Slam Dunk Contest

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Slam Dunk Contest
SportBasketball
CompetitionNational Basketball Association and National Collegiate Athletic Association
DisciplineDunking
Sponsored byAT&T
History
First awardLarry Nance, 1984
Most winsNate Robinson: 3 times
Most recentObi Toppin, 2022
WebsiteNBA AT&T Slam Dunk

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest (officially known as the AT&T Slam Dunk) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) competition held during the NBA All-Star Weekend.[1] Sports Illustrated wrote "the dunk contest was the best halftime invention since the bathroom."[2][3]

The contest was conceived of and started by the American Basketball Association (ABA) for its 1976 ABA All-Star Game in Denver.[2] The winner was Julius Erving of the New York Nets.[2] As a result of the ABA–NBA merger later that year, the contest moved to the NBA for the 1976-1977 season.[4]

There was not another slam dunk contest at the professional level until 1984.[5] The contest has adopted several formats over the years, including, until 2014, the use of fan voting, via text-messaging, to determine the winner of the final round. The current champion of the Slam Dunk Contest is Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks.[6]

History[edit]

1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest[edit]

The first-ever Slam Dunk Contest was held on January 27, 1976 at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver during halftime of the 1976 ABA All-Star Game.[2] In financial trouble and fighting with the NBA for viewers, the ABA started the slam dunk contest as a gimmick to attract viewers nationwide.[2][5] In Remember the ABA, Jim Bukata recalled, "We were sitting around the office one day, discussing things that would draw more people, and it just came to us…It was Julius [Erving] really giving us the idea that we're the league of the dunkers. So we said, 'Well if that's the case, let's have a contest.' It really was as simple as that. …Three guys talking about what we could do to sell a few more tickets."[7] Bukata was the director of marketing and public relations for the ABA.[7] The other two in the room were the league's finance director Jim Keeler and Carl Scheer, general manager of the Denver Nuggets who were hosting the All-Star game.[7][8]

There was a format each competitor had to follow in which they must attempt five dunks in a row under two minutes, with the clock stopping after each shot to allow the player to plan their next attempt.[9][8] One required dunk was from a standing position under the basket, and another from a distance of ten feet away from the basket in the foul lane.[9][8] The next three required dunks were freestyle positions, one coming in from the left side of the basket, one coming in from the right side of the basket, and finally from either corner down the baseline to the basket.[9][8] At the contest, it was announced that the competitors were judged on artistic ability, body flow, fan response, and imagination, earning up to ten points in each category.[8] There were $1,200 in prizes provided by the Denver Nuggets and KHOW radio station.[8]

There were five competitors: Artis "A-Train" Gilmore of the Kentucky Colonels went first followed by George "Iceman" Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs, Larry "Special K" Kenon of the San Antonio Spurs, David "Skywalker" Thompson of the Denver Nuggets, and finally Julius "Dr. J" Erving of New York Nets.[2][9]

Rookie and shortest competitor in the contest, Thompson recalls, "Since my hands weren't very big, I couldn't really palm the ball so I would cup it. I'd cup it with my left hand between my hand and forearm and put it above the rim and come over the top with my right hand and punch it into the basket. Very few guys could do it, I was told that Wilt Chamberlain could do something like it but I never seen it. You not only had to be able to jump high but you had to have the hang time, you had to be able to levitate up there and punch it through the basket.”[2][9] Thompson performed a 360 degree or twist-around dunk to finish his routine—the first time this trick had ever been seen.[9] However, Thompson missed a dunk during his routine which counted as a zero; Gervin missed two dunks.[8]

All competitors had to perform a dunk from ten feet, but Julius Erving started marking his steps from the free throw line which is fifteen feet away.[2][5] Erving then completed a dunk from the free throw line, winning the contest.[9][5] He said, "I just wanted to make a nice, soaring play that would get the fans out of their seats. I really started going at half court and got a good running start and made sure that I made the shot authoritatively."[7]

Irving said that his favorite dunk of the night was by Thompson who "came out of the corner, spun 360 degrees in the air and slammed it, 50 by anyone's standards.”[2] One basketball historian wrote, "The 1976 Slam Dunk Contest represents a key focal point in basketball history. David Thompson and the rest of the ABA players were true pioneers and innovators; they transcended the game of basketball into what it is today."[2]

1976–1977 NBA Slam Dunk Contest[edit]

In 1976, Arthur Erhat filed a patent for "a rim that had give but immediately returned to its original position," making dunking safe for the first time by significantly reducing the shattering of backboards.[10] After a ten year ban, the NBA brought back the dunk to regular play for the 1976-1977 season.[11] That year, NBA held its first Slam Dunk Contest as a one-off, season-long event similar to NBA Horse event held the following season.[12][4] During halftime at each game, there was a one-on-one slam dunk competition.[13]

There were 22 competitors at multiple venues throughout the event—one for each team at the league—including future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Alex English, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, and David Thompson.[4] Former ABA player Darnell "Dr. Dunk" Hillman was named the winner that season, beating out the Golden State Warriors' Larry McNeill in the championship round on June 5, 1977 in Portland during the halftime of the final playoff game.[14][13] Although he received the winner's $15,000 check, Hillman did not receive a trophy until 2017.[4][14]

1980s[edit]

