The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Dunk Contest Props

Posted by Blake Murphy on February 24, 2008

This article has been submitted by the man in the Marbury t-shirt, Stu Wilkinson.

If there’s one thing I like doing, it’s metaphorically raining on metaphorical parades, so let’s get right to it. Everyone loved the props involved in last Saturday’s Sprite Slam-Dunk Contest, and rightly so. Dwight Howard’s Superman outfit and Gerald Green’s cupcake excited fans worldwide, and brought the Dunk Contest “back” for the fifth time in six years – Gerald Green, Nate Robinson, Josh Smith and Jason Richardson have also done it. Howard brought the contest back in a different way than the others, though. D12 used a prop that wasn’t related to the NBA in any way to bring the fans to their feet, and that’s what has me worried.

It’s all fun and games right now, as players and players alone are coming up with the creative ideas. But on my long drive home to Pennsylvania (or as I call it, “not Cuba”) over the weekend, I saw into the future. I saw the 2011 dunk contest, which featured Chase Budinger donning a Captain America uniform (complete with shield) and throwing down a Steve Francis-esque one-handed jam. This dunk was quickly followed by a commercial for the upcoming Captain America movie, starring Shia Labeouf as Captain America. Coming back from the commercial break, it appeared that James White was getting ready to dunk over 200 of Apple’s new super-thin laptops. My vision ended here, and not a second too soon.

Basically, I love the idea of props in the contest right now. But in these crazy times we’re living in, who knows where the use of props is going. What company wouldn’t want to be prominently featured in the highlight of the dunk contest, and what NBA player wouldn’t be willing to accept a little cash to make sure that happened? Hell, Gerald Green is only making $1.5 million this season, and he has a family to feed! The bottom line is that if the NBA is willing to accept the use of props that have no relation to the league, then companies with money and ideas are going to come knocking on the league’s door.

So it’s going to be up to the league to maintain the integrity of the dunk contest, because we all know that NBA players aren’t going to turn down being featured in an international marketing campaign if the price is right. Shit, if someone put a grand on the table and told me to dress up like Captain America and dunk a basketball in front of millions, I’d do it in a second. The league is going to have to say no to companies looking to use the Dunk Contest as a marketing tool – yes, it already is a marketing tool, but you know what I mean. Do you trust David Stern to make the right decision and keep the Dunk Contest in hands of the players?

Wait a second, why am I even asking? David Stern and the NBA are synonymous with integrity, not greed and publicity concerns.

This article has been submitted by the man in the Marbury t-shirt, Stu Wilkinson.

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