After a halftime appearance on the 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend, the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest was back as the headliner of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night festivities.
The pageant has been Saturday’s late-night event for years, probably every year since its introduction in 1984.
However, in recent years, with the exception of a few outstanding duels, the contest has seen a decline in entertainment value. It’s an opinion shared not only by fans, but also by other NBA players – past and present.
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The 2022 AT&T Slam Dunk Contest in Cleveland joined that unenviable list.
Although the Knicks’ Obi Toppin emerged victorious with high scores, racking up 182 out of a possible 200 points on all of his dunks, it would be fair to say that the competition against him was disappointing to say the least.
With Jalen Green and Cole Anthony needing multiple attempts, including multiple unofficial tries, for their first-round dunks against Juan Toscano-Anderson only hitting a 30 for his second final-round dunk, the event went downhill. ultimately proved to be well below expectations.
During the competition and even after Toppin’s win, several NBA players – past and present – took to Twitter to share their reaction to the mediocre event.
😂‼️ they did regular hard dunks. you get 7s for them now https://t.co/THPYbuk0EK
—Ja Morant (@JaMorant) February 20, 2022
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) February 20, 2022
I never dunk again, sorry, strictly layups now #mytimbsnotyours
— Cole Anthony (@The_ColeAnthony) February 20, 2022
Me after a one hand base https://t.co/opMBMsMWaI pic.twitter.com/5zYuMFh3B2
—Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) February 20, 2022
I could have won the dunk contest tonight 😂
—Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) February 20, 2022
I’m taking part in the dunk contest next year.
—Vernon Maxwell (@VernonMaxwell11) February 20, 2022
I feel for everyone involved
— JJ Redick (@jj_redick) February 20, 2022
Say little friend @JaMorant we need to see you next at the dunk contest!!! I’m just saying…give people what they want! To continue…
—Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) February 20, 2022
For real 🤦♂️ https://t.co/yoWjwXAuL3
— Austin Rivers (@AustinRivers25) February 20, 2022
I could have won this year 🌚🤣 #issajoke
— De’Andre Hunter (@DreHunter) February 20, 2022
I’m just playing😂😂😂 https://t.co/yYJmpISGRl
— Anfernée Simons (@AnfernéeSimons) February 20, 2022
Even the TNT team calling the contest, consisting of Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller and Dwyane Wade with Brian Anderson, discussed whether the 3-Point Contest should be swapped with the Dunk Contest as the headlining event. Saturday.
D-WADE 💀 pic.twitter.com/9Dx7BDn2yU
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 20, 2022