This year's Slam Dunk contest is going to be different from contests of the past. First off, all four participants are first-timers - Chase Budinger, Paul George, Jeremy Evans, and Derrick Williams. The format is also new, and it's highlighted by a voting setup fueled by social media.
That's right, Twitter will help decide the 2012 Slam Dunk champion. Unlike previous years, the competition will only have one round. Each player gets three dunks each, and they will alternate turns. Voting begins after every player has completed their first dunk.
In years prior, a panel of judges has determined who makes in to the final round and since 2008 fans have had a say in who takes home the prize through texting and voting on NBA.com. Those voting methods will remain, but they're adding the new element of Twitter:
Tune in to TNT at 8 pm (ET) to vote for the new Sprite Slam Dunk champion by tweeting the hashtag #SpriteSlam with the last name of your favorite dunker. This year, there are no judges for the contest––just fans like you who will determine the outcome by tweeting. Fans will also be able to vote via text message and on NBA.com.
The participants are already chatting it up on Twitter:
After this weekend ... I'm trying to get to 100,000 followers. Can we make that happen??
Will this Twitter integration give a boost to the All-Star weekend festivities? The NBA hopes so. The Sprite Slam Dunk contest kicks off at 8 pm EST on Saturday. Will you be watching? Let us know in the comments, and whet your appetite for slams with one of the all time classic battles: