Slam Dunk Contest
The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest is a special event held annually at the NBA's All-Star Weekend, usually as the nightcap to All-Star Saturday. The event was first held in 1984 and, after a two-year hiatus in the late 1990s, has been held each year continuously since 2000.
The event has its roots in the ABA Slam Dunk Contest of 1976 and once featured the league's biggest stars. In recent years, the NBA has used the event to spotlight young talent.
In 1984, the NBA expanded its All-Star Game to include special events on the day before the game, including a legends game and a slam dunk contest. The first NBA Slam Dunk Contest was held in the same city -- Denver -- as the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest. Julius Erving, who'd won the 1976 contest, impressed the crowd with a free-throw line dunk, but was upset by Suns forward Larry Nance. The next season, Dominique Wilkins won the first of his two titles, followed by his teammate Spud Webb, who at 5-foot-7 remains the shortest player ever to win the dunk contest.
Michael Jordan lost to Wilkins in the finals in 1985, and missed the 1986 contest due to injury, but returned to win in 1987, beating Portland's Jerome Kersey in the final. A year later, Jordan and Wilkins once again put on a show, posting the highest scores in each of the first two rounds, before staging one of the most memorable finals in contest history. Jordan earned a perfect 50 on his final dunk to win in front of his hometown crowd.
Both Jordan and Wilkins skipped the 1989 contest, opening the way for the Knicks' Kenny "Sky" Walker to take his only title -- the first of four for the franchise.
Dominique Wilkins returned to the stage in 1990, becoming just the second player (after Jordan) to win multiple Slam Dunk Contest titles. However, it marked the end of an era, as neither player would compete in the contest again. With top league stars passing on the contest more and more often, it opened the way for dunking specialists to win the title. Dee Brown won in 1991 with his famous "cover the eyes" dunk, then was one-upped the next year by Cedric Ceballos, who completed his second dunk in the final round while blindfolded.
With the popularity of the dunk contest waning, the event was cut down from three rounds to two beginning in 1993, with the top three competitors in the first round advancing to the finals. Harold Miner won the first of his two titles that season, followed by Isaiah Rider in 1994 and Miner again in 1995.
The 1994 contest also saw the introduction of a timed first round, giving the competitor 90 seconds to complete as many dunks as he wanted and receiving one score for the period.
After lackluster contests in 1996 and 1997 -- won by Brent Barry and Kobe Bryant with relatively non-original dunks -- the slam dunk contest was pulled from All-Star Weekend in 1998. The following year there was no All-Star Weekend due to the NBA's lockout.
The Slam Dunk Contest returned in 2000 with one of the most memorable contests in the entire run. The six-man field was filled with mostly notable names, and a pair of Toronto Raptors teammates electrified the crowd. Tracy McGrady scored a 99 in the first round, with a 49 and a 50. However, he was one-upped by Vince Carter, who showed off an array of dunks that hadn't been seen before. Carter had two perfect 50s in the first round, and followed it up with a 50 and a 48 in the finals to beat out the Rockets' Steve Francis for the title.
However, the next year's dunk contest took a step back, as the NBA was unable to capitalize on the success and creativity shown in 2000. In 2002, the field was cut to four players, who were arranged in a bracket. That year, the NBA also introduced the highly unpopular "dunk wheel", in which one of the judges spun a giant wheel to determine which popular dunk from the past the competitors would try to emulate. This took originality out of the equation, while also forcing some dunkers to attempt dunks they were physically incapable of doing. The wheel and the tournament format were scrapped for 2003, but the four-person field remained, with Jason Richardson taking his second consecutive title.
The 2005 contest returned to Denver, and Josh Smith took the title, famously dunking in a Dominique Wilkins throwback jersey while emulating one of Wilkins's past dunks. While Josh Smith, Amar'e Stoudmire and J.R. Smith all wowed the crowd with their athleticism, the 2005 Dunk Contest also featured Chris Andersen, who needed 15 attempts to execute one of his dunks in the first round.