The NBA reintroduced the Slam Dunk Contest on a permanent basis as a free-standing event during All-Star Weekend in 1984 at its birthplace in Denver.[5] Phoenix's Larry Nance defeated the original Dunk contest winner Julius Erving in the final round. Dominique Wilkins won the contest the following year, but in 1986 his Atlanta Hawks teammate Spud Webb made history when he defeated Wilkins in the final, preventing him from retaining his title.[12] Standing a mere 5 feet 6 inches tall, Webb became the shortest player ever to win the contest, a distinction that he still holds. Chicago's Michael Jordan won back-to-back dunk contest victories in 1987 and in 1988.[12] His victory over Wilkins in 1988 in Chicago finished with a perfect 50 dunk from the free-throw line for his third dunk to win the contest. However, the announcers did note that Wilkins was given abnormally low score for his breathtaking third dunk, a 45, allowing Jordan to win it by 2 with his perfect 50. To this day, the allegations of "home cooking" still float around surrounding the event (it was held on Jordan's home court; one of the judges was former Chicago Bears star Gale Sayers; and another judge, former NBA star Tom Hawkins, is a Chicago native) and until the competition in 2020, was considered arguably the most controversial of the slam dunk competitions. Extensive debate continues whether Wilkins 3rd dunk should have scored higher than a 45 and whether Jordan's second dunk, which scored a 47, was a superior creative effort to Wilkins third dunk. The following year in Houston, New York's Kenny "Sky" Walker, a last-minute replacement whose father died just days beforehand, upset Portland's Clyde Drexler, the hometown favorite and Houston native who was seen as the favorite, being that other previous champs Larry Nance, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins were not competing. 1986 champ Spud Webb finished 3rd, while Shelton Jones finished 4th. Though Nance, Jordan and Wilkins still played in the All-Star Game, Nance and Jordan chose not to compete due to minor injuries, and Wilkins did not compete in the competition due to a hand injury.[15]

1990s[edit]

In 1990, Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks edged out Kenny Smith of the Sacramento Kings to win his second Slam Dunk Contest. He first won it in 1985 over Michael Jordan. Smith scored high points for originality with his signature dunk—he started by turning his back to the basket, bouncing the ball backward between his legs and off the backboard, then turning and grabbing it in the air and reverse dunking it. As the 1990s progressed, stars such as Jordan, Wilkins and Drexler sometimes declined to participate and were replaced by less-known players. Harold Miner was a standout in 1993, winning the contest with a reverse power dunk, reaching between his legs and down to his feet in mid-air before sending the ball down. In 1994 and 1997 respectively, Isaiah Rider and Kobe Bryant won the contest.[12] Rider would win with a spectacular, between-the-legs dunk, reminiscent of the Orlando Woolridge effort in the 1984 contest.[12] However, he wasn't able to repeat in 1995, missing the same dunk on several tries, opening the way for Miner to grab his second slam dunk title in three years. In 1998, the Slam Dunk Contest was replaced with the WNBA-NBA 2Ball Contest. In 1999, there was no All-Star Game due to the NBA lockout.

2000s[edit]

After a one-All Star Weekend layoff (as aforementioned, the NBA did not have an All Star Weekend due to the lockout the previous season), the NBA decided to bring the Slam Dunk Contest back for the 2000 All-Star Weekend in Oakland, California. It would prove to be one of the most electrifying dunk contests in the league's history,[citation needed] featuring a great showdown between eventual winner Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors, his cousin and then-teammate Tracy McGrady, and the Houston Rockets' Steve Francis. Carter won after performing a number of very impressive dunks, including two 360 windmills, a honey dip, and a between-the-legs dunk off a bounced alley-oop from McGrady. The next four contests did not feature superstars like Carter and Bryant, and despite innovative efforts by the likes of Desmond Mason and Jason Richardson, the lack of A-list superstars willing to participate hurt the appeal of the contest.

In 2005, the Slam Dunk Contest returned to its birthplace in Denver. With the spectacular dunks of prior contests, there was buzz[citation needed] that the dunk competition could regain the popularity it had in the 1980s. The Phoenix Suns' Amar'e Stoudemire alley-ooping 360 off a soccer-style header from teammate Steve Nash; J. R. Smith putting it around his back and dunking, and the new champion, Josh Smith alley-ooping over Kenyon Martin all wowed the crowd with their maneuvers. With the change in the rules requiring an additional teammate starting in the second round, they proved there were indeed many ways to dunk a basketball that had not been done before. Amar'e Stoudemire received rave reviews, as did Smith when he did a tribute dunk to Dominique Wilkins while donning Wilkins' jersey.

Again in 2006, the Dunk Contest in Houston revitalized the interests of audiences as 5'9" Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks took the title with a great dunk-off. One of his most exciting dunks was a high-flying dunk over former Slam Dunk Contest winner, 5'7" Spud Webb. The 2006 Slam Dunk Contest was also the first Dunk Contest in history to have a "Dunk Off", the equivalent to a Dunk Contest overtime, between Knicks point guard Nate Robinson and shooting guard Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers. Many fans argue that Iguodala should have won the contest, as it took Robinson fourteen attempts before finally completing his dunk. Iguodala pulled off a dunk where he started out of bounds from the right side of the baseline while teammate Allen Iverson bounced the ball off the back of the right side of the backboard. Iguodala caught the ball in mid-air behind the backboard, spun around to the other side while ducking his head (to avoid colliding with the backboard) and dunked it with his right hand.

