RSSAuthor Archive for Rene Escobar

Don't cut EPA funds

Don’t cut EPA funds

By RENE ESCOBAR

Since his presidency began, President Donald Trump has signed 19 executive orders for varied reasons. One stands out to me as the destroyer of former president Barrack Obama’s legacy.

That action came March 28, when Trump signed an order to cut Environmental Protection Agency funds by one fourth. He would trim roughly 24 percent from an $8.1 billion budget.

“We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” Trump said during the signing ceremony.

Many jobs would be cut under the budget plan Trump has proposed. If Congress approves the budget, American resources will be hurt.

The EPA not only combats climate change but also helps the country protect its natural resources from harmful contamination.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with hydrologist Gregory Olsen from Tucson Water. His job is to make sure city tap water is as clean as possible for consumption.

Olsen develops ways to keep our drinking water clean. His work helps prevent disasters like the one in Flint, Michigan, where insufficient water treatment exposed residents to high levels of lead.

Although Olsen is not directly employed by the EPA, he works alongside the federal government to preserve the cleanliness of Tucson tap water. And yes, the EPA does play a role in our water treatment center.

“The EPA is like a big brother to what we’re doing at Tucson Water,” Olsen said.

The federal role is to conduct inspections every six to eight months, to make sure the city is doing its job right.

“I fear the inspectors will not show up anymore and force us to deal with a, god forbid, Flint-like problem, under-supervised and under-equipped,” Olsen said.

The EPA is not an organization where all employees are tree-huggers. They’re people who play a vital role in our society and help make modern life more livable. To remain a sustainable country, we need agencies like the EPA. 

Rene Escobar is a journalism major who has aspirations to be a voice of reason in a confused world. He is one who wants to be heard.

Rene Escobar

BASEBALL: Inconsistency plaguing Pima at end of season

BASEBALL: Inconsistency plaguing Pima at end of season

By RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team (18-28, 9-25 ACCAC) has seen better days this  season.

In their game against Paradise Valley CC, April 18, both sophomore Miguel Figueroa and head coach James Hisey were ejected after arguing with the umpires about a call.

April 8: PCC 5, AWC 11/ PCC 4, AWC 9

The Aztecs faced an early deficit at West Campus in game one of a doubleheader against Arizona Western College.

Down 6-0 after the first inning, sophomore Erick Migueles hit a leadoff two-run home run to cut the deficit. Sophomore Shawn Bracamontes later dinged another two-run home run, bringing another Aztec in.

“We just need to make adjustments,” assistant coach Ernie Durazno said of the 11-5 loss. “We’ll get them next game.”

In game two, the Aztec offense came out hot, grabbing a quick early lead, but had no answers when the Matadors brought in six runs.

Migueles tried to spark his teammates for a comeback, hitting another two-run home run. However, the Matadors continued to bring in runs and pushed the score out of reach.

April 15: PCC 3, Mesa CC 2 / PCC 3, Mesa CC 4

Sophomore Anthony Felix got the ball rolling in the first game of the series with a two-run RBI in the top of the second inning.

Migueles locked up the win with a moon-shot home run in the seventh.

Freshman Jose Contreras was on the mound for the win, going for six and one-third innings while forfeiting one earned run, off seven hits, with five strikeouts.

In the second game, it took extra innings to declare a winner.

Down 0-3, the Aztec’s rally began with Felix getting another two-run RBI, the game was tied off a wild pitch.

The Aztecs rally was shut down as the game was won off an error committed by the Aztecs in the bottom of the 11.

April 18: PCC 3, Paradise Valley CC 7 / PCC 3, Paradise Valley CC 7

After the Paradise Valley Pumas got an early lead, the Aztecs tied the game in the bottom of the first inning, but the Pumas bounced back with two home runs in the third and fourth.

Freshman Austin Treadwell attempted  a rally, but was halted by the Pumas. Figueroa took the loss, only pitching two and one-third innings. He had one strikeout and a walk.

The second game started with the Aztecs getting an early lead, but the game ultimately fell to the same score as game one.

Sophomore Andres Hackman took the loss, giving up five runs on four hits, with four strike outs and three walks.

