The easiest thing to understand about the NBA's revamped Slam Dunk Contest is that it only took John Wall one impressive dunk to win it, sort of.
The 23-year-old Washington Wizards point guard was voted "dunker of the night" by fans after throwing down an impressive two-handed, double-clutch reverse jam. Adding to the degree of difficultly in the dunk, Wall grabbed the ball from his team's mascot as he leaped over him in the paint.
The convoluted 2014 edition of the contest was broken into two segments and reframed as a competition between conferences. Wall joined Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors in representing the East while Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors, Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers dunked for the West. In the third pairing of the one-on-one battle round, judges Magic Johnson, Dr. J and Dominique Wilkins determined that Wall's dunk was more impressive than a previous slam by McLemore. This determination gave the East a sweep of the one-on-one battle segment. A win in the battle round coupled with a win in the earlier freestyle portion, gave the East the overall victory. After the three East players shared their moment of triumph, Wall learned that he had been singled out as the "dunker of the night."
The basics of the team format were grasped by most watching from home but the necessity for them eluded just about everyone it seemed. The freestyle section contained several impressive dunks but they were obscured by the running action. In another quirk of the format, the battle round lasted only six dunks as the East swept the one-on-one matchups. Whether it was the lack of dunks or the imposed complexity, many fans did not approve of the system.