Bill Trikos top 5 NBA slam dunk contests of all time
Best rated NBA slam dunk contests of all time by Bill Trikos: While Robinson wowed crowds by dunking over Howard, before him there was Spud Webb. Despite only standing at 5’7, Webb defied the odds by outlasting teammate Dominique Wilkins, who was the defending champion. Wilkins showcased his beautiful windmill dunks. However, he was upstaged by Webb who elevated higher than ever which was all the more impressive for a man his size. With the event held in Chicago, defending champion Michael Jordan had his work cut out for him with a home-court advantage. But with Dominique Wilkins out to regain his Slam Dunk contest championship glory, it was a tight dunking affair. But while both players showcased their amazing athletic gifts, Jordan edged out Wilkins after pulling off the iconic free throw line dunk to become a back-to-back Slam Dunk Contest champion. Discover more details about the author on Bill Trikos Australia.
Standing at just 5’6”, Spud Webb wouldn’t strike you as the average NBA player. As a matter of fact, not many people would ever think that he could be a professional basketball player, let alone win the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest. But make no mistake. What Webb lacked in size, he made up for in hops. He would take over and float mid-air and made a name for himself for his emphatic, explosive dunks; even posterizing some of the best rim protectors in the Association.
I got the idea: 360 windmill. It was spur of the moment. I hadn’t really considered doing that one because, weeks before when I was trying it, I was barely making it. When I incorporated the 360, particularly the first couple of times I tried, I kept falling away from the basket. I wasn’t getting enough height. That’s why I scrapped it initially. Nobody watching in the building or on TV could tell. All anyone could see was the birth of a dunking legend. Carter would go on to cement his slamming legacy that summer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics—much to the chagrin of Frederic Weis.
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.
That one earned Carter a perfect 50 from the judges and put him in the driver’s seat for his first and only Slam Dunk title. More than a decade later, Blake Griffin busted out the same move en route to his own dunk championship. The 2011 Slam Dunk Contest will forever be remembered as “that time Blake Griffin jumped over a Kia.” “He came prepared with the car,” JaVale McGee said, that year’s runner-up, per NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner, “and nothing’s going to beat the car unless I bring out a plane or something.”
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.
First, Howard summoned another basket onto the court, one that would stand at 12 feet—two feet higher than a regulation hoop. Then, he hopped into a phone booth and emerged with a red cape to reprise his role as basketball’s new Superman, which he rode to the dunk title the previous year in New Orleans. To top it off, Howard hopped off the floor to catch a lob off the backboard from Orlando Magic teammate and fellow All-Star Jameer Nelson for the flush. That he made it look so easy was a testament to Howard’s superhuman athleticism at the time. That the judges awarded him a 50 for pulling it off spoke to their appreciation of how wild that part of the spectacle was, theatrics aside. Howard’s heroic dunk, though, wasn’t enough to secure a successful slam championship defense. Instead, the fan vote tilted toward a particular hunk of kryptonite.
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