Once upon a time, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was the marquee event for NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Some of the game's very best players would go head-to-head with creative dunks to get the crowd on their feet.
There's a reason that the Dunk Contest is always the last event on Saturday Night. It's the event most fans used to be excited about the most. There's nothing more exhilarating in a NBA game than a big dunk, whether it's by way of a poster or on a fast break.
In recent years, the Dunk Contest has been losing its steam. The dunks have gotten stale, and more importantly, the contestants are names that casual NBA fans just don't recognize or care about. Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics could be hoping to fix both of those issues by contemplating participating in the 2024 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
It's on players like Jaylen Brown to revive the NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke late Wednesday night that Brown is seriously considering participating in the contest. It's possible that it doesn't happen, but Shams reporting this makes it feel very likely that Brown will partake.
Shams noted that this would be the first time since 2017 that an All-Star has competed in the Dunk Contest. That, of course, is an absolute shame. We see events like the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Contest littered with some of the game's best players every year, yet the Dunk Contest consists of players most fans have never heard of.
Last season, the Dunk Contest consisted of players like Jericho Sims, Trey Murphy III, KJ Martin, and Mac McClung. Sure Murphy is a solid player and Sims has performed well in limited action, but these are not players to get fans excited. I mean, even the eventual winner, McClung, who had some very nice dunks, represented the Delaware Blue Coats of the G League.
For fans to care about this event, they're going to need to see some star power. No, 39-year-old LeBron James isn't going to do it, but what about some of the game's high flyers like Zion Williamson and Anthony Edwards? Even some players who have wowed us in the past like Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine (now injured) would be fun.
Bench players and G Leaguers aren't going to get fans excited even if they put on a solid show. Players like Brown who is going to play in the All-Star game are what fans pay big money to see on All-Star Weekend. We can only hope he changes his RSVP response from maybe to yes.