Zach LaVine brought back the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest this year. The Minnesota Timberwolves guard lit Barclays Center on fire last February with a plethora of gravity-defying jams the likes of which the NBA had never seen. If his performance wasn’t the greatest in league history, it was certainly the most innovative.
Might LaVine’s theatrics spark the dunk contest to its former marquee glory? Coupled with an insistence that he has more left to offer in future competitions, the presence of other young skywalkers like Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, and more certainly make that a possibility. Just imagine if Wiggins and LaVine show out in Toronto during 2016 All-Star weekend, for instance. The basketball world will be in a frenzy.
Even if that proves the case, though, it’s still highly unlikely the NBA dunk contest could surpass the Drew League’s epic event from last week. We just rarely see this type of creativity on the league stage, let alone such consistently quality slams. There’s a reason why, of course – Drew League contestants like Michael Purdie and Kenny Dobbs do this for a living. If they can’t best those in a dunk-off whose job is to play actual basketball at the highest level, pro dunkers should find a different field.
But those are the petty details reserved for naysayers. A dunk contest, for the most part, is just a dunk contest, and the Drew League’s 2015 competition is one of the best we’ve ever seen.