The most exciting play in basketball is a thunderous, creative dunk, except of course on All-Star weekend, where the stars have shunned the once-dynamic contest, and instead are making the 3-pt Shootout the marquee matchup.
It wasn't always this way. From Dr.J's liftoff at the foul line in '76, to Vince Carter's incredible 360 in 2000, to Michael's reign in the late 80's, the Dunk Contest was Must See TV. And when the big guns weren't taking home the trophy, the smaller ones were, including 5'7 Spud Webb, who stole the show in 1986.
But in recent years, the top stars have been sporadic in their appearances. Kobe did it in '97, and more recently, Dwight Howard donned a Superman cape and soared in 2008, while Blake Griffin jumped over a car to win the title in 2011. But the best player on the planet, LeBron James, has refused to compete in the event, despite much prodding from the media and fans, and this year, the lineup pales in comparison to the 3-pt Shootout.
Mason Plumlee? Really? Zach LaVine? He's going to draw you in?
Now consider the Shootout, with Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Kyle Korver, to name a few. That's the event people are anxious to see. It'll be the highlight of the All-Star festivities, as we watch basketball in its purest form.
Until the regular season resumes, of course, at which point we'll return to our regularly scheduled dynamic dunks.