ATHLETIC VOICE: Raise NBA age limit

ATHLETIC VOICE: Raise NBA age limit

By RENE ESCOBAR

As the men’s college basketball season ends, work for the players is just beginning. The dreams for these athletes is starting to become a reality.

The National Basketball Association has begun sending invitations to the nation’s top prospects to attend the combine where scouts, coaches, and general managers find their next franchise player.

Most of the athletes are under the age of 21, and some are as young as 18. Should a player who is not old enough to buy alcohol be able to become a professional athlete?

I understand the lure of fulfilling a lifelong dream to play in the NBA while making millions of dollars.

However, key factors must be taken into consideration.

The NBA is giving multi-million dollar contracts to teenagers Last year, No. 1 pick Ben Simmons signed a contract that guarantees him $3.9 million at age 19.

Although Simmons has not made headlines for the wrong reasons, a lot of players fall prey to the root of all evil, money.

It can over take a career, especially at an early age. Fame and fortune brings distractions and for a professional athlete, that is a career killer.

There’s another reason why the NBA should raise the age limit. Most young players are simply not ready for professional ball.

Of the 60 picks in the NBA draft, 15 prospects on average are one-and-done collegiate players.

Of those 15 players, about three will become NBA starters. The rest will be cut or play overseas.

Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, provides a clear example of a player who was not ready for the pros. Bennett bounced around in the NBA and is now playing in Turkey.

The one-and-done college trend also hurts the athletes who receive full-ride scholarships. They are throwing away an education that other kids would kill for.

When players leave school early, they lose a tool that will last forever. Football, baseball and basketball does not last forever. What’s going to happen to athletes who get injured or become a bust? There’s nothing to fall back on.

An education for an athlete should be more important than a draft pick.

An education can provide stability for when sport is over.

 

 

 

OPINION: Drug cartel will always find a way

OPINION: Drug cartel will always find a way

Who or what can stop the drug flow into our country? President Donald Trump? Border Patrol agents? A wall? The answer is simple: nothing.

Trump has vowed to “destroy criminal cartels.” How is he going to accomplish such a feat? Hell, I don’t even know how any country can.

Cartels are an intricate and complex infrastructure with multiple leaders supervising numerous aspects of their trade.

A basic business plan for any cartel is  drugs go in, money and guns come out. At the peak of his reign, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was worth $3 billion and made $8 million per day, according to forbes.com. Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel supplied 25 percent of all illegal drugs in the United States.

Trump wants to dismantle a multi-billion-dollar industry, but how? A border fence is useless and upping the number of Border Patrol agents won’t work either. The drug flow cannot be stopped when the Border Patrol is getting tricked into al lowing drugs to flow through checkpoints.

I met a man from Nogales, Arizona, who once packed for an associate of the cartel.  He knows first-hand how cartels get drugs into the U.S. Using a tactic called “pick and roll,” the cartel recruits some poor person from the

street and offers $100. Cartel members fill a van with unconcealed marijuana and tell the driver to cross the border.

While the Border Patrol is unloading  100 kilos of cheap, renewable marijuana and celebrating the “biggest bust of the century,” the cartels are driving by in four more vans filled with meth, heroin and cocaine. Will a war on drugs work? Not likely. Just ask former Mexican President Felipe Caldron.

Caldron sent 6,500 soldiers to Michoacán in 2011. The action didn’t end cartels. Instead, 1,400 soldiers, cartel members and civilians died in April alone, according to PBS.

Trump wants to expand the border wall. That may slow the drug flow, but it won’t stop it. Cartels use a variety of inventive ways to get drugs into the U.S., including ramps, underground tunnels and catapults.

No matter what anyone does, they can’t stop cartels. As long as there’s money to be  made, there will always be drug trafficking.

Rene Escobar is a journalism major. This is his first semester at the Aztec Press and  his fourth semester at Pima.

Rene Escobar

BASEBALL: Baseball struggles to find constant wins

BASEBALL: Baseball struggles to find constant wins

 By RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team (17-23, 8-20 AC CAC) has ridden an up and down wave as they split twice and lost twice in a row

March 25: PCC 10, South Mountain 9/ PCC 8, South Mountain 9

The Aztecs won in extra innings in a high-drama match up at South Mountain.

