Each 2013 NBA Dunk Contest Participant's Ultimate Highlight Reel
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It's almost that time, boys and girls. It's almost time for the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Of course, the key word there is “almost.” We've still got days to wait until the dunk contest kicks off (Saturday, Feb. 16) and we get to see some real dunking goodness. And that's far too long to go without seeing some slams.
Good news: Each of the dunk contest participants have some pretty nice highlight reels. It's no dunk contest, but it'll just have to do for now.
All stats are accurate as of Feb. 10, 2013.
Hoo boy. That's called dunking.
James “Flight” White's relative anonymity is one of the biggest travesties in the league today.
With the exception of maybe Gerald Green, no one in the league can fly quite the same way that White can. I mean, just look at this dunk. Are you kidding me? How is that even possible?
You could go on and on about his hang time or the way that his head always reaches or surpasses rim level, but the most impressive thing about White's dunks is their flair.
Throughout NBA history, there have been guys who could get up as high as White does—not many, but some. But few people know what to do with the ball when they're that high. Not White. He'll double-clutch, windmill, go between the legs...whatever it is, he'll make it exciting.
White's already gone on record saying that he's not going to use props (h/t Al Iannazzone, Newsday). That may hurt his standing in the actual dunk contest, but for dunking purists, it's a dream come true.
And while some may wonder what White has left athletically now that he's 30 years old, never question a man who can do this.
Thankfully, we'll get to see Ross dunk for years to come.
Terrence Ross is a rookie. He's played exactly 821 minutes in the league. But somehow, Ross has already built a reputation as one of the game's best dunkers. That ought to tell you something.
It's going to be really interesting to see what Ross does in the dunk contest because—and maybe this is just a personal thing—most of Ross' best dunks are when he has to go up and get the ball.
Obviously, Ross is a great dunker off of the dribble as well, but it seems like he really shines off of alley-oops and particularly off of tip-slams. I mean, that putback over J.J. Redick...my goodness.
Another thing Ross really has going for him is his power. It's not often that you see a guard throw it down as hard as he can. The most satisfying dunks always make that distinctive “thump” sound, and Ross has become one of the best in the league at delivering that.
(Side note: When did the Toronto Raptors become such an athletic team? Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay...they've got some serious athletes up north.)
Hopefully Bledsoe won't always be a backup.
Most people know Eric Bledsoe as the great backup point guard trapped behind Chris Paul, but come All-Star Weekend, people will start to know him as what he really is—a freak athlete.
Bledsoe is in that rare LeBron James-Russell Westbrook-Blake Griffin group of athletes. He's one of the few guys in the league who could have virtually no basketball skill at all and still stick around in the NBA as some kind of off-the-bench defensive specialist. He's an athletic terror.
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan get all of the attention, but in reality, the Los Angeles Clippers have three of the best dunkers in the league—Griffin, Jordan and Bledsoe. Bledsoe genuinely deserves to be put in that same category, even if he's "listed" at 6'1''.
The highlight reel at the top isn't all dunks (Bledsoe just doesn't get the minutes to compile a really good dunk mix), so for those of you who just want to see the slams, here's a quick dunks-only video.
Honestly, I'd recommend watching this one on mute.
Jeremy Evans was last year's dunk contest champion, but he's really going to have to bring it this time if he wants to defend his crown.
Evans doesn't see too many minutes in Utah, but whenever he does get into the game, he tends to make his presence felt. Emphatically so.
The thing about Evans is that he's almost like Kevin Durant in terms of build. He's not too big of a guy, but he's got such long arms that he can do all kinds of crazy, outside-the-box dunks.
He may have won last time, but hopefully Evans mixes it up a bit this year. The dunk contest has become a “who can use more props” contest, and it's just not as fun as it could be.
Evans is a legitimately great dunker, and it'd be great to see him show some creativity without all of the extras.
Faried is just too fun.
Let's just say that there's a reason they call Kenneth Faried the "Manimal.” The man is a beast.
Like everyone else on this list, Faried is a great athlete. But more than that, Faried is just fun. You know how sometimes you can just tell that a player's mailing it in? You would never, ever think that about Kenneth Faried. He goes 100 percent at all times.
The Denver Nuggets could be up or down 30, and you'd still see Faried scrapping for rebounds and diving for loose balls. That kind of stuff is just fun to watch.
Oh yeah, and I guess all of the dunking that he does is pretty fun too.
Here's a not-so-bold prediction for Faried's performance in the dunk contest: Andre Miller will make an appearance at some point. Miller is one of the best lob passers in the league, and if he and Faried haven't been working up some kind of ridiculous alley-oop, then we've got a problem.
Gerald Green can fly.
(Note: This video contains language that some may find offensive.)
Gerald Green is probably the one guy in the league who can match James White when it comes to flat-out soaring.
Green—drafted 18th overall by the Boston Celtics in 2005—hasn't lived up to his basketball potential yet, but he's more than lived up to his potential as a dunker. He's one of the greats.
One of the best, and more recent Green slams, is one that he delivered against the Utah Jazz a few months back.
Green takes off, seems to wait in midair as a Jazz player blows by him and then proceeds to finish his dunk. People throw around words like "hang time" a lot, but it's different when you actually see it. Green literally just seems to hang there for a second. It's unreal.
Another reason that clip is so great—eternal speculation over exactly what the announcer thinks is “a good one to rent.”