The New NBA: Dramatic 3-Pointers More Exciting Than Flashy Slam Dunks
In 1984, the NBA implemented a highly entertaining exhibition during its all star weekend called “the slam dunk contest.” That was a popular event that originated in the ABA and soon became even more popular in their league.
In its first five years of existence in the NBA, the great Michael Jordan participated three different times, winning twice (including a classic yet controversial showdown with superstar Dominique Wilkins in 1988).
Jordan’s majestic dunks played a huge role in evolving his early reputation as a high flying offensive juggernaut, and helped Wilkins develop his “The Human Highlight Film” moniker. In 1986, the diminutive Spud Webb shocked the crowd by winning the contest at just 5’7” tall.
Over the years, many other super leapers displayed their creativity in the contest, most notably Raptors superstar Vince Carter during the iconic 2000 contest. But in recent years, the luster of the slam dunk has taken a back seat to a different basketball play:
2014–15: Signs of a Changing NBA
I never thought in my wildest dreams that the 3-point shot would become so heavily used and wildly popular the way that it has, especially during the past five to six years. As far as I remember, this current league wide obsession with 3’s began with Golden State Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry.
I had a few years in there that I wasn’t paying as much attention to the NBA the way that I had for many years previously, so I had only heard about the Warriors’ “Splash Brothers” tandem of Curry and fellow sharpshooter Klay Thompson. In my memory, it was the 2015 NBA finals between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers that officially hipped me to their unreal long distance shooting.
Curry was the league MVP for the 2014–15 season and I had never seen him play. I was definitely curious as to what all the hoopla was about this guy that I was suddenly hearing a lot about. The Warriors making the finals really caught my attention.