The hype surrounding the 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest is palpable now that the list of participants has been announced.
The NBA just released the full list of dunkers slated to compete in the contest and some of the names might just surprise you.
This year’s showcase will feature six of the top active dunkers in the league, all eager to prove that they are the premier high-flyer in the NBA.
Keep reading to find out exactly who made the cut, a prediction on who will be crowned the slam-dunk champ in 2014 and more.
List of Participants
|Paul George||Indiana Pacers||Eastern Conference|
|Terrence Ross||Toronto Raptors||Eastern Conference|
|John Wall||Washington Wizards||Eastern Conference|
|Harrison Barnes||Golden State Warriors||Western Conference|
|Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||Western Conference|
|Ben McLemore||Sacramento Kings||Western Conference|
According to NBA.com, this year's contest is rather unique:
This marks the first time in 26 years that three All-Stars are competing in the Sprite Slam Dunk. In the 1988 competition in Chicago, All-Stars Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, and Dominique Wilkins squared off, with Jordan claiming the crown in front of the hometown fans.
Start Time: Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8:30 p.m. ET (Fourth event of night)
TV: Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, La.
Live Stream: TNT Overtime
Mobile: NBA Mobile
The Slam Dunk Contest will continue to be apart of the “new” All-Star Saturday Night format that the league created last year.
Instead of having the various competitions (including the Shooting Stars, Skills Challenge and Three-Point Contest) stand alone, they will be connected via a points system to crown the “All-Star Saturday Night Champion.”
Because the Slam Dunk Contest will be held last, it’s going to be crucial for players from each conference to put their best dunk forward, finish their flush and help their side’s charity generate a ton of money from State Farm, the sponsor of Saturday night’s events.
NBA.com further expanded on the rules for this year's contest:
This year's event will feature the participants competing as a team -- three players representing the Eastern Conference and three players representing the Western Conference -- in an above-the-rim two-round format. In a significant first in the event's history, the competition will tip off with a Freestyle Round where the dunkers for each conference will have 90 seconds to showcase as many dunks as they want. At the conclusion of the Freestyle Round, the panel of judges will then choose a winner by voting "East" or "West." The winning conference will earn the advantage of deciding whether its dunkers will dunk first or second in the head-to-head battles that take place in the Battle Round.
The Battle Round will feature head-to-head matchups pitting East dunkers vs. West dunkers, with the judges choosing a winner for each battle. Upon losing a head-to-head battle, that dunker is then eliminated from the competition. The first team to win three battles will win the competition and be crowned 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk champions.
Fans pick the winners by voting for the best dunks in four different ways during the competition.
1) Text: Send the player’s last name to 38657 (DUNKS)
2) Tweet: Tweet #SpriteSlam with the player’s last name
3) All-Star App: Vote via official app, available on iTunes, Google Play and NBA’s official site
4) NBA.com: Log in and vote on your computer or phone
|2013||Terrence Ross, Toronto|
|2012||Jeremy Evans, Utah|
|2011||Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers|
|2010||Nate Robinson, New York|
|2009||Nate Robinson, New York|
|2008||Dwight Howard, Orlando|
|2007||Gerald Green, Boston|
|2006||Nate Robinson, New York|
|2005||Josh Smith, Atlanta|
|2004||Fred Jones, Indiana|
|2003||Jason Richardson, Golden State|
|2002||Jason Richardson, Golden State|
|2001||Desmond Mason, Seattle|
|2000||Vince Carter, Toronto|
|1997||Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers|
|1996||Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers|
|1995||Harold Miner, Miami|
|1994||Isaiah Rider, Minnesota|
|1993||Harold Miner, Miami|
|1992||Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix|
|1991||Dee Brown, Boston|
|1990||Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta|
|1989||Kenny Walker, New York|
|1988||Michael Jordan, Chicago|
|1987||Michael Jordan, Chicago|
|1986||Spud Webb, Atlanta|
|1985||Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta|
|1984||Larry Nance, Phoenix|
Top Dunks in Slam Dunk History
Jason Richardson, Through-the-legs Reverse, 2003
J-Rich was one of the league’s most prolific dunkers in his prime and he proved that in 2003. His epic through-the-legs reverse slam would seal a victory in his second straight Dunk Contest and leave the crowd in awe.
Richardson needed 49 points to win the competition, so he decided to toss the rock up for a high bouncing alley-oop to himself from the baseline, catch it off the bounce and put it through his legs backwards before finishing behind his head.
It was one of the most impressive dunks in the long history of the competition, earning a perfect score from the judges and being forever remembered in the annals of slam dunk history.
Vince Carter, 360 Windmill Reverse and Elbow Dunk, 2000
Carter was the premier dunker of his time, pulling off some impossible feats using his athleticism, leaping ability and creativity.
While nothing will top his “le dunk de la mort” over Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics, his flushes in the 2000 Dunk Contest likely gave him the confidence to leap over a 7’2” center later that summer.
Vinsanity put himself on the map with the elbow dunk, which he finished after when floating through the air and practically defied gravity with a vertical leap that measured off the charts. The dunk was simple, but the fact that he was able to get up through his elbow into the rim and also hang there for a few moments made this one special.
VC also pulled off a crazy 360 Windmill Reverse in the same contest, emphatically throwing down the slam after taking off and spinning the wrong way. It’s one you need to see to believe.
Michael Jordan, Double Clutch from Free Throw Line, 1988
Jordan is widely regarded as the Greatest of All Time and in his youth he was definitely the greatest dunker of his era.
Is Jordan's 1988 dunk the best contest slam of all time?
He inspired a generation of future leapers with his foul line slam in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest, an iconic flush in one of the toughest and most loaded events in league history.
Watch as MJ takes off from the free throw line, takes the ball from next to his head, splits his legs out wide and finishes with authority. It’s truly a unique moment and one that will never be forgotten.
With a plethora of acrobatic and creative talent involved in the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest, it’s tough to project who will impress the world the most and be voted champion by the fans.
Paul George definitely has an advantage in the Eastern Conference, as he’s accomplished one of the dunk's of the year with this incredible 360 jam vs. the Clippers. This has been a breakout season thus far for the All-Star starter.
Harrison Barnes has a great chance of advancing to the championship round for the West, as he’s known for his incredible displays of dunk artistry by the Bay.
WINNER: Paul George