Freshman Jesus Solis drew a lead-off walk at the top of the 10 inning, and  fellow freshman Marcus Mendez reached base on an error to bring Solis home for a run.

Sophomore Manny Ramirez hit  a two-run home run to tie game one at 2-2 in the fourth. After South Mountain  regained the lead, sophomore Anthony Felix tied the game again in the fifth with a two-run RBI double.

Sophomore Miguel Figueroa  hit a solo home run to put the Aztec at 7-4 in the sixth inning. In game two, the  Aztecs surrendered a 7-3 lead as South Mountain came back in the seventh innings to steal the win.

The Cougars matched Pima’s lone run, then scraped ahead to a  3-1 lead in the second. In the fourth inning sophomore Oscar Larranaga brought four runs in with a grand slam.

March 28: PCC 0, Eastern Arizona, 8/ PCC, 3 Eastern Arizona 2

Pima split a doubleheader against Eastern Arizona.

Disappointment was evident throughout game one as the Aztecs managed only three hits.

Figueroa took the loss. He pitched four innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits,  with one strikeout.

Game two was a defensive stalemate until the bottom of the ninth. Freshman Martin Garcia came up big with a  walk-off single to win the game.

Earlier in the game, Migueles opened the game with an RBI  double.

April 1: PCC 2, Cochise College 3/ PCC 3, Cochise College 5

Aztec rallies were cut short on the road at Cochise.

Trailing in the sixth inning of game one, the Aztecs cut into the lead, but fell short of the win. Sophomore Trevelle Hill took the loss after five innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, with two strikeouts.

Sophomore Anthony Felix grounded out to end the rally and the game. Freshman Greg O’Brien took the loss tossing four and one-third innings, giving up three runs with seven strikeouts.

April 4: PCC 6, Central Arizona 7/ PCC 6, Central Arizona 7

After starting game one in a tight 2-2 battle by fifth inning, Pima was able to take the lead by one until Central Arizona scored five runs in the top of the six to make the score 7-3.

Their rally fizzled out in the seventh inning when bases were loaded with one out and an Aztec was struck out.

Figuero took the loss, he pitched five and two-thirds innings giving up six runs, two strikeouts and five walks.

Game two had the Aztecs down 5-0, until the fifth and sixth innings when the lead was cut to 7-4. After drawing three straight  walks in the eighth Figueroa hit a two-run RBI single.

Rene Escobar/Aztec Press Freshman Martin Garcia eyes pitch during game against Eastern Arizona on March. 28 at West Campus field.

Freshman Jose Contreras took the loss as he pitched three innings, giving up three runs, one strikeout and two walks.

ON DECK

April 8: at Arizona Western College, Yuma, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 15: at Mesa, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 18: vs. Paradise Valley, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

BASEBALL: Aztecs continue fire and ice trend

BASEBALL: Aztecs continue fire and ice trend

By: Rene Escobar

The Pima Community College baseball team (15-17, 6-14 conference) has shown a fire-and-ice trend as the team starts out hot but cools off as the game wears on.

“It’s a long season,” sophomore catcher Shawn Bracamontes said. “We’ll figure it out.”

March 4: PCC 8, Glendale 9/ PCC 2 Glendale CC 6

The Aztecs dropped their fourth straight game in a nail biter.

Sophomore Anthony Felix hit a two-run double to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the third.

Sophomore Manny Ramirez gave the Aztecs a short-lived lead in the fourth inning after he hit an RBI single.

The Aztecs fought back in the seventh inning to tie the game once more. Sophomore Oscar Larranaga hit an RBI double that scored pinch runner Jared Kromminga.

Heading into the top of the 11th inning, the game was knotted at 8 to 8.

The Aztecs still had a shot heading into the bottom of the inning. However they left the tying run on third base in the bottom of the 11th inning.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Aztecs came out firing but lost momentum as the game played on.

March 7: PCC 2, GateWay 6/ PCC 1, GateWay 3

The first game was an offensive nightmare for the Aztecs, who scored two on four hits for the entire game.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the offensive struggles continued as the Aztecs managed one run on two hits. Aztec batters draw eight walks for the game.

March 11: PCC 2, Yavapai 4/ PCC 8, Yavapai 3

The Aztecs ended a sevengame free fall with a split in Prescott. Pima lost the first game of the doubleheader but won the second.