In 2007, the contest was judged by a panel made up entirely of past winners -- Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Julius Erving and Vince Carter -- and featured an athletic and creative field. Magic center Dwight Howard completed a dunk with his right hand while placing a sticker on the backboard two-and-a-half feet above the rim with his left. However, Howard failed to advance beyond the first round. Gerald Green beat out Nate Robinson, in part by dunking over Robinson by covering his eyes in homage to Dee Brown. Green also did a windmill dunk over a table to earn a perfect 50 in the final round.
The next year the NBA introduced fan voting as the method of determining the winner in the finals, though judges still scored the first round dunks. Dwight Howard earned a perfect score for his dunk in which he donned a Superman caped and jumped from the free-throw line, throwing the ball in from a few feet away from the rim. Howard was beaten the next year by Nate Robinson, who donned a green "Krypto-Nate" jersey and jumped over Howard to complete a dunk. Howard had earned two perfect scores in the first round, including one for successfully dunking on a 12-foot rim.
Nate Robinson returned to successfully defend his title in 2010, becoming the first three-time slam dunk contest champion. He beat DeMar DeRozan 51-49 in the final fan vote, the closest margin in the three years of fan voting. DeRozan got into the contest by defeating Eric Gordon in a "dunk-in" during halftime of the Rookie Challenge the previous night.
The 2011 contest featured DeMar DeRozan, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka and JaVale McGee. DeRozan was chosen to replace Brandon Jennings, who missed the contest due to a broken foot. Dunking in front of his hometown crowd in Los Angeles, Griffin took the title. For his final dunk, he took an alley-oop pass from Baron Davis, who was inside a Kia sedan, and jumped over the hood of the car while a choir sang at midcourt. After the contest, DeRozan criticized the use of props by the other three contestants (McGee had used multiple baskets and Ibaka had used a child's teddy bear), and said he would only enter again if it was a "propless" dunk contest.
In 2012, the format was again modified, reducing the event to a one-round, three-dunk competition with the winner decided by fan voting. The multi-round format was re-introduced in 2013, with the finals pitting the top scorer in the first round from each conference. Judges scored the first round, while fan voting decided the champion. The contest, won by Terrence Ross of the Raptors, was once again criticized for lacking the star power that had been present in the '80s, '90s and early '00s.
A revamped format for the contest debuted in 2014, pitting the two conferences against each other in a 3-on-3 format. Team East, consisting of John Wall, Paul George and 2013 winner Terrence Ross, trumped Team West's Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore. Wall was named Dunker Of The Night.
2007 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Gerald Green, Celtics||95||91|
|Nate Robinson, Knicks||90||80|
|Dwight Howard, Magic||85|
|Tyrus Thomas, Bulls||80|
2005 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Josh Smith, Hawks||95||100|
|Amar'e Stoudemire, Suns||95||87|
|J.R. Smith, Hornets||90|
|Chris Andersen, Hornets||77|
2002 Slam Dunk Contest Tournament
|Desmond Mason, Sonics||84|
|Jason Richardson, Warriors||98||Richardson||85|
|Steve Francis, Rockets||77||Wallace||80|
|Gerald Wallace, Kings||84|
1993 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Harold Miner, Heat||94.8||97.4|
|Clarence Weatherspoon, 76ers||87.5||92.2|
|Cedric Ceballos, Suns||87.3||79.8|
|David Benoit, Jazz||85.8|
|Kenny Smith, Rockets||85.0|
|Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Nuggets||80.8|
|Tim Perry, 76ers||70.0|
|Shawn Kemp was scheduled to compete, but withdrew due to injury|
1992 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Cedric Ceballos, Suns||85.4||90.4||97.2|
|Larry Johnson, Hornets||98.0||98.0||66.0*|
