Bill Trikos best 5 NBA slam dunk contests: While Dwight Howard was ready to become superman again to defend his Slam Dunk Contest title, who knew that his kryptonite would be in the form of a 5 ‘9 dunker. Robinson showcased a flurry of athletic dunks. However, his emphatic night was capped off by a dunk over Dwight Howard to seal the deal. This proved once again that even small guys can win a dunk contest. With the victory in 2009, Robinson earned another Slam Dunk Contest title. Read more info about the author on https://www.tumblr.com/billtrikos.
Carter took over the league and put the Toronto Raptors on the map. However, it wasn’t until the 2000 Slam Dunk contest that the whole basketball world took notice of Air Canada. Half-man, half-amazing, Carter put together the greatest individual performance in Slam Dunk Contest history. Vinsanity knocked everybody off their feet with a 360 windmill dunk. Then, his signature elbow dunk was even more impressive. Carter was so spectacular that most people don’t even remember that Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady also had some dunks for the ages.
McGee didn’t go quite that big, though his use of props might’ve been more impressive. Rather than leap over something, the L.A. native opted to put his massive mitts and 7’6″ wingspan to good use by finishing on two hoops at the same time. That one-of-a-kind slam earned McGee a perfect 50 from the judges and a spot in the final round, where he fell just short of Griffin’s theatrics, despite dunking three balls on the same jump.
In the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest, then-New York Nets forward Julius Erving took off from the free throw line for an iconic one-handed jam. Over a decade later, Erving helped Michael Jordan defend his NBA Slam Dunk Contest crown. Just three years after Dominique Wilkins outlasted Jordan, the two high fliers once again found themselves in a Slam Dunk Contest battle in 1988. Jordan needed at least 49 points on his final attempt to repeat as champ, and he found inspiration in the crowd from Dr. J. “I was nervous, the only time in the contest I was nervous,” Jordan said at the time. “I knew I needed something really spectacular to win. I was searching the crowd for something to do. Then, I saw the man who started it all, Julius Erving. He indicated to me I should go the length of the floor and take off from the free throw line.”
You’d think that Vince Carter, arguably one of the greatest high-flying finishers in NBA history, would’ve had multiple Slam Dunk Contest trophies on his mantle. The records show, though, that Vinsanity took flight just once on All-Star Saturday. Not that he needed more chances than that. His lone appearance—at Oracle Arena in Oakland in 2000—may be the best dunk contest we’ve ever seen, in part because he pulled off tricks few (if any) had ever thought possible.
Honorable mention to Dwight Howard’s superman alley-oop, which just missed the cut. The showmanship was unforgettable, but he did technically throw it in the hoop. I had a hard time deciding between Carter’s reverse 360 windmill and the honey dip here. Despite how ferociously he threw down the reverse 360 windmill, the honey dip was so iconic it felt like it had to make the cut. Carter had kids all over the country lowering their hoops to 7.5 feet and tearing up their elbows in an attempt to replicate his arm-in-the-rim dunk. It feels like this dunk from LaVine didn’t get the respect it deserved because it was compared to so many others in the insane 2016 Slam Dunk Contest (which was the greatest Slam Dunk Contest of all time, in most people’s opinions). The degree of difficulty to levitate in the air long enough to put the ball behind your back and finish on the other side of the rim is unfathomable.
In truth, the tougher task for all involved will be coming up with—and pulling off—a move worthy of all-time consideration. Scroll through the history of the dunk contest—which began in 1984 and took a break in 1998 and 1999—and you’ll see just about every shape and style of slam imaginable. How, then, could the latest quartet of entrants hope to break new ground? It’s a question fans have asked every year, and it’s been answered affirmatively just as often. So long as there’s fresh blood in the field, there will always be something new, different and downright unbelievable to behold.