Little known Jeremy Evans, a last-minute replacement for Iman Shumpert, was awarded the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk champion during NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Fla. Using fan voting to declare the winner, a first in the competition’s history, Evans joins an exclusive list of past winners that includes Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Nate Robinson, and Dwight Howard.
But did Evans deserve the title of “best dunker in the world?” Former champ Jason Richardson was one of several players who didn’t feel Evans was the right call. He wrote on Twitter immediately after the contest, “I guess one dunk is all u need.” He followed that with “I think Paul George or Chase Budinger should of won…. Guess all 3 million votes came from Utah lol.”
The one dunk Richardson mentioned was the one in which Evans dunked two basketballs off a lob by Utah Jazz teammate Gordon Hayward while he was seated. However, Evans had two clunkers that probably didn’t deserve more than a “7” if we’re playing by the old system. His first attempt, the eye-in-the-sky dunk, was a complete dud because he didn’t sell it.
Based on consistency, creativity and pure entertainment, the winner should have been Indiana Pacers forward Paul George. His first dunk was Vince Carter-esque, jumping over 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert and 6-foot-6 Dahntay Jones. Then he followed that with the Tron-like presentation when the lights at Amway Center were dimmed and George wore a glow-in-the-dark jersey while performing a reverse windmill. Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul tweeted: “That idea for Paul George’s dunk was one of the most creative dunks I’ve seen yet!!! #GreatIdea”
George could have sealed the deal had he properly executed the sticker dunk in the third round. He should have brought more than just two stickers. But despite the misses, when he did complete the dunk it was still better than Evans’ third-round attempt when he jumped over comedian Kevin Hart (who is like 4 feet tall).
Charles Barkley said it best. He said the NBA gave the keys to the same voting public that elected George W. Bush as president of the United States. Once again, America got it wrong. Paul George should have been crowned the 2012 slam dunk champion.