On February 17, 2007, the contest was held in Las Vegas. Judges for the event were all past winners: Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Julius Erving, and Vince Carter. The title was taken by the Boston Celtics' Gerald Green, who, among other dunks, jumped over reigning champ Nate Robinson while covering his face – a homage to 1991 winner, Dee Brown, whose jersey Green had worn. He also scored a perfect fifty with his last slam, a windmill over a table. Other noteworthy dunks include a dunk by Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, who, while making his dunk, stuck a sticker with his smiling face on the backboard a reported 12'6" from the ground, two and a half feet beyond the regulation NBA rim.[16]

On February 16, 2008, the contest was held in New Orleans. Judges for the event included Darryl Dawkins, Dominique Wilkins, Karl Malone, Julius Erving, and Magic Johnson. The title was taken by Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Howard's most noteworthy dunk came during the first round, his second dunk overall, when he took off his jersey to reveal a Superman shirt and cape.[17] With teammate Jameer Nelson's assistance he would make a leaping dunk from just in front of the free-throw line after a running start, throwing the ball through the rim from a few feet away.[18] Other noteworthy dunks included the first round slam by Jamario Moon while the previous year's winner, Gerald Green, relied heavily on theatrics by blowing out a cupcake with a birthday candle on the rim before dunking (a jam he termed "The Birthday Cake"). For the first time ever, fan voting determined the outcome of the final round of the contest; Howard beat Green for the trophy by claiming 78% of the fans' votes.

Nate Robinson won the 2009 contest on February 14 in Phoenix, Arizona.[12] The 5'9" guard dressed all in green as "Krypto-Nate" (a portmanteau of 'Nate' and Kryptonite) and jumped over 6'11" Dwight Howard characterized as Superman. He defeated Howard in the finals by a fan vote of 52–48 percent. J. R. Smith and Rudy Fernández also competed.

2010s[edit]

Nate Robinson won the 2010 contest on February 13 in Dallas, becoming the first 3-time Slam Dunk champion.[12] Robinson took on Shannon Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats, and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors. DeRozan earned his spot in the competition by defeating Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon in the inaugural Sprite Slam Dunk-In held the night before the actual dunk contest. Robinson and DeRozan advanced to the final round, where Robinson's double-pump reverse dunk helped seal a 51% to 49% victory.

Blake Griffin won the 2011 slam dunk contest by jumping and dunking over the hood of a Kia sedan on February 19 in Los Angeles. JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, and Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder all competed against Griffin. Griffin and McGee advanced to the final round, where Griffin stole the show, winning the contest with 68% of the vote.

Jeremy Evans won the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest by performing a dunk over Kevin Hart on February 25 in Orlando, Florida with 29% of the votes. Joining Evans were Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves. While George awed the crowd with a dunk with the lights turned off, Evans had perhaps the dunk of the contest by jumping teammate Gordon Hayward, catching two balls from Hayward, and dunking it.

Terrence Ross won the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest after a tomahawk dunk in tribute to former Toronto Raptors player Vince Carter, as well as a between-the-legs dunk performed while jumping over a ball boy. Ross took on Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz, Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, Gerald Green of the Indiana Pacers, and James White of the New York Knicks. Evans advanced to the final round to defend his title of slam dunk champion, but was thwarted by Ross. Ross carried the momentum of his near-perfect first round, in which he scored a 99 out of a possible 100, with a stellar final round. Ross won the competition decisively, earning 58% of the vote.

Team East, composed of dunkers Paul George, defending champion Terrence Ross, and John Wall won the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest in commanding fashion. Under the new team format, they dominated the Freestyle Round, capping it off with a pass off the backboard from Ross to Wall, then off the shot clock from Wall to George for the finish. In the Battle Round, Ross defeated Damian Lillard with a through the legs dunk from rapper Drake, George took down Harrison Barnes with a 360-degree, through the legs finish, and Wall defeated Ben McLemore by jumping over the Wizards' mascot G-Man and throwing down a reverse on the first try. Though Team East are the official winners, Wall was voted by fans as the Dunker of the Night.

To the delight of NBA fans, the 2015 contest was changed back to its original format, as the Freestyle Round as well as the teams were taken out. The 4 dunkers competing were all up-and-coming players: The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Timberwolves' Zach LaVine, the Magic's Victor Oladipo, and the Nets' Mason Plumlee. LaVine took home the hardware with dunks that included a between-the-legs reverse, a behind-the-back slam in which he caught it in midair, a between-the-legs lefthanded dunk, and finished with a between-the-legs dunk as he caught it off the pole behind the backboard. Similar to Howard with Superman, LaVine did his first dunk with a cultural homage, wearing Michael Jordan's jersey from Space Jam.[19]

Zach LaVine won the 2016 slam dunk contest with incredibly talented dunks, from a windmill from the free throw line to a sensational between-the-legs reverse dunk.[20] Aaron Gordon (runner-up) of the Orlando Magic, Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons also competed.[21]

Controversy over Dunk Contest authenticity[edit]

Many people, including 2010 winner Nate Robinson, thought that the 2011 contest was rigged to allow up-and-coming star Blake Griffin to win and that runner-up JaVale McGee deserved to win.[22][23][24][25] It was even disputed if Griffin even legitimately qualified for the finals since his final dunk got a perfect score but was basically a copy of DeMar DeRozan's first dunk with a lower degree of difficulty. Ben Maller of Fox Sports Radio reported that a media advisory sent out by the NBA over an hour before the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest began already referring to Blake Griffin as the winner.[26]

Many people condemned Derrick Jones Jr.'s win in 2020, believing that Aaron Gordon deserved to win both the 2016 edition and this one. They posted hate comments against judges Dwayne Wade and Scottie Pippen for giving Gordon a 9 after he dunked over Tacko Fall, the tallest NBA player, and giving Jones a 10 though he repeated the between-the-legs dunk many times.

