After word leaked on Wednesday that Victor Oladipo and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be in this year's Slam Dunk Contest, we started to wonder how they would fare against reigning dunk champion John Wall. Well, apparently we won't get to find out. J. Michael of CSN Washington is reporting John Wall will not be back to defend his title at the Slam Dunk Contest this year:
Last year's winner of the slam-dunk competition, John Wall, won't be participating at All-Star weekend next month in New York, the Wizards point guard has told CSNwashington.com.
Of course, saying that John Wall won't be back to defend his title is a bit of a misnomer, because of how John Wall won the contest last year. Yes, his dunk to win the contest was amazing. Let's relive that one more time:
But the thing was, because of how the Dunk Contest was set up last year, it was the only dunk Wall got to throw down in competition. For those of you that forgot, here's how John Wall wound up as champion last year:
The format was this: six contestants split into two teams by conference. There would be a freestyle round in which each team would have 90 seconds to do ... basically whatever they wanted. The only benefit of winning this round, which was judged by a panel, would be choice of going first or second in the battle round.
In the battle round, each East dunker competed against an individual West dunker. The loser is eliminated. The three winners move on to another battle round. The first conference to win three individual battles wins.
Except the East swept the first battle round. So there was no further competition. In the portion of the competition that actually mattered, all six contestants got to show off one dunk each. Even though John Wall finished with a fine dunk and Ben McLemore broke the unintentional comedy scale, the whole thing was disastrously anticlimactic. The TNT broadcast crew seemed confused. Twitter was horribly confused. That was not the end of the Slam Dunk Contest. But it was.
While it's sad to see that John Wall won't try to defend his crown in what will hopefully be a more legitimate format, at least he'll be able to make a unique claim. Who else can say they won a Slam Dunk Contest with a single dunk?