post another video.
The fans sent in millions of votes and declared Jeremy Evans’ the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest winner.
Though Evans pulled off an entertaining dunk or two, overall the slam dunk contest continues to be a disappointing affair. The use of props and gimmicks seems to be wearing out the patience of the fans tuning in. The fans, including myself, expect to be wowed by the best dunkers in the world pulling off the best dunks they can. We haven’t seen a truly exciting dunk contest since Jason Richardson and Vince Carter were dazzling us in there primes.
Something has to change. Beckley Mason from ESPN.com’s TrueHoop blog brought forth the idea of making the dunk contest into more of a “jam session” as seen in skateboarding events. Whether that needs to happen or any other changes or improvements need to be made, bad dunk contests need to stop. The fans won’t stand for it any more.
Congratulations to Jeremy Evans for taking home the title.
Hopefully, the League will learn from this years contest and make some positive changes for the future.
Sometimes you can’t appreciate the sunshine without the rain.