Opinion: Lackluster 2022 NBA Dunk Contest disappoints fans once again

How to Fix the Dunk Contest

All-Star weekend is always a great time for NBA fans. It serves as a nice break in the middle of the season for teams to rest and get ready for the second half of the season, as well as a chance for fans to watch some of their favorite players compete against each other in challenges and ultimately the big All-Star game. Some of these challenges include the Rising Stars Challenge, which gives rookies and sophomore players a chance to compete against each other to see who the best young stars are. The skills challenge gives players a chance to show off their array of shooting, ball handling, and passing skills. The Three-Point contest takes some of the best shooters from throughout the NBA and tests their skills on a big stage against one another to crown a three-point champion.
Arguably the most popular event during the All-Star weekend is the Slam Dunk contest. Some of the legends of the NBA have given us unforgettable moments during this event. From Michael Jordan dunking from the free-throw line, Vince Carter putting his whole arm in the basket, 5’9” Nate Robinson dunking over 7’0” Dwight Howard, or Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon duking it out in a crazy competitive contest, the dunk contest has been a staple in the NBA and basketball culture.
Recently, however, the dunk contest hasn’t lived up to the hype that it has had in the past. There are many reasons for why this is the case. One of those reasons is because there hasn’t been a lot of creativity in the dunks that are performed. A lot of the memorable dunks from the dunk contest are cool because of the creativity and originality of them. When Blake Griffin dunked over a Kia car, it was a creative dunk that people haven’t forgotten about to this day. Another reason is because big name stars are not competing in the dunk contest. In the past, big name players such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, Dwight Howard, and many more stars were competing in the dunk contest. Most of the high-flying superstars in the league today are not competing in the competition, and that makes the contest less exciting to watch.
So what would my solution be to this predicament? There are a few ideas that I have to boost the excitement of the dunk contest. The first idea is to not just have the dunk contest be from a pool of NBA players. Just like there is a Celebrity All-Star game, there could easily be a Celebrity All-Star dunk contest full of our favorite athletes and athletic celebrities. All-Star weekend falls right after the end of the NFL season, as well as before the start of the MLB season, so all of these athletes would be able to compete in a contest if it were to happen. Another idea that I think would make the dunk contest more exciting is similar to what they did for the All-Star game. If there was a charity donation promised to a foundation from the winner, that would entice the athletes to compete for a good cause and good publicity for their name and brand.
The dunk contest has been a huge part of the entertainment during All-Star weekend, but that excitement is starting to fade away more and more every year. Hopefully the NBA can find a way to bring back great dunk contests similar to those in the past to continue to create lasting memories for the fans and the players.