The Real Reason the Dunk Contest Was a Letdown: No Great Reactions

Glenn Robinson III

There was no way the 2017 NBA Slam Dunk Contest was going to live up to the 2016 version. The 2016 dunk contest was among the greatest of all time, a pure showdown between two elite dunkers at their athletic and creative peaks. Zach LaVine ended up edging Aaron Gordon in a spectacle that spawned 1 million+ “The dunk contest is back!” articles.

In the weeks leading up to the 2017 contest, however, there started to be cracks in the armor. First, there was the rumor that two-time reigning champ Zach LaVine wasn’t likely to participate. Then came the season-ending injury to LaVine that made it official that we wouldn’t get a rematch. Then there was the foot injury to Gordon last week that meant he might not be at 100 percent for the contest.

Then the actual contest began, and it became very clear very fast that this wasn’t going to be 2016. Glenn Robinson III had some very good dunks, and Derrick Jones Jr. had a couple solid jams, but there were also tons of excruciating misses and just none of the fever that enveloped the 2016 contest. What kind of fever enveloped the 2016 contest you may ask? The kind of fever that makes Karl-Anthony Towns look like he just watched a Sean Spicer presser.

And that was just the beginning. The 2016 dunk contest drew some of the greatest reactions in the history of mankind. I’m pretty sure the NBA got a $25 billion donation from after last year’s contest.

After the contest, SBNation put together a video of the best reactions and since we didn’t get any gems last night, it’s time to revisit the best of the bunch with a top five ranking. Here we go:

5. Tracy McGrady just got you pregnant while Dikembe Mutombo weirdly kind of looks like Emily Blunt in the rare cross-gender, cross-race lookalike competition

4. I hope to one day be as purely in awe as this child was at this moment.

3. This one needs its own mini-breakdown below

There’s so much packed into this image. Front row, left to right: young girl reacting to her best friend’s Snapchat, she has no idea there is anything else going on around her; Olivia Wilde attempting to make herself as small as possible out of fear that Aaron Gordon is going to dunk the ball so hard that it’s going to take her life on the ricochet; Jason Sudeikis doing the white man version of a stink face; a young boy becomes a young man; Anthony Anderson practicing his breathing exercises so as not to pass out. Second row, left to right: “I refuse to have any noticeable reaction, I’m a professional after all”; a woman who I’m sure is famous yelling something I’m sure is amusing; *chuckling to self*; a lad in red who is about to dab so hard the court will split in half. Back row: a bunch of press guys on their phones.

2. Mutombo witnesses a murder.

  1. My computer wallpaper for the last 12 months and likely the rest of eternity. (Sorry eventual child I have.)

It’s over, it’s over.

Hopefully the 2018 NBA Slam Dunk Contest brings it. And by “it” I mean A+ reactions.