In game one, the Aztecs trailed early and were down by three in the third inning. They fought back in later innings but failed to take the lead, and managed just three hits for the game.

One swing broke the losing streak in game two.

With Pima trailing by two in the third, sophomore Erick Migueles hit a three-run homerun to spark his teammates.

“We needed it,” Echols said.

The Aztecs rode the energy given off by the homerun to add on another three runs in the fifth.

March 14: PCC 9, Monroe 2/ PCC 3, Monroe 7

The Aztecs drew first blood in the first inning, scoring three runs. They poured it on in the fourth to secure the lead for good.

The Aztecs drop the second game in a poor offensive performance, leaving 10 runners on base.

March 15: PCC 7, Mesa 3 The Aztecs took down No. 5

Mesa Community College in a makeup game from a rained-out exhibition on Feb. 18.

March 17: PCC 4, Madison 2

The Aztecs’ win streak continued as they defeated Madison at West Campus.

The team was down by two in the bottom of the sixth, but Migueles changed the complexion of the game with a triple to take the lead.

March 21: PCC 2, Scottsdale CC 6/ PCC 8, Scottsdale CC 4

The Artichokes took command in game one as they quickly amassed a 3-0 lead and widened it with three runs in the fifth.

Sophomore Miguel Figueroa took the loss, giving up six runs on seven hits, nine strike outs and two walks.

In game two, the Aztecs rallied to earn a split when Ramierz helped score three runs in the first inning and four more in the fourth.

Freshman Jose Contreras picked up the win giving up only four runs off seven hits, six strikeouts and two walks.

Photo by Rene Escobar

Redshirt freshman Austin Treadwell takes a pitch at West Campus against El Paso Community College

ATHLETIC VOICE: Tucson: Bye-bye baseball

ATHLETIC VOICE: Tucson: Bye-bye baseball

By RENE ESCOBAR

Baseball has not been played in Tucson since April of 2012 the last baseball club to call Tucson home were the Tucson Padres, Triple-A affiliate for Major League Baseball club San Diego Padres.

But will Kino Stadium remain empty through the baseball season? Not for long I say.

Tucson has always had a love affair with baseball from the Sidewinders to the Padres, so Tucsonans say.

But low attendance plagued the Padres throughout their 3 seasons at Kino Sports Stadium. According to Baseballrefrences.com the Padres attendance record for the 2013 season was only 4000 people the stadium holds 11,500 people.

The padres were a decent team there last year in Tucson (2013) they were Division Champions with a 77-67 record and playing for a Triple-A championship. Yet had little support from the people of Tucson.

MLB also gave Tucson Baseball fans a gut punch by pulling The Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Colorado Rockies and relocating them to Phoenix.

Due to logistic problems stating that the drive to Phoenix from Tucson was too long they want to be in the same general area.

These players and coaches don’t have an hour and a half bus ride segment in their multi-hundred million dollar contracts so they just moved to a city where they can walk to the stadiums. While leaving a city, who loves them behind with nothing but a newly renovated stadium.

None the less a baseball affiliate could see Tucson as legitimate location for their team with Major League Soccer preseason here and American Hockey League showcasing that Tucson has a love for sports.

Also, Tucson seems to be growing more and more companies are putting money into the economy making Tucson more likeable.

And when thinking about it what baseball club doesn’t want a newly renovated barley used stadium for their location of play.

To all baseball fans keep your heads high and keep the hope alive that one day we will have Tucson baseball alive again.

 

Desert Vista library re-opens

Desert Vista library re-opens

 

Nicholas Trujillo/Aztec Press Students work on assignments at the renovated library’s new Centers for Individualized Learning compartments.

By RENE ESCOBAR 

Pima Community College’s Desert Vista library has reopened after being closed 14 months for renovation. The college used federal Title V grant funds to pay for the $1 million project.

The renovated library exhibits a modern look with glass walls and open floor space. It features all-new furnishings, computers and outlet stations.

The library also gained areas called Centers for Individualized Learning, which are single seats where a student can work on assignments.

“I love the spacing for students,” retiring librarian Tony Arroyo said. “We are the smallest library of all five campuses, but since the remodel we do not have that many volumes of books.”