Slam Dunk Contest champions[edit]

The 1976 event was held during the ABA All-Star game.

Year Host city Player Team Ref
1976 Denver Julius Erving New York Nets [2]
1977 Portland Darnell Hillman Indiana Pacers [4]
1984 Denver Larry Nance Phoenix Suns [6][27]
1985 Indianapolis Dominique Wilkins Atlanta Hawks [6][27]
1986 Dallas Spud Webb [6][27]
1987 Seattle Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls [6][27]
1988 Chicago [6][27]
1989 Houston Kenny Walker New York Knicks [6][27]
1990 Miami Dominique Wilkins Atlanta Hawks [6][27]
1991 Charlotte Dee Brown Boston Celtics [6][27]
1992 Orlando Cedric Ceballos Phoenix Suns [6][27]
1993 Salt Lake City Harold Miner Miami Heat [6][27]
1994 Minneapolis Isaiah Rider Minnesota Timberwolves [6][27]
1995 Phoenix Harold Miner Miami Heat [6][27]
1996 San Antonio Brent Barry Los Angeles Clippers [6][27]
1997 Cleveland Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers [6][27]
1998 New York City The WNBA–NBA 2Ball Competition replaced the Slam Dunk Contest N/A
1999 Philadelphia Lockout-shortened season, no NBA All-Star Game
2000 Oakland Vince Carter Toronto Raptors [6][27]
2001 Washington D.C. Desmond Mason Seattle SuperSonics [6][27]
2002 Philadelphia Jason Richardson Golden State Warriors [6][27]
2003 Atlanta [6][27]
2004 Los Angeles Fred Jones Indiana Pacers [6][27]
2005 Denver Josh Smith Atlanta Hawks [6][27]
2006 Houston Nate Robinson New York Knicks [6][27]
2007 Las Vegas Gerald Green Boston Celtics [6][27]
2008 New Orleans Dwight Howard Orlando Magic [6][27]
2009 Phoenix Nate Robinson New York Knicks [6][27]
2010 Dallas [6][27]
2011 Los Angeles Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers [6][27]
2012 Orlando Jeremy Evans Utah Jazz [6][27]
2013 Houston Terrence Ross Toronto Raptors [6][27]
2014 New Orleans John Wall Washington Wizards [6][27]
2015 New York City Zach LaVine Minnesota Timberwolves [6][27]
2016 Toronto [6][27]
2017 New Orleans Glenn Robinson III Indiana Pacers [6]
2018 Los Angeles Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz [6]
2019 Charlotte Hamidou Diallo Oklahoma City Thunder [6]
2020 Chicago Derrick Jones Jr. Miami Heat [6]
2021 Atlanta Anfernee Simons Portland Trail Blazers [6]
2022 Cleveland Obi Toppin New York Knicks [6]

Slam Dunk Contest champions by franchise

No. Franchise Last Time
5 New York Knicks 2022
4 Atlanta Hawks 2005
3 Minnesota Timberwolves 2016
3 Miami Heat 2020
2 Oklahoma City Thunder 2019
2 Indiana Pacers 2017
2 Toronto Raptors 2013
2 Chicago Bulls 1988
2 Golden State Warriors 2003
2 Phoenix Suns 1992
2 Boston Celtics 2007
2 Los Angeles Clippers 2011
2 Utah Jazz 2018
1 Los Angeles Lakers 1997
1 Orlando Magic 2008
1 Portland Trail Blazers 2021
1 Seattle Supersonics 2001
1 Washington Wizards 2014

All-time participants[edit]

Bold denotes winner(s) of that year.

All-time results[edit]

1980s[edit]

1984

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Larry Nance (Phoenix) 134 (44+44+46) 140 (49+48+43) 134 (48+39+47)
Julius Erving (Philadelphia) 134 (39+47+48) 140 (44+49+47) 122 (47+25+50)
Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta) 135 (47+39+49) 137 (48+48+41)
Darrell Griffith (Utah) 121 (39+40+42) 108 (42+42+24)
Edgar Jones (San Antonio) 118 (32+43+43)
Ralph Sampson (Houston) 118 (37+40+41)
Orlando Woolridge (Chicago) 116 (23+45+48)
Clyde Drexler (Portland) 108 (40+24+44)
Michael Cooper (L.A. Lakers) 70 (24+24+22)

1985

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta) 145 (47+49+49) 140 (48+45+47) 147 (47+50+50)
Michael Jordan (Chicago) 130 (44+42+42) 142 (45+47+50) 136 (43+44+49)
Terence Stansbury (Indiana) 130 (46+50+34) 136 (49+48+39)
Julius Erving (Philadelphia) BYEa 132 (43+44+45)
Larry Nance (Phoenix) BYEa 131 (42+47+42)
Darrell Griffith (Utah) 126 (38+42+46)
Orlando Woolridge (Chicago) 124 (40+43+41)
Clyde Drexler (Portland) 122 (39+39+44)

aErving and Nance received first-round byes as they were the finalists from the previous year.

