You hear it every single year, on the second day of the All Star Weekend. “The Dunk Contest is back!” In fact, we’ve all heard that for almost a decade since the likes of Vince Carter and Jason Richardson made us all dream.

Back then, it was another expression that stood out from the commentary stand. “It is over!” Kenny “The Jet” Smith used to say. Back then, there were no freestyle rounds, no East versus West, no texting, no Twitter…just the dunker and the rim…and five judges chosen from a very few who had the opportunity to be in the All Star Weekend spotlight.

Back then, Vinsanity made us all believe that sky is REALLY the limit. Unfortunately, we could not have been farther from the truth.

After 14 years, we’ve come to realize all that was an illusion. Or even a dream if not for the hundreds of videos from the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.

Now everything changed. Now between the dunker and the rim stands either a cake, a car, a golden chair, a legend, a mascot. Plus endless possibilities to deceive the fans. Because the dunker is not important anymore. The dunker is just a means to an end. The lights are important, the 3D camera, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, TNT, the way Kevin Durant dresses is important, Nick Cannon’s shoes… WHO?

Lights, camera, action!

But nothing happens, it’s just like the same old boring show, it’s like resurrecting Dallas or Beverly Hills. And we all fall for it believing that this year we WILL see something special, that his year, things will be different.

Meanwhile, in some distant part of the US, some superstar throws a dunk contest for his teammates and the whole wide…web. He also does that from time to time during practices, before the NBA games. Nobody knows why, although he stated (not once but several times) that he will not participate in the Dunk Contest. But why? Too old, too proven…or maybe too damn scared. So why is he doing that if he has no intention of ever being on the center-stage on Saturday Night?

Lights out! Silence…

The lights are on again. Cameras are rolling. The NBA has just turned another page. So do we. A new chapter is written and the title is changed: The Dunk Contest is saved! Now we are all waiting for a savior, for someone who can give us hope.

On Saturday Night, John Wall was that savior. HE saved the Dunk Contest by taking the ball from Washington Wizards mascot in mid-air and slamming it down reverse style. Paul George could have joined him in his efforts to save the contest but it took a little too much time to throw it down reverse, between his legs. At least he reminded us of the post-VC dunk contests when J-Rich took it to another level.

“The slam dunk has returned”, the legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving said after he saw Wall’s impressive dunk. Unfortunately, it returned right at the end after yet another disappointing contest, just in time to save our hopes and dreams for next year…

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