2022 NBA Dunk Contest Gets Stuffed
AT&T Slam Dunk Contest falls short of the hype. Photo by AP News
By Corey Guy, Sports Writer
CLEVELAND – Even though the table was set for an incredible showdown between the NBA’s big-time dunkers, the 2022 Slam Dunk Contest was anti-climactic.
Expectations, along with the verticals of its participants, were very high. The last time the dunk contest was held in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, a young Kobe Bryant claimed the title of champion in 1997. The Slam Dunk Contest is the most electrifying and often most controversial event of All-Star Saturday Night, so this annual tradition is a favorite for basketball fans around the world.
Houston Rockets star rookie and avid high flyer Jalen Green competed alongside Orlando second-year guard Cole Anthony, the son of NBA veteran Greg Anthony. The contest also included its first Mexican American player, Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson. Lastly, the explosive power forward from the New York Knicks Obi Toppin.
Toppin and Toscano-Anderson faced off in the championship round with Toppin taking home the title of Slam Dunk Contest Champion.
— NBA (@NBA) February 20, 2022
However, the combination of the countless missed dunks and mediocre finishes made for a lot of disappointed NBA fans. Favorite Green attempted seemingly a dozen dunks because he missed so many of them, and the fans in Cleveland let him know it.
The days of electrifying performances from the NBA’s best appeared be over and the fans reacted negatively.
Shaq over it already pic.twitter.com/JbzHoRMyZJ
— Overtime (@overtime) February 20, 2022
So, what went wrong? The dunk contest is slowly losing its uniqueness and becoming quite repetitive. Many NBA stars aren’t willing to participate in the contest and it’s affecting the event. This year’s contest is evidence that changes need to be made. It might be time to consider a new main event for All-Star Saturday Night.
The judges were NBA and dunk contest legends Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Dominique Wilkins, Isiah Thomas, David Robinson and Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, who judged a competitive, slightly lackluster contest.
Some highlights of the event included Anthony’s windmill dunk in Timberland boots with help from his father, Toscano-Anderson’s one-handed windmill while jumping over first-time All-Star and teammate Andrew Wiggins, Green’s crazy jumping ability and Toppin’s impressive display of innovation, performing three never-before-seen dunks.
He is the third New York Knick to win the competition, behind Kenny “Sky” Walker in 1989 and Nate Robinson in 2006, 2009 and 2010.