Dwight Howard: Revitalizing the NBA Dunk Contest

Ben HarrisCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2008

NBA All-Star Saturday Night was capped off by the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.


Many had been calling for the cancellation of the dunk contest after the past few years had changed very little.


But this year, the challenge was brought back to life by a supporting cast of Jamario Moon, Rudy Gay, returning champ Gerald Green, and Dwight Howard.


These star athletes were being judged by a star panel of their own.  The judges were Karl “The Mailman” Malone, Magic Johnson, Julius “Doctor J” Erving, Darryl Dawkins, and former dunk contest champion Dominique Wilkins.


The round started off with Jamario Moon throwing down a 360 off a lob pass to himself and from that point on, the contest only got better.


Dwight Howard's dunk really set the tone for what was sure to become an incredible night of throw downs.  For his first dunk, he threw the ball off of the back of the backboard and dunked it with his whole body and head behind the backboard.


Gerald Green followed up with lighting a candle on a cupcake and putting it where the backboard connects to the rim.  Getting a pass from Rashad McCants, he caught the ball, blew out the candle and dunked the ball.


But Dwight Howard stole the show from there on.  Scoring a 50 on every single on of his dunks from then on.


Rudy Gay’s pass off of the basket-support and Moon’s would be dunk from behind the free throw line that didn’t turn out the way he wanted started off the second round.


Green’s windmill from the pass from McCants sitting on the ladder gained him a 45 which led to Dwight’s second dunk of the night.  Howard threw off his Magic jersey and put on his Superman cape to match his Superman under shirt.


Howard got so high, he did not dunk the ball, he was high enough to throw the ball through the net, and that is exactly what he did.  He and Green coasted to the finals and that is where Howard would display some crazy talent.


For Green’s first dunk, he got a pass over the backboard, put it through his legs and slammed it home.  To follow up that dunk, Howard lobbed the ball up to himself, tapped it off the backboard and threw it down.


And to top it all off, Howard put the NBA ball on a mini suction cup Orlando Magic hoop. He took it off the mini hoop, and threw down a sick windmill dunk.


Howard, who, if I may quote the TNT announcers, “Had the building in his hands,” rejuvenated the NBA Sprite Slam Dunk competition.


Many people including myself had complained about how the dunk contest lacked the interest that it had in previous years.


But thanks to Dwight Howard, Gerald Green, and the rest of the contestants, the NBA has something to look forward to next year in Phoenix, Arizona, the home of the 2009 NBA All-Star Game.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Other Notes from NBA All-Star Saturday Night…


Team San Antonio, led by seven footers Tim Duncan and David Robinson and 5'7'' WNBA star Becky Hammon took home the Haier Shooting Stars trophy with a time of 35.8 seconds in the final against Team Chicago.


Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz put on a show in the Playstation Skills Challenge with a record time of 25.5 seconds. In that span, he sped through seven pylons, completed two layups/dunks, completed a chest, bounce, and outlet pass and a jump shot from the top of the key.


Williams defeated returning champ Dwyane Wade, star Chris Paul, and 35 year old Jason Kidd.


Jason Kapono tied a 22-year-old record of 25 points in the Foot Locker Three Point Shootout, winning the event for the second year in a row.


The other contestants were Daniel Gibson who knocked down 11 threes in the Rookie Challenge the night before, Rip Hamilton, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and two-time Three Point Shootout Champ Peja Stojakovic.