Top 5 NBA dunk contests by Bill Trikos: The Slam Dunk Contest is one of the spectacles to watch during the NBA All-Star weekend. Throughout NBA history, we’ve seen the best dunkers in the league showcase their freakish athleticism in the annual dunking exhibition. From using cars, candles, and even grown men, dunkers have a lot of things at their disposal to show basketball fans the best dunk they have to offer. Although some dunk contests are forgettable, others will be remembered forever. For this piece, let’s rank the 10 best NBA Slam Dunk contests of all time. See extra info about the author on https://au.linkedin.com/in/bill-trikos.
That has inevitably taken some of the emotion away from the competition. I mean no disrespect to Derrick Jones Jr., but we would much rather watch Russell Westbrook and LeBron James throw windmill dunks than him. That’s why most of the greatest dunk contests of all time happened quite some time ago. That doesn’t stop us getting some memorable dunk contests, though. We still get to watch some talented, young players going head-to-head to wow the crowd, which is going to be easier said than done. The guys we’re about to mention, however, excelled at that task, and that’s why we’ve put together the top five best dunk contests of all time.
That display of next-level artistry earned LaVine a perfect 50 and pushed him past Gordon to become the sixth repeat winner—and the fourth back-to-back champion—in dunk contest history. So while his challenger may have won the battle for single best dunk, LaVine was a worthy winner of the best Slam Dunk Contest war this side of MJ vs. ‘Nique. Chances are, that’s the last we’ll see of LaVine in a dunk contest. But if the 21-year-old recovers smoothly from his devastating knee injury, he’ll have ample opportunity to put opponents on posters for years to come with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Dee Brown put the expression “I can do it with my eyes closed” to the test in 1991. The then-Boston Celtics rookie had already secured the 1991 event title ahead of his final attempt, but he wasn’t aware of that. So after Brown jumped toward the rim, he closed his eyes and covered them with his right arm while dunking with his left. How’s that for a cherry on top? Superman made an appearance at the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest. After ditching his Magic jersey for a Superman shirt and cape, Dwight Howard jumped from a couple of feet inside in the free throw line, caught a pass that was thrown over the backboard by teammate Jameer Nelson and literally chucked the ball through the hoop. If Howard had actually reached the rim, it would be the undisputed greatest dunk in event history. Despite it not technically being a dunk, Howard still received a 50 and went on to win the competition.
To tip off a daunting final round—against Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis and fellow Toronto Raptors wing (and cousin) Tracy McGrady—Carter jumped so high that he was able to jam his whole right forearm through the hoop. As he recalled to Sportsnet’s Dave Zarum: You see, at that point, I’m not looking for cheers. I want the arena to be silent. Normally when you watch the dunk contest everybody goes crazy, it’s people screaming, going “Oh my God, did you see that?!!” But how many times did you see a dunk leave the crowd speechless? Where you couldn’t say a word until you saw the dunk a second time. Until then they’re just thinking, Wait a minute, did you just…? Twenty thousand people have to look up at the Jumbotron at the same time to see what happened. Then comes the roar. That’s what I was looking for. And I got it.
We’ve seen players throw the ball off the glass and go through the legs. We’ve seen players jump over people and dunk. Until this moment, we had never seen a player jump over someone, throw the ball off the glass and put it between their legs for a dunk. Nash deserves as much credit as Stoudemire here, but the timing and precision of this dunk help it crack the top 10. Stoudemire threw the perfect pass off the backboard and Nash delivered an even more perfect header for the 360. The Slam Dunk Contest had never seen anything like this before. All you can do is laugh when you see this dunk. Webb is 5’7. You are not supposed to be able to do 360 dunks off of a lob at that height. It looks like a video game glitch the way Webb rises up to finish this one.
Topping the last two years of the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest will be a tall order for 2017’s contestants. Aaron Gordon, who pushed Zach LaVine to the brink in Toronto last year, will be the odds-on favorite to finish on top at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. However, he’ll have plenty of competition from one longtime contest target (DeAndre Jordan) and a pair of relative unknowns (Glenn Robinson III and Derrick Jones Jr.).