1986

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Spud Webb (Atlanta) 141 (46+48+47) 138 (50+42+46) 100 (50+50)
Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta) BYEa 138 (46+47+45)   98 (50+48)
Terence Stansbury (Indiana) 129b (34+47+48) 132 (44+39+49)
Gerald Wilkins (New York) 133 (44+50+39)   87 (37+25+25)
Jerome Kersey (Portland) 129 (39+43+47)
Paul Pressey (Milwaukee) 116 (44+35+37)
Roy Hinson (Cleveland) 112 (35+39+38)
Terry Tyler (Sacramento) 110 (37+36+37)

aWilkins received a first-round bye as he was the previous year's champion.
bStansbury defeated Kersey in a dunk-off to break their tie.

1987

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Michael Jordan (Chicago) 88 (41+47) 148 (49+49+50) 146 (48+48+50)
Jerome Kersey (Portland) 92 (48+44) 147 (50+48+49) 140 (46+45+49)
Terence Stansbury (Seattle) 99 (49+50) 144 (49+45+50)
Clyde Drexler (Portland) 92 (45+47) 136 (46+45+45)
Ron Harper (Cleveland) 83 (45+38)
Johnny Dawkins (San Antonio) 81 (37+44)
Tom Chambers (Seattle) 62 (41+21)
Gerald Wilkins (New York) 62 (41+21)

1988
Ron Harper (Cleveland) was to participate but withdrew due to injury.

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Michael Jordan (Chicago) 94 (47+47) 145 (50+48+47) 147 (50+47+50)
Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta) 96 (49+47) 143 (49+47+47) 145 (50+50+45)
Clyde Drexler (Portland) 88 (44+44) 133 (45+42+46)
Otis Smith (Golden State) 87 (40+47) 109 (45+22+42)
Jerome Kersey (Portland) 79 (41+38)
Greg Anderson (San Antonio) 76 (42+34)
Spud Webb (Atlanta) 52 (34+18)

1989

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Kenny "Sky" Walker (New York) 91.3 (42.5+48.8) 96.4 (46.9+49.5) 148.1 (48.9+49.6+49.6)
Clyde Drexler (Portland) 93.7 (46.6+47.1) 95.0 (47.3+47.7)   49.5 (24.5+25.0+ 0.0a)
Spud Webb (Atlanta) 94.5 (46.8+47.7) 91.8 (47.8+44.0)
Shelton Jones (Philadelphia) 89.5 (44.1+45.4) 90.6 (45.7+44.9)
Tim Perry (Phoenix) 89.4 (44.4+45.0)
Jerome Kersey (Portland) 88.9 (44.9+44.0)
Ron Harper (Cleveland) 88.5 (41.7+46.8)
Chris Morris (New Jersey) 83.2 (41.1+42.1)

a Drexler did not attempt his final dunk, as victory was out of reach.

1990s[edit]

1990

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta) 96.3 (48.1+48.2) 97.7 (48.0+49.7) 146.8 (47.9+49.7+49.2)
Kenny Smith (Sacramento) 93.0 (43.4+49.6) 98.3 (49.1+49.2) 145.1 (48.1+49.8+47.2)
Kenny "Sky" Walker (New York) 95.2 (47.0+48.2) 97.4 (49.5+47.9)
Shawn Kemp (Seattle) 98.2 (49.1+49.1) 96.4 (47.6+48.8)
Scottie Pippen (Chicago) 92.2 (47.2+45.0)
Rex Chapman (Charlotte) 92.1 (45.5+46.6)
Billy Thompson (Miami) 91.4 (47.7+43.7)
Kenny Battle (Phoenix) 85.8 (42.5+42.8)

1991
Beginning with this year, final round competitors were allowed three dunks, with the two highest scores comprising the total.

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Dee Brown (Boston) 92.4 (48.2+44.2) 98.0 (49.6+48.4) 97.7 (48.1+49.6–46.4)
Shawn Kemp (Seattle) 95.8 (47.6+48.2) 95.6 (48.3+47.3) 93.7 (48.0+45.7–44.3)
Rex Chapman (Charlotte) 95.2 (45.5+49.7) 94.0 (48.0+46.0)
Kenny Smith (Houston) 90.8 (48.5+42.3) 87.9 (46.6+41.3)
Kenny Williams (Indiana) 86.9 (42.3+44.6)
Blue Edwards (Utah) 84.3 (40.1+44.2)
Otis Smith (Orlando) 83.0 (41.2+41.8)
Kendall Gill (Charlotte) 81.0 (40.1+40.9)

1992

Player First round Semifinals Finals
Cedric Ceballos (Phoenix) 85.4 (43.1+42.3) 90.4 (45.7+44.7) 97.2 (47.2+50.0–43.3)
Larry Johnson (Charlotte) 98.0 (48.6+49.4) 98.0 (49.6+48.4) 66.0 (33.5+32.5–0.0a)
Nick Anderson (Orlando) 88.6 (47.4+41.2) 89.8 (46.0+43.8)
John Starks (New York) 89.6 (42.6+47.0) 87.9 (43.1+44.8)
Doug West (Minnesota) 84.1 (44.3+39.8)
Shawn Kemp (Seattle) 81.4 (47.4+34.0)
Stacey Augmon (Atlanta) 79.5 (44.7+34.8)

a Johnson did not attempt his final dunk, as victory was out of reach.

