Shaq's Dunk Contest Solution
I was catching up on some reading recently and flipped through the ill-fated May 2007 issue of SLAM magazine, the one which had one Dirk cover and one Shaq cover.
I was reading the Shaq Q&A, and Big had some interesting thoughts about how he'd change the Dunk Contest. I've agreed with those people who've suggested that the NBA should up the grand prize enormously (it's currently $35,000). If the winner's pot were, say, $1M, I think it would not only draw bigger-named players into the competition, but also increase the amount of fan intrigue.
Beyond just having more marquee names in the event, I think there would be a lot of buzz generated in terms of people simply wondering and discussing: "Who's going to win the $1M." It's really the tried-and-true formula for every TV game show ever: people like to watch other people compete for big sums of money.
Lang Whitaker of SLAM was talking with Shaq about whether he might stay in the league in some capacity after retirement. Here's one question from that exchange:
- SLAM: I actually figured the perfect job for you would be Commissioner of the NBA. Because you've got the business side, you've got the popularity, you've played in the League forever, all of the players respect you.
SHAQ: No, that job is too hard. I would like to be the President of All-Star Relations. For example, this is how I would make the Dunk Contest interesting: David Stern has all these sponsors, right? So, Rolls Royce would be the number one sponsor. First place would win that brand-new Phantom. Second place would be a Maybach and third place would be a convertible Benz or something like that. And then you'll get the Vince Carters and the Kobe Bryants, and then it'll be real.
There's pretty much no chance it could happen, though, both because it seems a bit too hip-hop to give away fancy cars for the NBA tastes at this moment in time, and also because it seems like there could be complications for sponsorship reasons -- I'm sure that the good people at Toyota, who are official sponsors of the league, wouldn't look too kindly on spending a lot of money on the league yet not having one of their cars represented as a prize, for example.
Oh well, it's a fun idea to think about, nonetheless, from the man who's given us nicknames like The Big Fundamental, The Truth and Flash.... Keep the ideas coming, Big.