The field is set for the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest, and… Jeremy Lin will be there! Ah, not what you might expect though. He’s been included to be the helper for his teammate, Iman Shumpert. Joining Shumpert in the dunking field will be Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams and Paul George. Underwhelming? As SBNation’s Mike Prada tweeted, these four are tied for 41st, 45th, 97th and 149th in dunks this season. That doesn’t mean it’ll be a weak contest, but it’s leaning that way.
Those four could make for a great event. But people want to see the biggest names. The dunk contest won’t ever be totally back until that happens.
Every year, the most hyped, marquee event during All-Star Weekend is the slam dunk contest. The dunk is to basketball what an ingenious rhyme is to rap: that singular highlight that raises the bar of creativity and excitement amongst the participants, while those in the arena or surrounding the cypher simply marvel in admiration. Over the past few seasons, the dunk contest has brought us moments like Krypto-Nate dunking over Superman, Serge Ibaka rescuing a kid’s teddy bear, and, of course, Earthquake Blake jumping over a whip. And yes, many would say that the dunk contest isn’t what it used to be, but with the right cats chosen it very well could be. If David Stern knew what was right for the game, these next four studs should’ve been representing the league in Orlando for a dunk contest renaissance.
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4. DeAndre Jordan
While last year’s dunk contest featured three bigs as contestants, none of them – outside of maybe Earthquake Blake – come close to matching the raw athleticism that DeAndre Jordan possesses. With a crazy wingspan of 7-6, standing reach of 9-6 and weighing 265 pounds, Jordan has unlimited bounce for a seven footer. At the center position, only Dwight Howard can compete with Jordan as a physical specimen. Most people are just catching on to how much of a beast Jordan is as the Clippers are now relevant due to CP3 as their MVP candidate. He started off the year with a monstrous dunk fest on those hated Lakers with two of the top five dunks of the preseason. Since then, he has made the Raptors extinct, and showed capital punishment to the Wizards. It is because of these jams that his in-game dunks are overall better than even when Blake explodes like this. Now should’ve been the time for DeAndre Jordan to invade Orlando and showcase Lob City to the whole world.
3. Russell Westbrook
In 2009, the league allowed fans the chance to vote in the fourth dunker for the slam dunk contest, and somehow Rudy Fernandez won. Three years later and I’m still trying to figure out how the hell Rudy got more votes than Russell Westbrook – unless all of Spain voted him in. Whether it was then or right now, Westbrook clearly is one of the most athletic cats to play the point. Going back to his college days at UCLA, he has had a knack for posterizin’ those much taller than him; just ask no-names like Jamal Boykin and LeKendric Longmire.
Westbrook’s max vertical of 36.5 inches and a rangy 6-8 wingspan to go along with his acceleration speed, clocked at 3.08 seconds within the three-quarters court drill before the draft, makes him a nightmare on the break. This mix of Stevie Franchise-esque springs and zoom of the next cat on this list are what warrants his participation in the dunk contest. It’s a bad mistake he was omitted in ’09. He should’ve been given the chance to show why he was placed amongst the line of great Russells that Kanye mentioned in “Illest Mother$^#&er Alive.”