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Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Useful Proposal For The NBA All-Star Game That Could Fix Some Problems With MLB's

From the husband of a Facebook friend, Aaron Bloom, comes an interesting proposal to increase participation in the NBA's "no-star" slam dunk contest:
So here is my idea: the NBA lawyers should put a provision in the next CBA relating to the dunk contest. The NBA fans should get to vote on who appears in the dunk contest (and the actual judging of the dunks should once again be done by past dunking legends, such as Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins). If a player is selected to appear in the dunk contest, then that player must participate or a sizable chunk of his salary will disappear (and go to a worthy charity). We could use legalese and call the fine something official sounding, like the “scaredy cat” fine.

There can, and should, be an “opt out” for players who are over a certain age or who have already participated in at least three dunk contests. Such a provision would protect NBA stars who have already been good sports, as well as keeping NBA stars who are past their prime from embarrassing themselves.

There could also be a provision to protect (legitimately) injured players from being fined. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Wouldn’t the LeBrons — err, I mean, players of questionable honor — of the world just fake injuries and get away with chickening out?” For a few reasons, I think not (even if we don’t require them to bring a doctor’s note).

Something like this would be useful for, say, MLB's Home Run Derby, which always seems to have a lot of no-shows (most infamously A-Rod, who infamously refused to play in last year's ASG altogether). I don't doubt but that A-Rod would use the opt-out legitimately — he's no longer a spring chicken, and has participated in plenty of ASG's previously. But I think this proposal would do a lot to change at least the perception that the ASG is a joke.

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