For a long time now, I thought that the NBA’s All-Star Slam Dunk contest was something that just needed to die. Way back in the day, before every single dunk was posted to YouTube and every game was on cable, it was kind of fun to put a spotlight on guys who you hadn’t seen that much of (Dominique Wilkins) and more from the guys you couldn’t get enough of (Michael Jordan).
In its early days it was a lot of fun, with surprise winners like Spud Webb. But then it stagnated, the stars left for a while and in recent years it became a bit of a clown show, with guys jumping over each other, and then last year when Blake Griffin posterized an automobile. I mean, the guy can dunk but I thought the sideshow was stupid.
In perhaps a nod to the event’s tediousness, it is now just one round — three dunks — for four players. And to make it even more trendy, the NBA and sponsor Sprite have turned to Twitter. In addition to voting for the best dunkers via text message and on the NBA.com site, fans will be able to tweet with the hashtag #SpriteSlam and a letter corresponding to one of the four players involved, the Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger, the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Derrick Williams and the Utah Jazz’s Jeremy Evans. I am guessing the final instructions will be spelled out during the broadcast on TNT, which you will have to watch anyway to see the dunks.
Are you excited? Here is the official word on how it works:
A new format will be implemented for the 2012 competition. The contest will consist of only one round and each competitor will execute three dunks. Fan voting will open after all four players have completed their first dunk. Previously, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest consisted of two rounds, with the first round scored by a panel of judges which determined two finalists.
The competition starts Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, live on TNT. And just in case you can’t get enough of guys dunking over cars, here’s last year’s finals recap.
UPDATE: If you need more Twitter, Chase Budinger will be holding a tweet-chat today: