NBA All-Star: Will the Dunk Contest Tantalize?

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Tonight’s Sprite Slam Dunk has several new features intended to pump some much-needed life back into the competition. Even though no high-profile sports network pundits have recently decided to create their own news story, the NBA’s dunk competition will feature plenty of star power.

For the first time in over a quarter century there will be three All-Stars participating in the event: Washington’s John Wall, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Indiana’s freshly minted “elite” star, Paul George. Not since Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Clyde Drexler battled in 1988 has there been this much talent on display. Considering the defending Slam Dunk Champion, Terrence Ross, is participating along with young up-and-coming high flyers Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore, the night’s main attraction has the cast to demand interest. But does the format provide for enough excitement to keep viewers tuned into the action?

The six participants will be divided into two teams based on conference affiliation. Wall, Ross, and George will be competing on behalf of the Eastern Conference while Lillard, Barnes, and McLemore carry the Western Conference banner. The rounds themselves are not individual, but team competitions. At no point will the players break off into individual competition. The two rounds are designed to determine a winning conference.

Round One has been deemed the “Freestyle Round.” Both teams have 90 seconds to rotate in as many amazing dunks as they can. This will hopefully eliminate the worst aspect of past dunk competitions: too much time between successful jams (baseball, looking at you to increase the tempo of the home run derby). When the 90 seconds expire, a panel of judges will vote on the winning conference.

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