1993
The two highest score dunks of three in each round constituted the competitor's score.
Shawn Kemp (Seattle) was scheduled to compete but was injured.

Player First round Finals
Harold Miner (Miami) 94.8 (49.0+45.8–45.8) 97.4 (48.0+49.4–47.0)
Clarence Weatherspoon (Philadelphia) 87.5 (43.2+44.3–38.5) 92.2 (44.7+47.5–27.5)
Cedric Ceballos (Phoenix) 87.3 (42.3+45.1–22.5) 79.8 (42.3+37.5–24.5)
David Benoit (Utah) 85.8 (41.5+44.3–28.5)
Kenny Smith (Houston) 85.0 (46.5+38.5–26.5)
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Denver) 80.8 (38.0+42.8–26.0)
Tim Perry (Philadelphia) 70.0 (38.5+31.5–22.0)

1994
In the first round, each competitor was allowed 90 seconds to do as many dunks as he chooses with one overall score. The final round score was the best of two dunks.

Player First round Finals
Isaiah Rider (Minnesota) 46.8 49.0, 47.0
Robert Pack (Denver) 42.0 43.8, 25.0
Shawn Kemp (Seattle) 46.6 25.0, 25.0
Allan Houston (Detroit) 41.5
Antonio Davis (Indiana) 40.0
James Robinson (Portland) 39.0

1995
This year, each competitor was allowed 90 seconds to do at least three dunks and then given an overall score in round one. In the final round, each competitor was allowed 60 seconds to do at least two dunks and then given an overall score.

Player First round Finals
Harold Miner (Miami) 49.2 46.0
Isaiah Rider (Minnesota) 44.6 34.0
Jamie Watson (Utah) 40.4 26.0
Antonio Harvey (L.A. Lakers) 35.2
Tim Perry (Philadelphia) 31.0
Tony Dumas (Dallas) 15.0

1996
Beginning this year, in the first round, each competitor was allowed 90 seconds to do as many dunks as he chooses with one overall score. The final round score was the best of two dunks.

Player First round Finals
Brent Barry (L.A. Clippers) 45.5 8.0, 49.0
Michael Finley (Phoenix) 45.0 7.0, 46.2
Greg Minor (Boston) 41.0 2.0, 40.0
Jerry Stackhouse (Philadelphia) 40.0
Doug Christie (New York) 39.5
Darrell Armstrong (Orlando) 25.5

1997

Player First round Finals
Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers) 37 49
Chris Carr (Minnesota) 44 45
Michael Finley (Dallas) 39 33
Ray Allen (Milwaukee) 35
Bob Sura (Cleveland) 35
Darvin Ham (Denver) 36

1998
No competition was held.

1999
No competition was held as All-Star Weekend was not held due to the NBA's lockout.

2000s[edit]

2000
Beginning with this year, the two highest dunks in each round constituted the competitor's total score.

Player First round Finals
Vince Carter (Toronto) 100 (50,49,50) 98 (50+48)
Steve Francis (Houston) 95 (45,50,32) 91 (43+48)
Tracy McGrady (Toronto) 99 (45,49,50) 77 (45+32)
Ricky Davis (Charlotte) 88 (40,32,48)
Jerry Stackhouse (Detroit) 83 (41,36,42)
Larry Hughes (Philadelphia) 67 (30,30,37)

2001

Player First round Finals
Desmond Mason (Seattle) 91 (42+49) 89 (45+44)
DeShawn Stevenson (Utah) 95 (46+49) 85 (38+47)
Baron Davis (Charlotte) 94 (45+49) 77 (44+33)
Stromile Swift (Vancouver) 90 (45+45)
Jonathan Bender (Indiana) 90 (46+44)
Corey Maggette (L.A. Clippers) 88 (46+42)

2002
A tournament format was adopted for this year.

Semifinals Finals
      
1 Desmond Mason (Seattle) 84 (41,43,36)
4 Jason Richardson (Golden State) 98 (48,31,50)
Jason Richardson 85 (36+49)
Gerald Wallace 80 (44+36)
3 Steve Francis (Houston) 77 (31,40,37)
2 Gerald Wallace (Sacramento) 84 (41,43,36)

2003

Player First round Finals
Jason Richardson (Golden State) 100 (50+50) 95 (45+50)
Desmond Mason (Seattle) 90 (46+44) 93 (50+43)
Amar'e Stoudemire (Phoenix) 79 (49+30)
Richard Jefferson (New Jersey) 74 (37+37)

2004

Player First round Finals
Fred Jones (Indiana) 92 (50+42) 86 (50+36)
Jason Richardson (Golden State) 95 (45+50) 78 (45+33)
Chris Andersen (Denver) 88 (42+46)
Ricky Davis (Boston) 76 (45+31)

