To start, before I hear it again from all the Gerald Groupies that I'm a hater - I'm excited that Gerald is in the contest and hope he wins. However, I can't help but think back to Tony's injury and all the criticism he received both on this blog and in the national media for blowing out his knee on a meaningless dunk and contrast that criticism against Gerald's participation in the dunk contest.
I was really depressed about Tony's injury, he was playing well beyond my expectations. It was just terrible for Tony to get hurt on a play that did not matter. However, the play where he was injured was typical Tony - aggressive. If I'm going to cheer for his aggressiveness on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, I have a hard time then faulting Tony for taking two extra steps, likely in his mind finishing the play, and going for that dunk. Was it unnecessary? Absolutely. But I can't fault Tony there. It was a freak accident - stuff happens, unforunately bad stuff happens.
The day after the injury, I read comments here that Tony was dumb, foolish, a showboater. The video of his injury was mockingly posted all over the web, usually with some kind of snarky, smart ass comment about Tony deserving it for showing off. It was shocking, actually the level of criticism Tony received. I think all of that criticism was absurd and unfounded.
And now here we are, Gerald is on his way to Vegas to participate in the Dunk Contest. The sole purpose of his trip is specifically to show off. His physical gifts are tremendous, and are absolutely worthy of a night on the national NBA stage. However, its a relatively meaningless exhibition, the dunk contest long ago lost its luster and significance. The last two years have been a complete embarrasement with Nate's 14 attempts and It's Time for the Birdman to Fly .
Given how quickly Tony's season was snuffed out with a single one legged bad landing, its not too far-fetched to imagine an unfortunate scenario where Gerald could get hurt in the contest. The risks to Gerald are the same - if anything the risks are raised in the dunk contest given the increased level of difficulty. So where are all the critics harping about meaningless dunks and potential injury? It would be horrible and catastrophic if Gerald were hurt. However, the contrast between the excitement with Gerald's dunk contest invite versus the criticism of Tony's dunk is absolutely ridiculous, and unfair to Tony.Â Â
Â Get us a W Gerald.