We've become jaded. And it's not just a little bit, we're no longer just 'getting there.' Our society, basketball twitter, we've all become as jaded as a fan of a sport can be.
On top of it all there's a hypercritical aspect to a Twitter platform that allows this type of immediate dogging. According to the social media wasteland, after several missed shots on the first rack of the three-point shootout Kyrie Irving was done. Terrence Ross struggled to connect on his first dunk attempt of the evening, so he didn't belong in Saturday night to begin with. Because nevermind the fact he was trying to go behind the back while rotating in the air before throwing a basketball down through a 10-foot hoop.
The folks sitting on their couch at home didn't approve.
I'm as guilty as anyone. Sitting in my seat in the press box, I struggled to watch at times. We've seen Michael and 'Nique, we've stared at 5-foot-7 Spud Webb cock back and throw it down, and these guys were able to do it on first attempts. Not their tenth, not on their second un-timed try because they failed to connect over the first 90+ seconds of allotted time. And since Nate Robinson once got to try, try again, we've been 'subjected' to this 'junk 'til ya dunk' approach that sucks the life out of the fact that what these athletes are attempting is nothing short of unreal.
We ask them to be inventive, to do things we've never seen before. We're not talking about a feat of athleticism with unlimited boundaries for physical capabilities. The bar can only go so high without the influence of gimmicks and theater, yet we complain they use this approach too often. But we're not really asking arguably the greatest athletes on the planet to be more athletic, are we? To jump higher? To gyrate and rotate more effortlessly?
Maybe it's just what this contest has become. How can it meet expectations, let alone surpass them, when the precedent we all revert back to isn't going to be acceptable anyway? A between-the-legs dunk just isn't going to do it anymore, unless perhaps you catch it off the bounce while spinning in the air before doing so.
And it doesn't help when the cameras pan to the players and entertainers sitting courtside, heads in hands, mockingly glaring while searching for the spotlight themselves without actually being in the contest. Hell, the stars want no part in this anymore, probably because they're afraid they'll look bad. Sure, the contestants are looking for a light of their own, but at least they're willing to put themselves on that line.
Familiarity, especially with failure, breeds contempt, and all of us cynics are becoming much more impossible to affect by the year. There are people who want the dunk contest done away with, as if it's such a hindrance in your personal life to watch it. We've gotten to a point where an event predicated around entertaining a giant fan-base for decades is being talked about like it's an inconvenience.
So that's what we've become: an angry mob spiteful over people dunking basketballs in a fashion not acceptable to you because it was such a waste of time given you weren't already going to be watching it anyway. Maybe it's time to just appreciate it for what it is, not for what it used to be and everything we want it to be. It's a spectacle of athleticism that's meant to entertain, and regardless of outcome is nothing more or less.
Just enjoy the theater of it, and maybe one day it'll take you by surprise.
Or maybe LeBron James will just dunk already.