By now, Twitter is running wild with its jokes on how bad the 2017 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest was. 

Was it the worst dunk contest ever? No, not even close. But it also didn’t recreate the magic that got generated last year by Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine, and that’s why some are viewing it as a failure. Glenn Robinson III, the winner, and Derrick Jones Jr. didn’t string together multiple mesmerizing dunks in a see-saw fashion, but they did have their moments.

First off, Gordon looked like an entirely different athlete; like someone sapped all of his power during a take for Space Jam II. Kenny Smith alluded to the fact that Gordon was battling a foot injury, and it was definitely noticeable.

Once he came out and missed his first dunk, an attempt where the ball got released from a drone, the air got sucked out of Smoothie King Center like Russell Westbrook had just walked into the same locker room as Kevin Durant.

From that point, it would’ve taken something like Michael Jordan-Dominique, Vince Cater in 2000 or LaVine-Gordon, and we just didn’t have it.

Beyond all of the bad, which were highlighted by a bevy of missed attempts and DeAndre Jordan bringing out DJ Khaled, the two finalists put themselves in a position to get invited back to the competition, and Jones did a fantastic job considering his NBA career has lasted 24 minutes. A couple of the dunks he hammered home were 2K-esque, and I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen an NBA player jump over four guys who are all 6-5 and taller.

Yes, he pushed off. Who cares?

As for GRIII, he wholly surprised everybody with just how explosive he is, and that shock factor played a role in his victory. Highlights of what Jones had done got flaunted much more than Robinson, and Jones was considered the sleeper for that reason, but the bright lights were just a bit too bright for the undrafted rookie.

Robinson’s first dunk was an eye-catcher, and it certainly helped get the crowd on their feet and wonder, “what else can this kid do?”

If the field had been more competitive, Robinson probably wouldn’t have made it because — let’s face it — he wasn’t the best dunker on the floor Saturday night. Instead, he took advantage of all of the flubbed attempts and buried Jones Jr. on his final dunk, which he needed to score a 44 on to take home the trophy.

Now with the conclusion of a less than desirable showcase, bringing in more big names is going to be speculated, but that idea could have some major backlash. With the enlisting of superstars, the expectations get raised automatically, and having guys who are under-the-radar keeps everyone from getting over-zealous and hyping up the dunk contest to something it can’t live up to.

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