Shannon Brown Appears to Have Been Selected for the Dunk Contest
Every year, it seems that the NBA is trying out something new to bring some excitement (and interest) back to All-Star weekend's signature event, the Slam Dunk contest. But so far, none of the gimmicks seem to have intrigued the fans in any noticeable way.
This year's attempt, the "Slam Dunk-In," is no exception.
A season ago, the idea was to have a few rookies campaign via YouTube videos for a spot in the competition. The player with the best dunks, or the funniest video, or the most international fans (as it turned out) would be voted into the event by the fans.
Sure, some of the videos were entertaining, but no one seemed to really care who got this final spot. And while Rudy Fernandez eventually got in and had an interesting idea for his dunk, multiple bad passes from fellow countryman Pau Gasol put a fairly quick end to his quest for the crown.
Now, this season, there will be no such fan vote. The league has narrowed the list of candidates down to two players: the Raptors' DeMar DeRozan, and the Clippers' Eric Gordon. These guys will will have their own, two-man mini-dunk contest during halftime of the Rookie Challenge, which will take place on the Friday night of All-Star Weekend. The winner will get to run it back in the main event on Saturday.
DeRozan seems like a logical choice, but most people are scratching their heads at the inclusion of Gordon. Don't get me wrong -- Gordon was one of the top rookies of last season, and the man can definitely play the game. He's just not known for his dunking ability. It makes sense that the league would want a rookie and a sophomore to battle it out for that final spot at halftime of, you know, the rookie-sophomore All-Star game, but really ... Gordon? With second-year players like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and O.J. Mayo on the list of guys who could have gotten the call, it's safe to assume that Eric Gordon wasn't the league's first choice to fill this spot.
The other three Dunk Contest participants are scheduled to be announced on Monday, January 18th. But one name appears to have been leaked early, thanks to some promotion from the fine folks at Nike Basketball.
Shannon Brown has all but been confirmed, thanks to this contest that started today to design a shoe for him to wear, just in case he happens to be selected for the event on Monday. Of course, the contest only says that "if Shannon Brown is in the dunk contest, he'll need a hot shoe," but nobody's going to the trouble of setting up something like this unless the invitation was already guaranteed.