The 10 Most Memorable Moments from the Slam Dunk Contest
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest is an annual event that’s held the night before the All-Star Game, but the original concept was conceived by the American Basketball Association (ABA). It enables the competitors to showcase their athleticism and power through a dunking competition.
It has become one of the most popular events held during the NBA All-Star Weekend since the league incorporated the dunking contest in 1984.
Let’s take a look at the 10 most memorable moments from the Slam Dunk Contest:
10) 1996 Slam Dunk Contest
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Some consider this competition the downfall of the Slam Dunk Contest, as the superstars of the league elected not to participate and the lesser-named players were allowed to compete for the crown with an array of uninspiring, boring dunks.
Brent Barry won the contest, even though he technically used the same dunk in both of his final round attempts. Later, Barry remarked that he had a better dunk in his arsenal if anyone challenged his commanding lead.
9) 1992 Slam Dunk Contest
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This contest brought dunks normally showcased for the playground to the hardwood.
A blind-folded Cedric Ceballos ran 60 feet to throw down a two-hand stuff for the title.
Now, a slam dunk champion had to show some creativity with his dunks in order to win the competition.
8) 1986 Slam Dunk Contest
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The experts predicted a repeat performance from the defending champion, Dominique Wilkins, but instead, Spud Webb made everyone a believer of his athletic talent.
In his hometown of Dallas, Webb showed his full repertoire of dunks as he with three perfect scores, including two during the final round of the contest.
Webb’s final dunk was a perfectly executed two-handed reverse slam that sealed the victory over Wilkins.
7) 2000 Slam Dunk Contest
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In the first year after the resumption of the Slam Dunk Contest, Vince Carter’s performance brought back the fans to the competition.
Television viewership was down due to a lack of originality from the competitors, and league officials replaced the competition with the ill-advised “2-ball” contest.
On this evening, Carter showed a wide variety of windmill dunks, including a mouth-opening between-the-legs jam that sealed the title for him.
6) 1991 Slam Dunk Contest
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This contest had one notable absence, as defending champion Dominique Wilkins elected not to participate in this year’s contest.
But, this allowed new blood to be injected into the competition, and they brought a new approach to wowing the fans.
Dee Brown took home the title with a final dunk of jamming a basketball while covering his eyes in mid-flight.
5) 1990 Slam Dunk Contest
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It had a star-studded field, but Dominique Wilkins outlasted them all with his repeat dunking ability that seized the moment.
A competitor’s performance is judged on their artistic ability, imagination, body flow and the fans' response.
Wilkins could have jumped out of the building on that evening, and he gave everyone a night to remember.
4) 2009 Slam Dunk Contest
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Nate Robinson declared himself “Krypto-Nate” to counter Dwight Howard’s Superman persona.
He came to the contest dressed in an all green outfit to tug on his cape, and literally jumped over him to secure his second dunking title.
Three years earlier, Robinson dunked over Spud Webb for his first championship.
3) 1988 Slam Dunk Contest
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This was the showcase event of the slam dunk contest, as it was the long awaited rematch between Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan.
The final round had the feel of a heavyweight boxing match, with each trading dunks and neither giving an inch to their opponent.
MJ saved the best for last dunk, as he scored a perfect score for the win.
2) 2008 Slam Dunk Contest
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Dwight Howard won this contest on his raw, twisting dunking ability, and his evening began by placing a sticker on the backboard while dunking a basketball.
League officials measured the distance of the dunk at 126-inches, but he saved his best for last.
Howard caught a bounce pass off the back of the backboard with his right hand and switches the ball to his left hand while crossing the end line to jam it home.
Then, Howard shed his jersey to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath for an overwhelming roar from the crowd.
1) 1976 Slam Dunk Contest
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Denver’s McNichols Arena was the site of the last ABA All-Star Game, and league officials wanted to show the general public that their talent level was equivalent to the NBA.
They organized a weekend celebration that was centered around the All-Star Game, and the highlighted event was the halftime Slam Dunk Contest.
There were five contestants, but everyone came to see David Thompson and Julius Erving battle it out on the court. The local crowd cheered for their hometown hero, but the Good Doctor stole the show.
Erving jammed two basketballs from underneath the rim, and his next dunk is immortalized on posters all throughout this country.
Dr. J’s take-off point was from the foul line, and he seemed to go higher and higher toward the basket.