As another Slam Dunk Contest approaches, we anticipate some lesser know players making a name for themselves.
The first Slam Dunk Contest took place in 1976 at the ABA All-Star Game. Julius Erving took off from the free-throw line and altered basketball history forever.
As the ABA and NBA merged, the Slam Dunk Contest disappeared, but in 1984 the contest was added to the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Some of the greatest stars in the NBA have electrified fans with mindbending dunks in the contest. In 1987 and 1988, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins squared off in a couple of epic slam dunk duels.
The 2000 Slam Dunk Contest saw Vince Carter defeat his cousin, Tracy McGrady, and Steve Francis in one of the best showdowns in slam dunk history.
Dwight Howard jumped into a phone booth in 2008 and came out as Superman as he flew over the paint and jammed home a Slam Dunk Contest win.
At the 2009 contest, LeBron James thrilled fans by announcing he would enter the 2010 Slam Dunk Contest.
LeBron has since gone back on his word, leaving us with former dunk champ Nate Robinson, Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace, and a contestant yet to be named.
The interesting change made this year is a Dunk In to name the final contestant. DeMar DeRozan will go head to head with Eric Gordan to decide who will fill the final spot.
This roster of lesser names brings to mind some of the low-level players that have gained notoriety by winning the contest. Here are the 10 worst players to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Teams: New York Knicks, Washington Bullets
Winning Dunk: 360 Rock-A-Bye Dunk
Career Stats (per game): 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.7 blocks
Notes: Considering my inclusion of Kenny Walker on my list of best high top fades, I've probably written more about Walker in one month than anyone in the past 20 years. Just one more note, "Sky" Walker won a race against a horse named "Pugwash" in 1984.
Teams: Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic
Winning Dunk: No Look Dunk
Career Stats (per game): 11.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks
Notes: Dee Brown introduced the world to Reebok Pumps, the shoes that played a major role in his Slam Dunk title in 1991. Brown won the ESPN reality show "Dream Job", earning him a one year contract with the worldwide leader in sports. Brown is now head coach of the NBA D-League team the Springfield Armor.
Teams: Phoenix Suns, LA Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat
Winning Dunk: Blindfold Dunk
Career Stats (per game): 14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks
Notes: Cedric Ceballos was born in Hawaii and loves basketball, just like president Barack Obama. Ceballos now works as an emcee for the Phoenix Suns and does a weekly webcast.
Teams: Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavalieers
Nicknames: Baby Jordan
Winning Dunk: 360 Windmill Dunk
Career Stats (per game): 9.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks
Notes: The "Baby Jordan" tag given to Harold Miner was a curse and a name impossible to live up to, except for the two dunk titles. Miner has settled in Nevada as an active real estate investor. For the most part, Miner has maintained a low profile.
Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, LA Lakers, Denver Nuggets
Winning Dunk: East Bay Funk Dunk (between the legs)
Career Stats (per game): 16.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks
Notes: After a promising rookie season, Isaiah Rider couldn't live up to the hype, nor could he avoid trouble. Bouncing around NBA teams throughout his career, Rider did manage an NBA championship with the Lakers. Rider's post-NBA escapades include arrests for kidnapping, cocaine, marijuana, grand theft, and firearms. Now that's a "rough" Rider.
Teams: LA Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Seattle Supersonics, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets
Winning Dunk: White Boy Free Throw Line Dunk
Career Stats (per game): 9.3 points, 3. rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks
Notes: Brent Barry is the only Caucasian to win the Slam Dunk Contest. For some reason he wore a warm up jacket the entire competition. Brent is the son of NBA legend Rick Barry and played alongside his brother Jon. Before joining the NBA, Brent shot free-throws like his father, underhand. Barry has two NBA championship rings.
Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings
Winning Dunk: Two Handed Windmill
Career Stats (per game): 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks
Notes: Desmond Mason played for a bizarre triangle of NBA teams. Seattle, his first team, moved to Oklahoma City, his fourth team. Mason also played with the New Orleans Hornets during the season that Hurricane Katrina forced the team to play in Oklahoma City. While in New Orleans, Mason recorded a song titled "We Dem Hornets" in which he shouted out to every member of the team.
Teams: Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, LA Clippers
Winning Dunk: Inbound From the Stands Dunk (missed twice)
Career Stats (per game): 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks
Notes: In the most uneventful Slam Dunk Contest ever, Fred Jones and Desmond Mason failed to finish a dunk in the final round. Jones won based on the most impressive missed dunk. Jones benefited greatly from Ron Artest's suspension for his involvement in the "Malice in the Palace." During the 2004-05 season Jones doubled his averages.
Teams: Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks
Winning Dunk: No Look Dunk over Nate Robinson
Career Stats (per game): 7.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks
Notes: Gerald Green was one of the last players to jump to the NBA straight from high school. He was part of the trade that landed Kevin Garnett with the Boston Celtics. Green now plays for Lokomotiv Kuban of Russia.
Teams: New York Knicks
Winning Dunks: Dunk Over Spud Webb, Dunk Over Dwight Howard
Career Stats (per game): 12.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.1 blocks
Notes: Nate Robinson is only 5'9", the second shortest player to win the dunk contest. Nate wore all green to become KryptoNATE to Dwight Howard's "Superman", ultimately defeating him in the 2009 contest. Nate also played football in high school and later for the Washington Huskie, where he intercepted a crucial pass to upset #3 Washington State in 2002.