Tonight in Toronto at the House that Vince Carter Built (trademark pending) the annual NBA All Star Game Eve is set to take place. It was a time — when as a youngster all the way through college — for which every NBA fan could not wait. Legends were set to take on each other in two laid back, fun contests: the Slam Dunk Contest and the Three Point Contest.
They still take place, except there aren’t very many legends hanging around anymore.
Look, we can argue it until we are blue in the face. It won’t change the fact that today’s NBA superstars are half the men that the NBA used to be and don’t want to do anything they don’t have to. Did you see yesterday on Outside the Lines that the NBA is concerned about the fatigue on NBA players from all the travel they have to do in such a short amount of time? I mean, I get it if you are Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant and have been around the league nearly 20 years and need an extra night or two off. But I’m old enough to be a lot of these guys’ father, they should be able to ball for days and not want the season to end.
Do you know how insulting that is to the working class of America who make a 1/15th of what they make a year? Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.
The first Dunk Contest, held in 1984, was won by Larry Nance. He beat out Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving, Ralph Sampson, and Clyde Drexler. Those are four Hall of Famers. Also in that contest was Darrell Griffith — the legendary Dr. Dunkenstein — who was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1981 and had it not been for a foot injury in 1985, was likely heading to the Hall himself.
This year we will be treated to reigning champion Zach LaVine taking on Andre Drummond, Will Barton and Aaron Gordon as King James and the rest of his subjects sit aside and watch.
There is so much more to being a legend in the NBA than being good at the sport. The 1980s had players who loved to play the game. That’s why the Dream Team was so amazing. Now, it’s a bunch of really talented guys collecting pay checks, and it’s sad.
But I digress. Let’s watch some real dunk contest stuff, shall we?
Spud Webb doing his thing:
The Nike logo is born as Michael Jordan goes Dr. J:
Kenny Walker literally becomes Sky Walker:
The year MJ robbed Nique:
The real Air Canada: