Hickman: How to fix the NBA's All-Star weekend, without really trying

The NBA's All-Star festivities will be making their way to New Orleans next February. So, I thought this might be a good time to review how the weekend went in Houston this year, and what can be done to improve the product the league trotted out there this year. In my estimation, the only Real things wrong with today's version of the weekend is the slam dunk competition. After this past session, it could be called the slam MISS competition. Tedious, cumbersome, and zero star power.

I think back to 1988 when Michael Jordan won the competition over Dominique Wilkins at the old Chicago Stadium.  I know, for a fact, that Wilkins was dead serious about winning the thing.  You should have seen his face after losing a contest he probably would have, and SHOULD have, won...anywhere but in Chicago. And, anyone who knows Jordan knows he hates to lose a game of tic tac toe, let alone a competition of this magnitude, in his own back yard, no less. The competition had juice, originality, energy, and most of all, star power.

Not that stars ALWAYS win the thing, but there used to at least be entertainment value. The diminutive Spud Webb beating all the giants in Dallas back in 1986. Boston's Dee Brown 'pumping up' the Reeboks before winning in 1991. One year later, Cedric Ceballos with the 'blindfold' dunk. Creativity trumped star power in those rare instances.

But, coming into 2014, everything has become mundane. Blake Griffin jumping over a car...ahhh. Dwight Howard with the sticker on the back board...ahhh again. All the props have been tried, and most have failed to wow.

So, back to my question:  what to do to fix it. The answer is...NOTHING. In fact, let's go backwards in time and 'MANDATE' the stars of the game, barring injury, participate in the dunk competition. I don't want to see the Fred Jones, or Gerald Greens, or Nate Robinsons...former champions, and good ones at that, dunking off with guys we don't know and don't want to see.

Yes, Lebron, I am talking to you. Kevin Durant? You too. Get in there and dunk, for crying out loud! Simplify the scoring rules to what they used to be, and let's see some All-Stars doing something Saturday night we haven't seen many do since Kobe Bryant in 1997. Show up at the competition to do something other than cheer and show off new designer frames.