Why the NBA needs to get rid of the dunk contest

Aaron Gordon put on an absolute show Saturday night.

Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

We’re all still buzzing about the fantastic show Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on display Saturday night. They pulled off dunks that defied description and at some points gravity.

But for all the hype their performances generated the NBA needs to do away with the contest for the sake of the players. Stick with me here.

It’s getting tougher and tougher for players to impress the fans and judges during these contests. Contestants are using props, teammates and even mascots to up the ante.

But as they continue to raise the bar, the probability for injury also increases.

Take for example Gordon’s phenomenal "sit-down" dunk that amazed virtually everyone. The Magic forward was in the seated position some 10 feet in the air while leaping over a mascot.

Jaw- dropping, yes. But what if he doesn’t get his feet down fast enough? What happens if he lands awkwardly and blows out his knee?

Take another look.

LaVine also risked injury Saturday night. This between the legs reverse dunk brought the house down but look at the way he lands. He puts a ton of torque on his back.

Yes, these guys are young so they should be fine. They won’t feel a thing, right? But why risk it?

Remember Blake Griffin’s dunk over a car a few years ago? What if his foot hits the lip of the wheel well? Take a look how close he gets to hitting the car.

Players feel they need to do these risky dunks because we’ve seen it all before. We’ve seen MJ take off from the free-throw line — so LaVine has to do it while catching an alley-oop.

I love watching these contests. It’s way more thrilling — when the contestants pull off something special –€“ than the All-Star Game itself. But when does enough become enough?

Now Paul George’s gruesome injury occurred in a Team USA scrimmage, so the comparison is more apples to oranges. But when these players take off from the free-throw line or leap over mascots, they’re moving at the same speed and using the same force they do in games.

Don’t worry fans, the dunk contest isn’t really going anywhere. The only time the league would think of doing anything drastic is if a player gets seriously hurt. And we all hope it never gets to that point.