SBD/February 24, 2012/Media

TNT Institutes New Technology To Measure Force Of Dunk In Saturday's Contest

TNT Friday announced that its coverage of the Sprite NBA Slam Dunk Contest “will carefully measure the force of balls going through the net in a dunk contest,” according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. The move came after Sprite “asked what could spice things up” with the event. TNT “turned to the MIT Media Lab, funded by a consortium of media outlets, which came up with this: so-called conductive fabric hidden in the net that measures net stretch to measure dunk force -- and present the data instantly to viewers.” Turner Sports VP/Emerging Media Peter Scott said that viewers “will see the data presented in an onscreen ‘intensity meter’ and see analogies to real-life -- like how a dunk's power compares to a ball thrown off a 10-story building” (USA TODAY, 2/24).

PAST ITS TIME? In Austin, Cedric Golden wrote the Slam Dunk Contest "used to be the highlight" of the NBA All-Star Weekend, but fans now are getting “a small number of non-All Stars showing up with little to no league credibility.” Golden: “If we can’t get the stars to compete anymore, let’s take this thing out behind the barn and put it out of our misery before someone we barely recognize gets hurt” (STATESMAN.com, 2/22). In Sacramento, Tom Couzens writes in a “star-driven league, most stars can't be bothered” to participate in the dunk contest. So if the NBA's top stars “think the slam-dunk contest is pointless, then what's the point?” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/23). The Chicago Tribune's Bob Foltman said, “None of the big names, they don’t do it anymore. I mean the dunk contest now -- you look at that lineup and it looks like witness protection. I have no idea who’s in the dunk contest now" (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 2/23). ESPN.com’s Roy S. Johnson said, “We won't see the stars until it becomes the ‘Nike Slam Dunk Competition’ and somebody puts a $10 million check on top of the backboard. It’s unfortunate. ... Some of the iconic images of the NBA are from the Slam Dunk Contest.” SportsNet N.Y.’s Brian Custer: "Too bad because these guys, you win it, if you're really good like a Blake Griffin, all of a sudden the endorsements come reigning in” (“The WheelHouse,” SportsNet N.Y., 2/22).
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