The renovation shrunk the amount of space used to display books, because of internet access reducing the need for print publications.

“We had to withdraw a lot of books,” Arroyo said. “Ninety-nine percent of our journals are now online rather than in hard copy.”

The redesign made space for conference rooms and student work areas. The conference rooms are compact but hold a table, seats and white boards.

Assistant librarian Anne Thames-Real said the renovation emphasized technology.

“It’s integrating to tech,” she said.

Students like the more technological and modern vibe.

“It’s a cool environment,” Ivan Medina said.

Fellow student John Rowe said, “I like it, it’s welcoming.”

Faculty members also praised the renovations.

“Beautiful, spacious area,” instructor Elizabeth Gooden said.

BASEBALL: Aztecs move above .500 for the season

BASEBALL: Aztecs move above .500 for the season

By RENE ESCOBAR

As the Pima Community College baseball team digs through the opening season schedule they face a 0.028 lower batting average than last year.

The Aztecs have 37 more games till their post season, after the Chandler-Gilbert game.

Sophomore Taylor Ferdinand throws a pitch against Phoenix College under the Kino Sports Complex lights.
Rene Escobar / Aztec Press

Feb. 18: PCC 5, Mesa 8

Manny Ramirez home runs as the Aztecs fall to No. 6 Mesa on Feb.18 at West Campus. In the first game, but weather permitted the second from being played and will be made up for a later date.

The Aztecs trailed 5-2 after the top of the third they cut into the deficit after a two-run RBI duble by Sophomore Erick Migueles. But could not capitalize with a runner on second with zero outs.

Feb. 21: PCC 0, Phoenix College 1 / PCC 2, Phoenix College 8

In the first double header of conference play, the Aztecs were swept by Phoenix at Kino Sports Complex.

Migueles started the Aztecs off strong in the second game of the double header with a solo home run.

Kino Sports Complex was the sight of the Tuesday night game “It’s awesome, great experience for the kids.” Assistant coach Ernie Durazo said.

Migueles finished the second game two for five along with a RBI and one scored run.

Sophomore Taylor Ferdinand had a dismal second game giving up five total runs, two of them earned he only pitched three and two thirds innings before being pulled.

He was replaced with sophomore Ernesto Romero, who allowed one earned run.

Feb. 24: PCC 7, Vancouver Island 0 / PCC 7, Vancouver Island 3

Aztecs get back on track posting back-to-back lucky sevens sweeping Vancouver Island University at West Campus.

Pitchers Jonathan Deeble and Andres Hackman combine for a shutout during the first game of the double header against Vancouver.

Migueles got the Aztecs on the board first in the first game with a RBI single. He would finish one for two at the plate.

In the second game the Aztecs were trailing by the third.

An offensive explosion rallied the team to the lead with a five run in the fourth inning to secure the win for the Aztecs.

Feb. 25: PCC 3, Paradise Valley 5 / PCC 3, Paradise Valley 1

Both games were tight contests as the Aztecs saw freshman pitcher Jose Contreras toss five strikeouts in a 3-1 win over Paradise Valley.

Freshman Isaac Lopez continued the pitching dominance earning the save with one strikeout.

In the first game the Aztecs cut the into the lead in the fourth inning, making the score 3-2. But Paradise Valley halted the come back by scoring two runs.

In the second game the Aztecs provided just enough offense to take the lead and pitching kept the lead for the Aztecs.

Sophomore Oscar Larranaga finished the second game with two RBIs going two for four at the plate.

Freshman Marcus Mendez went two for three at the plate with two runs scored.

Migueles finished the game one for four with an RBI along with a solo home run.

Freshman Gage O’Brien pitched for two innings with two strike outs and three walks.


ON DECK

March 4: Glendale CC, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 7: GateWay CC, Kino Memorial Stadium, doubleheader, 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m. March 11: at Yavapai College, Prescott, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 14: Monroe CC, Kino Memorial Stadium, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 17: Madison Area Technical College, West Campus, noon

March 21: at Scottsdale CC, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 23: Mexico, Kino Memorial Stadium, 11 a.m.

BASEBALL: Aztecs go even in four-game series

BASEBALL: Aztecs go even in four-game series

By: RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team trounced its way into the season, picking up three straight wins against the University of Arizona Club team.

