Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors won the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest during a mediocre NBA All-Star Saturday Night in Houston. Ross out-pointed Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz in the finals. Some of the league’s best dunkers took way too many attempts to get dunks down. How bad was it? This bad:
Royce White has had more successful flights than this dunk contest.
— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) February 17, 2013
Evans came up with the most creative dunk of the night, dunking over a cloaked easel that held a painting of him dunking, which Evans painted himself. Wow.
In the end, Ross was too much (though at least one site caught the NBA rushing the results into host Nick Cannon before the fan voting ended). Here’s Ross hammering home his last, best dunk of the night:
All-Star Saturday 2013 just wasn’t the spectacle that has helped make the event more highly anticipated than the NBA All-Star Game over the past 30 years. The format was set to encourage a rivalry between the East and the West, as each accumulated points when players from their side won the events. Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul were the rival captains. No one cared, especially not the small, quiet crowd that showed up in Houston.
Team Bosh — Miami Heat center Chris Bosh with WNBAer Swin Cash and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins — won the anti-climactic Shooting Stars competition. Wilkins chunkiness kick-started the best part of Saturday’s TNT broadcast, as analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith ragged on everyone, including the out-of-shape ‘Nique.
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers won the Skills Challenge for the West, besting Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers. Though both players are rising stars, there was very little interest in watching them scamper around.
The 3-Point Contest provided the most drama, as nearly all of the competitors shot well enough to drain a few racks of basketballs. Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers made a staggering 17 of his first 18 shots to beat Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs, 23-20, in the finals.
With no all-star caliber players participating in the Slam Dunk Contest, the dunkers had to get over on the crowd on dunks alone. It didn’t work very well, but there were high points. Gerald Green of the Indiana Pacers got it started with this reverse, off-the-side-of-the-backboard power dunk.
James White of the New York Knicks followed by bringing a flight crew of attendants out to watch him take off just inside the free throw line on a two-handed tomahawk. He missed the first time, making this converted dunk seem less than perfect.
Ross followed, trying several times before making this impressive behind-the-back 180 dunk.
Kenneth Faried of the Nuggets and Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers each made mediocre dunks, while Evans jumped over sitting Utah Jazz legend Mark Eaton, who was holding a ball that Evans’ grabbed and dunked. He missed several times before finally connecting.
In the second round, White missed several runs at the rim and botched his last try. Green cut a net down and tried a double-dunk on the same jump with the same ball. He got it down after several tries, but it wasn’t clean. Bledsoe rallied with a windmill and Faried nailed his own power jam. They weren’t good enough to beat Evans, who dunked two balls to push him into the finals against Ross, who advanced with a solid dunk.
Ross was too good in the finals, reversing off the side of the backboard while wearing a Vince Carter Raptors’ jersey and then jumping the ball boy. Evans did dunk over Dahntay Jones, as well as complete the incredibly unique painting dunk. It wasn’t enough.
The Hall of Famers around the playing floor seemed genuinely unimpressed, while Barkley and Smith openly criticized and mocked the lack of star players in the contest and the ineptitude of the dunkers who were there. With many of the events fast becoming a punchline, the NBA may want to rethink its All-Star Saturday plans for 2014.