CLEVELAND — Everyone was pumped.
It had been a great All-Star Weekend so far in Cleveland, and the best was still yet to come. Surely, the famed competition with so much history, so much tradition would live up to the hype.
Spoiler alert: It did not. Oh boy, it did not.
Yes, Saturday night's NBA Dunk Contest at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is being called one of the worst ever, if not the worst of all time. Countless missed attempts and unnecessary theatrics created a spectacle that seemed a lifetime away from its heyday, and left the fans inside the arena bored and quiet throughout.
It was bad enough that all four participants were relatively young fringe guys instead of the big names that at one time used to dominate the roster. Of course, that could be forgiven if the dunks themselves are epic, but it quickly became clear that would not be the case.
Not only were the dunks themselves particularly underwhelming, but the players often took multiple tries just to make their shots. Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets received some unique derision, particularly after he walked on the court wearing an NFT only to whiff on what seemed like an endless amount of drives to the rim.
After the first couple of rounds, Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks and Juan Toscano-Anderson of the Golden State Warriors advanced to the finals, two players currently combining to average less than 15 points per game this season. In their third go-round, Toscano-Anderson failed to make any of his three tries and the Dayton alum Toppin clinched the title without even really dunking it, as his shot actually left his hand and went off the backboard.
When it was (mercifully) over and Toppin accepted his trophy in front of a mostly empty FieldHouse, the hot takes were spewing on social media. The consensus was pretty much the same: This dunk contest stunk.