The NBA dunk contest was a complete mess on Sunday night. The NBA obviously didn’t expect much of it, if they moved it to half-time of the All-Star game. Some fans don’t even want the dunk contest anymore. Other fans, myself included, are still holding out hope that maybe, just MAYBE a new year of dunkers will showcase dunks never seen before. That didn’t happen last night. I wouldn’t say it was the worst dunk contest of all time, but it wasn’t anything you will watch a second time. I can’t fault the dunkers much, because it seemed like they gave it all they had. I mean you are the dunk contest, we can’t assume they were holding anything back in their one moment to shine. Which brings me to my point: this year’s dunk contest could have been the greatest of all time. Now, I know that sounds like clickbait, but its actually true. When you look around the NBA and see what dunkers are available to compete, you will find dunkers that are 100 times better than those that participated. You could potentially create the greatest slam dunk contest line-up of all time. I have been watching the dunk contest since Michael Jordan kissed the rim in the 1987. This year could have been better than the Jordan-Nique dual in Chicago in 1988, better than Vince in 2000, better than Dwight Howard in 2008 and even better than the Lavine-Gordon dual of 2016.
Just how can that be possible? Well, lets get into what players could have perfomed in the 2021 NBA dunk contest instead. You currently in the NBA have three of greatest young dunkers in the history of the NBA. Who are they? Well Zion Williamson, Zach Lavine and Jimma Gatwech. Now, Gatwech is currently not playing in the NBA (he put his name into last year’s draft and then pulled his name out) and would need to be called up to the NBA, but that seems like a minor detail. If Silver really wants a slam dunk contest to be remembered, then it starts with getting Gatwech. For those of who don’t know much about Gatwech, Gatwech has to be one of the top dunkers in high school history. The type of dunks done in the NBA dunk contest, he was doing them DURING games in high school. Pretty much any dunk ever done he can do it. If you don’t believe me, go find his YouTube mixtapes. Soooooo Gatwech gets signed to a short term contract by say the Kings or the Magic and is now on an NBA roster.
Okay, the next person to get on board: Zach Lavine. Lavine, even with all spectacular dunks he has performed at previous all-star weekends, still has tricks up his sleeve. We know that for a fact. There are rumors he can do a 720 dunk (which has never been done in the NBA) and there is also the video of him doing a 360 from the free throw line (also something else that has never been done at any level). And he probably has one or two more to add to the mix that none of us have seen. If he even completes just those two dunks, they would be the two greatest dunks in the history of the competition.
The third person to get on board (and obviously the most important): Zion Williamson. Could Zion beat out Zach Lavine in a dunk contest? I don’t know, and after neither participated in this year’s dunk contest, I guess we will never know. Fans have been waiting for Zion to dunk in the NBA dunk contest since before he was old enough to drive. Zion was expected to join the ranks of high profile rookies to join the dunk contest like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Blake Griffin did. Zion’s injury last year sidetracked that plan. So fans expected this was going to be Zion’s year. Throw in that Zion has a new Air Jordan ZW shoe coming out, and you got the perfect marketing moment. Zion decided not to dunk this year, and we all know had the Jordan Brand and NBA teamed up, they could have easily convinced Zion to do it. Some already say the Zion is one of the top two or three (some say one) dunkers of all-time. How much better could you get than having a young Zion in the dunk contest?
We just need to fill the last slot. On Sunday, the NBA only had three dunkers (it’s smallest event ever) and it just didn’t seem right only having three dunkers in total. So we need to add a fourth dunker, which will be easy. Now, Aaron Gordon has done enough for the dunk contest and has been robbed two separate times. I mean the guy jumped over Tacko last year, what left is there to prove? He is probably the only person on the planet that can do that by the way. So we skip Aaron Gordon for this one. So who would be a great 4th contestant? Ideally, Ja Morant would be the ideal 4th pick. If Ja doesn’t want to participate then give Derrick Jones Jr. a chance to defend his title. There is no more difficult path to defend your title then going up against a line-up of Lavine, Gatwech and Zion.
So there you have it: the 2021 dunk contest could have been Zion Williams, Jimma Gatwech, Ja Morant and Zach Lavine. Instead we got a really bad dunk contest that will only be remembered for stiffing the first dunker of the night. Maybe the NBA can come to it’s senses and put this line-up together for next year and we can watch the greatest dunk contest of all time.