Giannis Antetokounmpo

Another year goes by and the Dunk Contest remains a problem for the NBA on All-Star weekend, once again unable to draw better or at least better known players than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zach LaVine, Victor Oladipo and Mason Plumlee.

The NBA dunk contest is never about the actual dunks. Sure, seeing something original helps, but it’s about star power, showmanship and creating excitement. The list of Antetokounmpo, LaVine, Oladipo and Plumlee might promise us some extravagant dunking, but very little interest from the less avid NBA fans, those who aren’t basketball junkies, who usually make up most of the crowd at home and in the stands when watching the All-Star weekend.

Maybe it’s time to scrap the competition? Just like the Pro Bowl, the best and biggest don’t make it there anyway. The attempts at changing formats doesn’t really work, because at the basis of it all, there’s some key ingredient missing. The best players don’t want to show up. It doesn’t even have to be the best, but at least some that are a little more hype generating. No offense to players who might be All-Stars in the future, but there’s a long list of players fans would prefer to see competing by dunking the ball at the moment.

Is the answer a one on one competition? That is a great idea but once again, the fear of being humiliated, not injuries, is going to stand in the way of the best competing. A Kevin Durant matchup with LeBron James has us all salivating, but just like the elusive Mayweather and Pacquiao fight that just won’t happen, we’re probably going to have to wait a very long time before the NBA moves in that direction and the best, high-profile players agree to participate.

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