So, Julius Erving thinks mascots have ruined the NBA All-Star Weekend Slamdunk Contest.
(I don't know if that's the official name. But that's what I'm calling it).
He thinks spectacles like the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot dunking off a trampoline and the Phoenix Suns gorilla dunking off a trampoline have turned the contest into the X Games. And that, after you've seen someone in a gorilla/wolf/something-that-looks-like-Bob-Marley-with-paws dunk, seeing actual humans dunk pales in comparison.
Of course, he's right.
And what's wrong with that?
Because, listen, watching humans dunk stopped being interesting when Michael Jordan stopped doing it. Or when Spud Webb stopped doing it. Or when Dr. J himself stopped taking off from the free throw line and doing it.
Those were jaw-dropping moments. Now so many players can dunk in so many inventive ways -- they do stuff in games now that players used to do in the dunk contest -- that it's been there, seen that. Blake Griffin jumping a car is just another way of saying the dunk contest has jumped the shark. There's only so many ways you can cram an orange spheroid into an orange ring, after all. And they've all been done ten times over.
And so ... bring on the mascots!
Because, first of all, mascots are great. And, second of all, mascots are great. And, third of all, an eagle wearing a hockey jersey, a giant red ant and a goofy-looking guy wearing a tin pot on his mammoth head are infinitely more interesting than some NBA player 12 people have heard of dunking a basketball.
I mean, really. Who wouldn't want to see Icy Eagle, Johnny TinCap and the Mad Ant in a dunk-off?
Johnny would get lost on the way to the Coliseum. The Mad Ant would take the basketball away from Icy because, well, he's bigger, plus scary and red. Then Icy would go get his four-wheeler and chase the Mad Ant off the floor, thereby winning the contest by default.
You think Dr. J from the free throw line beats that?