We all expected James White or Gerald Green to hoist the trophy at the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, but it was Terrence Ross that took home the honors on Saturday night after a final-round win over Jeremy Evans.
White and Green got the publicity among the East field, but Terrence Ross moved on after an remarkable display in the first round. He put in an impressive behind-the-back, twisting dunk and then managed a 49 to oust his two East counterparts—both of whom failed to complete their dunk in the second round.
The West had a doozy of a first round, as Kenneth Faried and Eric Bledsoe had stinkers in Round 1 before both posting 50s. Evans managed to emerge after a more consistent round than both, and didn't fail to disappoint during his second appearance in the final round in straight seasons.
However, Ross' two dunks (both between the legs) in the final round impressed 58 percent of the fan voters more than Evans' painting-plaster dunk and one-handed toss, and he will be the newest entrant in the 2014 version of the event.
There was some strong reaction to this year's dunk contest—mixed between good and bad. We shouldn't expect anything less with the disconnect between traditional fans of the event from the Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins days and today's new-age dunk fans.
In case you didn't get a chance to see the field, here's the six contestants (prior to the event) lined up in a row (via All-Star 2013's official Twitter account):
After Green's first dunk of the night, White got things going with the full theatrics. Skip Bayless wasn't impressed:
James White gets the Best Cast award for the Flight Crew. Dunk nothing special.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) February 17, 2013
Bill Simmons thought he was robbed (cue "Embrace Debate" for Monday morning):
A two-hander from one foot inside the foul line gets a 45?????? James White got robbed!!!!!!— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 17, 2013
In case you missed White's first dunk (that got just a 45?!?!) here it is, courtesy of Eye on Basketball:
VIDEO: James White.... well, there were flight attendants.... and... he jumped high... and uh... stuff. cbsprt.co/11NFzKj— Eye on Basketball (@EyeOnBasketball) February 17, 2013
Bill Oram was worried about Mark Eaton's safety after Evans pulled him out of the crowd for his first dunk:
If Jeremy Evans decapitates Mark Eaton they won't let him off the plane at SLC International.— Bill Oram (@tribjazz) February 17, 2013
WWE star Kofi Kingston thought Evans deserved a 50 after his Eaton-centric dunk:
They gave Jeremy Evans a 47?! That looked pretty sick to me!— Kofi Kingston (@TrueKofi) February 17, 2013
After the first round was over, Joe Goodman had an interesting idea for the remaining format:
The contest should be, Faried in the lane and whoever can dunk on him wins. If Fareid wins, he gets to punch Fall Out Boy in the face again.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) February 17, 2013
Total burnage by Charles Barkley after White was unable to get his second attempt to go down (via Alex Kennedy):
Charles Barkley on James White: "He looks tired. (laughs) Too much playing time."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 17, 2013
Tommy Beer joined in on the White jokes:
That's more FG attempts than James White has had during the first half of the regular season— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) February 17, 2013
Eric Stangel wasn't impressed at all on Saturday night:
More like Doink Contest... #NBAAllStar— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) February 17, 2013
I hope you had the sound turned on during the event, as does Frank Caliendo, who got this jab in on Barkley after a night of speaking his mind (no filter):
"Charles Barkley is really being careful about what he says." - said nobody ever#SpriteSlamDunkContest— Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) February 17, 2013
Ben Golliver had a true "LOL" moment after Ross made the final round:
terrence ross needs to dunk over rick ross and ross from friends and it's done— Ben Golliver (@blazersedge) February 17, 2013
Tom Ziller, ladies and gentleman, with a sarcastic endorsement of Evans' first dunk in the final round:
Whatever, Jeremy Evans is totally going to paint Ross' dunk tomorrow and dunk on it.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) February 17, 2013
One of the many people to question host Nick Cannon's place at the event was Zach Harper:
"Y'all want to see some amazing dunks?" - Nick Cannon. No, we were hoping for more riveting interviews.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 17, 2013
Our final two tweets of this reaction piece will be of the two best dunks in the final round. Here's the first from Evans, courtesy of The Score:
Call this "The Inception Dunk". Jeremy Evans dunks over a painting of himself dunking over a painting.twitpic.com/c4f807— The Score (@theScore) February 17, 2013
The final tweet of the night will come from Bleacher Report's own Twitter account, with Ross' final dunk over a ball boy as he flew through the air:
Congratulations to Terrence Ross, the 2013 Slam Dunk champion! Here's his final dunk- over a kid, between his legs twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 17, 2013
No matter your feeling on this year's dunk contest in Houston, one thing is for sure—everybody and their momma has an opinion.