 

Feb. 3: PCC 2, El Paso 5 /

PCC 14, El Paso 8

In the first game, the Aztecs scored their only two runs in the second inning.

“It’s one game,” assistant coach Britt Echols said. “We have another coming up. We’ll get it next game.”

The Aztecs trailed El Paso 8-1 in the bottom of the third. They scored in three consecutive innings to tie the game, then sealed it with runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

 

Feb. 4: PCC 0, El Paso 3 /

PCC 5, El Paso 0

On the second day, El Paso shut out the Aztecs. Four errors, mixed with four hits throughout the game doomed PCC.

After the dismal loss, PCC answered back with a shutout of their own. The Aztecs brought in two runs in the first inning, two more runs in the third and one more in the fifth.

 

Feb. 11: PCC 3, Scottsdale 2 /

PCC 3, Scottsdale 2

The conference opener saw sophomore Manny Ramirez hit a walk off to steal the win.

The Aztecs first scored off an error to go up 1-0.

Scottsdale answered back with a two-run home run. Freshman Martin Garcia and sophomore Oscar Larranaga hit back-to-back singles leading up to Ramirez’s theft. Down 2-1 in the ninth, the Aztecs capitalized on a wild pitch to finish their two-game series.

 

Feb. 14: PCC 2, GateWay 5/

PCC 4, GateWay 5

The Aztecs’ traveled to Phoenix for their first season road game on Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day was not sweet as the Aztecs were swept in a doubleheader against GateWay

In the first game, they mustered two runs, scoring in the first inning. In the second, they went up 4-0 in the first inning but their on-fire offense was smothered, as they were unable to score again in a 5-4 loss.


ON DECK

Feb. 18: Mesa CC, West Campus, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 21: Phoenix College, Kino Memorial Stadium, 4p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: White Rock Tritons (Canada), West Campus, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 28: Chandler-Gilbert CC, Kino Memorial stadium, 4 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

 

Pima Community College player Martin Garcia awaits a pitch from El Paso in the third game on Feb. 4. The Aztecs lost the game by three runs.
Rene Escobarb/Aztec Press

Which pro dunk was best?

Which pro dunk was best?

Rene Escobar

By RENE ESCOBAR

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest, one of the greatest athletic competitions, will feature the best dunkers the league has to offer on Feb. 18 in New Orleans.

The dunk contest has showcased some of the most spectacular feats in sports, but which was the greatest ever?

We’re not talking one dunk but competition as a whole, from final contestants to star power.

Some defining moments will not be included in this debate. They include:

  • 2009, when the little man, 5-foot-9-inch Nate Robinson, jumped over 6-foot-11-inch Dwight Howard.
  • 2011’s car jump by Blake Griffin.
  • Michael Jordan’s dunk from the free throw line in 1988.
  • The no-look dunk by Dee Brown in 1991.

Only two contests come to mind: the ones in 2000 and 2016.

2000 featured the two best dunkers the NBA had to offer, cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. They dueled it out with flashy awe-inspiring dunks.

Carter assisted McGrady with a bounce into a windmill dunk.

Carter answered back with the game-changing dunk, his famous arm-through-the-hoop dunk that scored a perfect 50.

2000 propelled Carter to stardom. The dunks he displayed helped advance his reputation, and he’s now acknowledged as the greatest dunker in NBA history.

The 2000 contest made the NBA’s All-Star Weekend a must-watch, something that Jordan and Dominique Wilkins could not accomplish in 1987.

Last year’s contest featured a finals duel for the ages, showcasing Zach LaVine and the University of Arizona’s own Aaron Gordon.

The two traded perfect scores like heavyweight boxers trading haymakers.

Gordon rocked the rim with a middle-of-the-air sitting dunk over a mascot. LaVine shot back with a windmill from the free throw line.

LaVine made the deciding shot with a through-the-legs dunk.

The 2016 contest gets my vote for the best of all time. It did not have the star power of 2000, but the finale came down to one dunk. Drama was present, and the participants displayed amazing creativity.

This year’s contest has potential to become one of the greatest ever.

New names have lots to live up to, and must make the most of their opportunities to prove themselves in the Crescent City.

Which Slam Dunk Contest gets your vote for best ever? Comment down below!