Blake Griffin dunks over a Kia Forte—well, the hood of it.

A couple weeks ago, the NBA hosted its annual All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. A weekend full of glitz and glamour, showcasing the sport’s best athletes became a dry, lacklustre event which made me realize that things have to change…

The biggest part of All-Star weekend for a hardcore NBA fan is the Slam Dunk Contest. So many big names have put on great shows for us in the past, including the Airness, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and more recently Vince Carter and Jason Richardson. However, this year’s contest revolved around one man, Blake Griffin. As expected, Blake won the dunk contest, but once again, as in recent years, there was controversy as well a lack of awe-inspiring moments. The dunk contest has become kind of a joke in the last couple years; there’s been more of an emphasis on props and product placement, for example Griffin dunking over a car which had to have a sticker with “Sprite Dunk Contest” on it. Once again, everyone’s got to get paid. The dunk itself was moderate at best, and what further irked me was that the commentators kept proclaiming that he jumped over a car. He didn’t. He jumped over the hood of a car—a feat which could be performed by 80% of NBA players. DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, who was shafted during the dunk contest, came out and proclaimed his disdain for the way the dunk contest is organized and scored, labelling it a “prop dunk contest”.

“I felt like the (props) take away from your dunk more than anything,” said DeRozan. “If there was a dunk contest next year, maybe I’d do it. But not a prop dunk contest.”

I love DeRozan for stating this and I completely agree with him. The Slam Dunk Contest has seen better days, and it was in these older days of Dr. J and Spud Webb where you saw actual creativity in dunks. As a sports purist, watching Javale McGee dunking on two nets, however entertaining, is not something I care about all that much, because you’d never see that in a game. It looks cartoonish and gimmicky. The NBA would benefit from the old way of doing things. With the athletic abilities of the NBA players today, I’m sure they could orchestrate some things we’ve never seen before.

The actual All-Star game itself was pretty boring as well. It seemed like it was about three players: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James. The game should not be centred on only three players out of 24. There was hardly a lick of defence played and it only featured a couple of highlight-worthy dunks. I am starting to believe the NBA might benefit from the NHL way of doing things. Let Kobe have one team, LeBron to have another team, and let them pick teams, just like they did in the streets and in their high school gyms.

The NBA must change something if they want to stop diluting their product. The NBA has too many talented players to let them be forced into this exhibition of product placement, dancing, and Twitter feeds. But that’s just me…