Shaedon Sharpe had one of the coolest dunks of the season on Tuesday night as he threw down a ferocious poster on Kyle Kuzma during the third quarter of the Portland Trail Blazers' blowout loss to the Washington Wizards. It was the kind of dunk that made you wish he was going to be involved in the Dunk Contest this weekend.
Awesome dunk. So why isn't he in the Dunk Contest? Sharpe was originally going to participate, but he dropped out of the Dunk Contest "in order to focus on the second half of the Trail Blazers' season," according to Shams Charania.
Shaedon Sharpe, a 19-year old rookie, is completely healthy and plays 20 minutes a night for the team with the 11th best record in the Western Conference. If the NBA can't get someone of his stature and dunking ability to participate there is something very wrong.
That's no surprise. People have been trying to fix the Dunk Contest for decades. Who knows if it was ever even actually good. We just have old video of Michael Jordan taking off from the free throw line and decided it used to be great. If Michael Jordan won it twice, it must mean something. But maybe it's just always been kind of a waste of time that was sometimes interrupted by Vince Carter or Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine doing some truly incredible stuff. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.
Still, the dunk contest needs to be fixed and if someone doesn't suggest a few ways to do just that every year then the Internet no longer serves a purpose. With that in mind, here are five drastic changes the NBA can make that will bring the stars back to the Dunk Contest.
Winner Gets a Billion Dollars
I've seen people suggest a million dollars is the kind of prize that might entice the stars to participate, but I really don't know if that will get someone like Ja Morant, whose $193 million contract extension kicks in next season. So we're going to need at least a billion. You still couldn't get LeBron, but Zion Williamson might actually put on a jersey for that much. And that is literally what everyone wants to see.
Imagine Adam Silver out there at halfcourt holding that check like Jackie Moon, sweating that it gets cashed before the latest media rights deal is in place.
Tie it to the 3-Point Contest
You want to participate in the 3-Point Contest? Well, you have to do the Dunk Contest too. The 3-Point Contest has become the premiere event of All-Star Saturday. Some of the best shooters of all-time have participate and won in recent years. So let's see them dunk.
What if in order to compete in the shooting contest you needed to complete a dunk the judges gave a 40. Could Steph do it? Klay? Wouldn't you rather see Jayson Tatum, Buddy Hield, Damian Lillard, Tyler Herro, Kevin Huerter, Anfernee Simons, Tyrese Haliburton, and Lauri Markkanen spend 30 minutes trying to advance than Kenyon Martin Jr., Mac McClung, Trey Murphy III and Jericho Sims?
AI Generated Dunks
What if we've seen every dunk a human being is capable of? If we have already seen all that a human can do, then let's give computers a crack at it. Let's use all of the knowledge of physics and sports and science and numbers and all that stuff and create DunkGPT.
Using this groundbreaking technology we will generate new dunks using existing players, but they won't actually have to participate, which will be especially attractive to them. DunkGPT will also eliminate missed dunks. We can have this entire thing done in 15 minutes with commercials.
Dunk Contest Winner's Team Automatically Makes the Playoffs
Look, MLB handed out homefield advantage in the World Series based on the result of the All-Star Game, so we've seen ideas just as silly in modern professional sports. And I'm not even talking about a berth into the play-in tournament.
Make it the 4-seed. And if the winner's team finishes better than 4th then they get an extra home game in each round. Who cares? You want people to care, make the Dunk Contest potentially legacy-changing. First of all, you'd have LeBron James in the Dunk Contest tomorrow. And he's facing off Anthony Edwards in the final round.
Tom Cruise (or Miles Teller)
I'm still working on this one, but I think we need to get Tom Cruise involved. Have you seen Top Gun Maverick? It literally saved movie theaters. Steven Speilberg said so. It's a non-stop thrill ride. It's just a great movie. Tom Cruise only makes great movies. And people want to watch them. So put him in the Dunk Contest.
Now, is he tall enough to dunk a basketball? No. Does he in anyway look like he would be comfortable or natural on a basketball court? Not at all. Dude probably shoots a basketball like a wrestler or soccer player. But it doesn't matter. You put Tom Cruise in something and it is automatically improved. And if he's busy, just use Miles Teller. You see his Super Bowl ad or the Footloose remake or Top Gun Maverick? (Seriously, we should watch Top Gun Maverick as soon as this post is done.)
You know how I know Miles Teller would do the Dunk Contest? Because Kobe Bryant did the Dunk Contest and Kobe had a relationship with Teller. He used to tell him, "Miles, do epic shit."
And if Teller is busy, just use an AI version of him. Boom.