2005

Player First round Finals
Josh Smith (Atlanta) 95 (45+50) 100 (50+50)
Amar'e Stoudemire (Phoenix) 95 (45+50) 87 (45+42)
J. R. Smith (New Orleans) 90 (45+45)
Chris Andersen (New Orleans) 77 (41+36)

2006

Player First round Finals Tie-break
Nate Robinson (New York) 93 (49+44) 94 (44+50) 47
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia) 95 (45+50) 94 (50+44) 46
Hakim Warrick (Memphis) 86 (44+42)
Josh Smith (Atlanta) 81 (41+40)

2007

Player First round Finals
Gerald Green (Boston) 95 (48+47) 91 (41+50)
Nate Robinson (New York) 90 (45+45) 80 (39+41)
Dwight Howard (Orlando) 85 (43+42)
Tyrus Thomas (Chicago) 80 (37+43)

2008
The final round was decided by fan voting via text messaging for the first time.

Player First round Finals
Dwight Howard (Orlando) 100 (50+50) 78%
Gerald Green (Minnesota) 91 (46+45) 22%
Jamario Moon (Toronto) 90 (46+44)
Rudy Gay (Memphis) 85 (37+48)

2009
The final round was decided by fan voting via text messaging.

Player First round Finals
Nate Robinson (New York) 87 (46+41) 52%
Dwight Howard (Orlando) 100 (50+50) 48%
J. R. Smith (Denver) 85 (43+42)
Rudy Fernández (Portland) 84 (42+42)

2010s[edit]

2010
The final round was decided by fan voting via text messaging.

Player First round Finals
Nate Robinson (New York) 89 (44+45) 51%
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto) 92 (42+50) 49%
Gerald Wallace (Charlotte) 78 (38+40)
Shannon Brown (L.A. Lakers) 78 (37+41)

2011
The final round was decided by fan voting via text messaging.

Player First round Finals
Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers) 95 (49+46) 68%
JaVale McGee (Washington) 99 (50+49) 32%
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto) 94 (44+50)
Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma) 90 (45+45)

2012
The format for this season was changed so that each participant had 3 dunks, and the results would be entirely decided by fan voting online, via text messaging, and (for the first time) via Twitter.

Player Voting results
Jeremy Evans (Utah) 29%
Chase Budinger (Houston) 28%
Paul George (Indiana) 24%
Derrick Williams (Minnesota) 19%

2013
The final round was decided by fan voting via text messaging.

Player First round Finals
Terrence Ross (Toronto) 99 (50+49) 58%
Jeremy Evans (Utah) 90 (47+43) 42%
Eric Bledsoe (L.A. Clippers) 89 (39+50)
Kenneth Faried (Denver) 89 (39+50)
Gerald Green (Indiana) 83 (50+33)
James White (New York) 77 (45+32)

2014
A team format was adopted this year. The first round was a Freestyle Round, with the winning team choosing the order of dunkers for the Battle Round. The Battle Round was then composed of one-on-one "battles", with the first team to three victories being the champion.

John Wall was voted Dunker of the Night.

Freestyle Round
Division Members Result
East Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
John Wall, Washington Wizards
Won
West Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
Lost
Battle Round
Division Player Result
East Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors Won
West Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Lost
East Paul George, Indiana Pacers Won
West Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors Lost
East John Wall, Washington Wizards Won
West Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings Lost

2015
This year saw the return of the voting style that was last used in 2007.

Player First round Finals
Zach LaVine (Minnesota) 100 (50+50) 94 (45+49)
Victor Oladipo (Orlando) 89 (50+39) 75 (31+44)
Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn) 76 (40+36)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) 65 (30+35)

2016

Player First round Finals Tie-break 1 Tie-break 2
Zach LaVine (Minnesota) 99 (50+49) 100 (50+50) 50 50
Aaron Gordon (Orlando) 94 (45+49) 100 (50+50) 50 47
Andre Drummond (Detroit) 75 (36+39)
Will Barton (Denver) 74 (44+30)

2017

Player First round Finals
Glenn Robinson III (Indiana) 91 (50+41) 94 (44+50)
Derrick Jones Jr. (Phoenix) 95 (45+50) 87 (37+50)
DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) 84 (41+43)
Aaron Gordon (Orlando) 72 (38+34)

2018

Player First round Finals
Donovan Mitchell (Utah)[28] 98 (48+50) 98 (50+48)
Larry Nance Jr. (Cleveland) 93 (44+49) 96 (46+50)
Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas) 89 (39+50)
Victor Oladipo (Indiana) 71 (31+40)

2019

Player First round Finals
Hamidou Diallo (Oklahoma City)[29] 98 (48+50) 88 (43+45)
Dennis Smith Jr. (New York) 95 (45+50) 85 (35+50)
Miles Bridges (Charlotte) 83 (33+50)
John Collins (Atlanta) 82 (40+42)

2020s[edit]

2020

Player First round Finals Tie-break 1 Tie-break 2
Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami) 96 (46+50) 100 (50+50) 50 48
Aaron Gordon (Orlando) 100 (50+50) 100 (50+50) 50 47
Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee) 95 (45+50)
Dwight Howard (L.A. Lakers) 90 (41+49)

2021
The final round was decided by judges.

Player First round Finals
Anfernee Simons (Portland) 95 (46+49) 3
Obi Toppin (New York) 94 (48+46) 2
Cassius Stanley (Indiana) 81 (44+37)

