NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest: Analysis of the New Format

Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IIFebruary 27, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz reacts after he dunks during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest part of 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend at Amway Center on February 25, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2012 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest featured a format, different than the one fans had been used to. In years past, the four contestants would compete in a two-dunk first round, with the judges voting. The two contestants with the highest scores would advance, where the winner of the finals was picked through phone voting via text messaging.

However, this year, the contest mixed things up a bit. Instead of the two-round style, this dunk contest featured one round only. Each contestant was given the chance to pull off three dunks, and the winner was picked by the fans.

In such a low profile contest, the change did not stir up the uproar which it would have if Blake Griffin had been participating. Nonetheless, if this new format is here to stay, it is important to explore the pros and cons for the future.


The most upsetting difference this year was the absence of the judges. The winner was entirely picked by fans, and no judges had any say. This year, with no true popular candidate, there was no favorite who walked away with the majority of the votes. However, in future years, if a fan-favorite were to compete, no matter how boring and uncreative his dunks are, he could very easily walk away with the crown.

Also, one change that did not affect the excitement of this year's contest was the three-dunk limit. In a future year, with an All-Star dunker possibly competing, despite how much more talented he is than the competition, they will both be allowed the same number of dunks. In the past, the finalists would take a total of four dunks (two in the first round, and two in the second). Their opponents who did not advance were limited to two tries. This helped remove the boring competitors and put more stress on the more entertaining ones.


With every contestant receiving the same number of dunks, every planned attempt was able to be displayed. With the past format, competitors would save their most creative dunks for the final stage, if in fact they reached that point. If not, fans were robbed of the chance of viewing what could possibly be very entertaining dunk. Now, every dunk is displayed and there is no chance of the fans missing out on what could be the highlight of the night.

With less chances, a bigger stress is put on each attempt. Fans can no longer rely on the incompetence of opponents to get them into the non-existing finals. America will hold each competitor to every single try, and one bad attempt could ruin their chances of a title. Every chance will be taken advantage of, with each competitor hoping to be crowned champion.