1. DeMar DeRozan’s Off-The-Side-Of-The-Backboard Windmill Oop (First round, second dunk): Hands down — and 10’s up — the best dunk of Saturday Night. Is that saying much? No. But still, it was a nice remix of Dwight Howard’s 2009 throwdown in Phoenix.
3. DeRozan’s Thru-The-Legs Baseline Reverse (First round, first dunk): For approximately 30 seconds or so, the 2010 Dunk Contest looked pretty damn promising. "If I could turn back time …" — Cher
4. DeRozan’s Over-The-Sonny (Finals, first dunk): Correct me if I’m wrong, but this was an original dunk, right? Air Canada leaped Raptors teammate Sonny Weems — who checks in at a healthy 6-foot-6 — before crushin’ the oop off the glass. Great timing. How in the world did DeRozan blow this comp? Read on.
8. DeRozan’s Two-Hand Windmill (Finals, second dunk): The Rook had this contest in the bag. All he had to do for his final dunk was throw something between the legs, maybe catch an oop from Weems, and the title was his. Instead, DeRozan took off from four-feet over the foul line and put a cap on one of the lamest dunk contests ever. Sigh.
With Robinson and DeRozan awaiting the final decision, Barkley could be heard saying “Maybe no one will win.” If anyone deserved to it was DeRozan, who did a few creative dunks, received a perfect 50 on one, and fueled the only jubilant reactions from the crowd. Not only was this the worst dunk contest I have ever witnessed, but the only dunker that deserved the title lost 51 percent-49 percent to the more popular player.
Yet, despite his somewhat disappointing finish, it was still a nice showing for the former Trojan overall. He didn’t embarrass himself and he was certainly solid. These competitions are mainly about having fun, and by the look of things, it seemed as if DeRozan was enjoying himself. He didn’t win, which would have certainly been nice, but he came out and had a strong performance that got some fans excited. Dunk contest fans won’t necessarily remember this performance in 5 years, but for now, he at least proved to be rather entertaining on a Saturday night. In reality, that’s all that matters.
Chris Bosh returned to alma mater Lincoln High School for an afternoon event with television personality Judge Greg Mathis.
Bosh graduated from Lincoln in 2002 and was enthusiastically greeted by an auditorium filled with school-age kids from Dallas.
"I’m proud to be back at Lincoln," Bosh said. "I’m proud to be back with my family and be an All-Star in my hometown."
Bosh, in town for today’s NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium, helped lead Lincoln’s 2001-02 basketball team to a state title and a 40-0 record.
“I felt good about all mine,” said DeRozan. “I felt confident but going up against Nate, (but) someone that small that’s doing the things he’s doing, it’s hard to beat that.
The only blip on DeRozan’s night came at the most inopportune moment. After nailing his first dunk of the second round – leaping over Sonny Weems to dunk one-handed after Weems stood under the rim and bounced the ball off the glass, DeRozan missed his first attempt at his final dunk.
“I’m a little disappointed, especially with it being so close but it happens,” he said. “I’ve got a long time in the league, hopefully I get a chance to do the dunk contest again, try to redeem myself.”
Before DeRozan’s miss, Robinson had already completed his second with a 360-degree reverse after tossing himself a high bounce pass, the momentum shifted.
“Every dunk I kept switching up, trying to figure what I was going to do but Nate got me with the last one,” said DeRozan.
NBA commissioner David Stern said he doesn’t mind that his game’s biggest and brightest stars shy away from the dunk contest, the one Saturday event with the power to blow the roof off the building.
"It seems like everybody was involved in it," Bird said of yesteryear. "Some of them dunk contests the field was our best dunkers. It wasn’t like it is now. It was really our stars, and it really helped promote it."
At least guys like Kobe, sensing some responsibility to the game and the fans, did it once.
Are you listening, LeBron? The King titillated us last year with hints he’d dunk in Dallas, and then before he could giveth his gift of dunk he taketh away by backing out. One NBA team president said he still loves the dunk contest and still thinks it’s the highlight of the night, but he also said the reason the NBA’s best don’t compete in it, as opposed to the 3-point contest or the other skills events, has nothing to do with fear of injury as is often stated, but rather fear of failure.
"Players are very reluctant or have been of late more reluctant to participate in the slam dunk because it’s more a kind of macho test of your athleticism, that you have the potential, some players think, to embarrass themselves, and I don’t anybody really worries about missing a shot," Suns president Rick Welts said. "So, I think for whatever reason in the psyche of a basketball player there’s nothing at risk of missing a shot, but somehow, not doing the most spectacular dunk does have a different implication in terms of kind of your legend. I think players are less willing to participate in that."
Even that bright light in an otherwise dank tunnel — a windmill slam by Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan after Sonny Weems passed it off the side of the backboard, deservedly earning the night’s lone perfect score — was marked as much by the skill of the passer than the dunker.
This year’s event also lacked two other key elements: star power and theater. The past couple of dunk contests weren’t works of art either, but were salvaged by Dwight Howard’s Superman routine and Nate Robinson’s Krypto-Nate response.
This year? There was nothing. Robinson could hardly get worked up about facing off with a rookie from north of the border, and no other notable rivalries filled the void.
Which was to be expected given the participants. Memo to the league: If the biggest star you can get to participate is Gerald Wallace, it might be time to either up the prize money or rethink the contest.
Somehow, the league needs to restore the originality, creativity, and what-will-they-think-of-next wonder that the contest supplied for most of the past two decades. It was running on fumes the past few years, however, before the event’s fuel tank hit E Saturday. Without some new ideas, it’s unlikely to last as Saturday’s signature event.