2022

Player First round Finals
Obi Toppin (New York) 90 (44+46) 92 (45+47)
Juan Toscano-Anderson (Golden State) 87 (44+43) 69 (39+30)
Jalen Green (Houston) 83 (38+45)
Cole Anthony (Orlando) 70 (40+30)

Criticism[edit]

Historically, the dunk contest drew some mild criticisms. One is that players who often compete in these contests are seen as dunkers only (with the obvious exceptions of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Julius Erving), which is why notable high flying athletes like Shawn Marion and LeBron James have sometimes refused to participate.[citation needed] High-profile players such as Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley have also declined to participate citing it as an unnecessary risk to injury.[citation needed] In the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Tracy McGrady injured his wrist while performing a dunk.[citation needed] Also in the 1995 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Tony Dumas hurt his knee while performing his "Texas Twister" dunk.[citation needed] Although a longtime critic, LeBron James said he would perform in the 2010 Slam Dunk Contest. This decision was made after watching the 2009 dunk contest when Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson went at it. However, he withdrew his statement once the All-Star Weekend came around.[citation needed]

The 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Competition between Nate Robinson and Andre Iguodala drew much criticism because players were not penalized for missing a dunk attempt. Consequently, Robinson attempted a single dunk 14 times before completing it.[30] Prior to the 2007 competition, the NBA changed a few rules to prevent excessive dunk attempts. Each participant has two minutes to complete their dunk. At the end of the two minutes allotted, they then have their number of dunk attempts limited to two.

Records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest odds, picks: All-Star Weekend predictions, best bets from expert on 85-67 run". CBSSports.com. February 19, 2022. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sheehan Jr, Vinny (February 16, 2018). "Reliving the first Slam Dunk Contest with David Thompson". Pack Pride. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  3. ^ Pluto, Terry (2011). Loose Balls. Simon and Schuster. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-4391-2752-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e Medworth, Whitney (2017-03-08). "Darnell Hillman won the NBA dunk contest in 1977. He finally got his trophy". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  5. ^ a b c d e "History of the dunk". nbahoopsonline.com. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al "NBA Slam Dunk Contest: A look back at the posterizing dunks by all 30 champs". List Wire: USA Today Sports. 2022-02-20. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  7. ^ a b c d Beslic, Stephen (April 1, 2021). "How Julius Erving inspired the ABA to come up with a Slam Dunk Contest". Basketball Network. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest" (video) in "How Julius Erving inspired the ABA to come up with a Slam Dunk Contest". by Stephen Beslic (April 1, 2021)Basketball Network. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Bradham, Matthew (2018-02-17). "Remembering David Thompson Landing the 1st EVER 360 in the 1st EVER Dunk Contest". Pack Insider. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  10. ^ Greene, Nick (2015-04-01). "A Brief History Of The Slam Dunk". Mental Floss. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  11. ^ Dalton, Kyle (2020-03-12). "Why Did the NCAA Ban Dunking for 10 Years?". Sportscasting | Pure Sports. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Dr. Dunk Rates His Competition". NBA.com.
  13. ^ a b Dwyer, Kelly (March 9, 2017). "1977 NBA Slam Dunk champ Darnell Hillman is finally given a trophy, 40 years later". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  14. ^ a b "For Dunk Contest: Hillman Shirt Different". The Victoria Advocate. June 12, 1977. pp. 5C. Retrieved July 18, 2022 – via Google News.
  15. ^ "Walker Wins One for His Father". The New York Times. 12 February 1989. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  16. ^ Gardner, Matthew. "Howard's Sticker Dunk Doesn't Impress Judges". NBA. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Howard wins Slam Dunk title". ESPN.com. 17 February 2008.
  18. ^ "Dwight Howard takes flight on All-Star Saturday Night!". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  19. ^ "Zach LaVine explodes on national stage, wins 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk".
  20. ^ Pina, Michael (2016-02-14). "Zach LaVine tops Aaron Gordon in epic slam dunk contest".
  21. ^ "NBA All-Star rosters, participants and more". SBNation.com. 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  22. ^ "Everything so convenient for NBA in dunk contest. | CelticsLife.com – Boston Celtics Fan Site, Blog, T-shirts". CelticsLife.com. February 20, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  23. ^ "Blake Griffin Won the NBA Dunk Contest: Too Bad It Was Fixed". Bleacher Report. February 20, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  24. ^ "Slam Dunk Contest Rigged?". NBA Fan Voice. February 21, 2011. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  25. ^ "Nate Robinson thinks the dunk contest is rigged". Probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com. 9 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  26. ^ "Blake Griffin COULDN'T lose Slam Dunk contest?". Ben Maller. February 28, 2011. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae "NBA Slam Dunk Contest Winners". Sports Illustrated. February 13, 2015. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  28. ^ "Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell to replace Aaron Gordon in 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk". NBA.com. February 5, 2018. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  29. ^ "NBA All-Star 2019: Slam Dunk Contest results, highlights from Hamidou Diallo's win". sportingnews.com. February 16, 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  30. ^ "5-foot-9 Robinson soars to Slam Dunk title". MSNBC. February 19, 2006. Archived from the original on February 25, 2006. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  31. ^ Matt Wong (February 21, 2006). "Robinson wins dunkfest amid controversy – NBA – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-08-07.