The 2013 Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend promises to be one of the more thrilling events in years.
There are a number of high-flying superstars participating, and there’s a great chance we'll witness some never-before-seen jams by the time the competition wraps up.
Let’s take a look at who we think will win it all, plus our picks for the runner-up and third-place dunker.
Third Place: James White
Despite the fact that this New York Knicks journeyman is on the wrong side of 30 years old, White had the audacity to guarantee victory in the dunk contest.
While his gutsy gamble may have helped him get selected to the competition, we feel the aging forward isn’t going to have the same athletic gifts that made him a highlight-reel sensation since he was in high school.
However, White is still a better and more proven dunker than Kenneth Faried and Terrence Ross (two in-game dunkers) and even last year’s champion Jeremy Evans. For these reasons alone, we’ll slot him in for third place in the 2013 Slam Dunk contest.
Runner-Up: Eric Bledsoe
Fans and judges love watching and rooting for the smaller players in this event. Whether it’s crowning Spud Webb the champ back in 1986 or voting Nate Robinson a three-time winner, it’s clear that that the less height and more hops a participant has, the better chance he has of winning.
At 6’1”, Bledsoe is far and away the smallest competitor in the 2013 contest. NBA history buffs will point out that even if Bledsoe’s dunk isn’t technically that impressive, it will still appear impressive to the audience—the most important aspect of winning this thing.
Unless the Los Angeles Clippers guard simply can’t finish a dunk, we have him waltzing to the finals to challenge this next swingman.
Champion: Gerald Green
Green is a veteran dunker who has absolutely stunned the crowd in his previous appearances in this event. While he’s fallen out of favor in the Indiana Pacers rotation, that will not matter come Feb. 16, when the Slam Dunk contest takes place.
At 6’8” and 210 lbs., the 27-year-old possesses a perfect frame, out-of-this-world athleticism and the creative juices needed to impress after practically everything has been done over the course of countless dunking competitions.
It’ll be extremely interesting to see what he comes up with, but judging by his windmill over the table and Dee Brown tribute slam back in 2007, plus the “birthday cake” theatrics in 2008, we think Green will come up with something mind-blowing after a five-year hiatus.