|Nick Anderson, Magic||88.6||89.8|
|John Starks, Knicks||89.6||87.9|
|Doug West, Timberwolves||84.1|
|Shawn Kemp, Sonics||81.4|
|Stacey Augmon, Hawks||79.5|
|*Johnson did not attempt his final dunk, as Ceballos had already clinched the title|
1990 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Dominique Wilkins, Hawks||96.3||97.7||146.8|
|Kenny Smith, Kings||93.0||98.3||145.1|
|Kenny Walker, Knicks||95.2||97.4|
|Shawn Kemp, Sonics||98.2||96.4|
|Scottie Pippen, Bulls||92.2|
|Rex Chapman, Hornets||92.1|
|Billy Thompson, Heat||91.4|
|Kenny Battle, Suns||85.8|
1989 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Kenny Walker, Knicks||91.3||96.4||148.1|
|Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers||93.7||95.0||49.5*|
|Spud Webb, Hawks||94.5||91.8|
|Shelton Jones, 76ers||89.5||90.6|
|Tim Perry, Suns||89.4|
|Jerome Kersey, Trail Blazers||88.9|
|Ron Harper, Cavaliers||88.5|
|Chris Morris, Nets||83.2|
|*Drexler did not attempt his final dunk, as Walker had already clinched the title|
1988 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Michael Jordan, Bulls||94||145||147|
|Dominique Wilkins, Hawks||96||143||145|
|Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers||88||133|
|Otis Smith, Warriors||87||109|
|Jerome Kersey, Trail Blazers||79|
|Greg Anderson, Spurs||76|
|*Ron Harper was scheduled to participate, but withdrew due to injury|
1987 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Michael Jordan, Bulls||88||148||146|
|Jerome Kersey, Trail Blazers||92||147||140|
|Terence Stansbury, Sonics||99||144|
|Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers||92||136|
|Ron Harper, Cavaliers||83|
|Johnny Dawkins, Spurs||81|
|Tom Chambers, Sonics||62|
|Gerald Wilkins, Knicks||62|
1986 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Spud Webb, Hawks||141||138||100|
|Dominique Wilkins, Hawks||Bye*||138||98|
|Terence Stansbury, Pacers||129**||132|
|Gerald Wilkins, Knicks||133||87|
|Jerome Kersey, Trail Blazers||129**|
|Paul Pressey, Bucks||116|
|Roy Hinson, Cavaliers||112|
|Terry Tyler, Kings||110|
|* Dominique Wilkins received a first-round bye as the defending champion|
** Terence Stansbury defeated Jerome Kersey in a dunk-off to break their first-round tie
1985 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Dominique Wilkins, Hawks||145||140||147|
|Michael Jordan, Bulls||130||142||136|
|Terence Stansbury, Pacers||130||136|
|Julius Erving, 76ers||Bye*||132|
|Larry Nance, Suns||Bye*||131|
|Darrell Griffith, Jazz||126|
|Orlando Woolridge, Bulls||124|
|Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers||122|
|*Erving and Nance received first-round byes as the finalists from the previous contest|
1984 Slam Dunk Contest Results
|Larry Nance, Suns||134||140||134|
|Julius Erving, 76ers||134||140||122|
|Dominique Wilkins, Hawks||135||137|
|Darrell Griffith, Jazz||121||108|
|Edgar Jones, Spurs||118|
|Ralph Sampson, Rockets||118|
|Orlando Woolridge, Bulls||116|
|Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers||108|
|Michael Cooper, Lakers||108|
NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champions
|2014||John Wall||Team East||New Orleans|
|2013||Terrence Ross||Toronto Raptors||Houston|
|2012||Jeremy Evans||Utah Jazz||Orlando|
|2011||Blake Griffin||Los Angeles Clippers||Los Angeles|
|2010||Nate Robinson||New York Knicks||Dallas|
|2009||Nate Robinson||New York Knicks||Phoenix|
|2008||Dwight Howard||Orlando Magic||New Orleans|
|2007||Gerald Green||Boston Celtics||Las Vegas|
|2006||Nate Robinson||New York Knicks||Houston|
|2005||Josh Smith||Atlanta Hawks||Denver|
|2004||Fred Jones||Indiana Pacers||Los Angeles|
|2003||Jason Richardson||Golden State Warriors||Atlanta|
|2002||Jason Richardson||Golden State Warriors||Philadelphia|
|2001||Desmond Mason||Seattle SuperSonics||Washington, D.C.|
|2000||Vince Carter||Toronto Raptors||Oakland|
|1997||Kobe Bryant||Los Angeles Lakers||Cleveland|
|1996||Brent Barry||Los Angeles Clippers||San Antonio|
|1995||Harold Miner||Miami Heat||Phoenix|
|1994||Isaiah Rider||Minnesota Timberwolves||Minneapolis|
|1993||Harold Miner||Miami Heat||Salt Lake City|
|1992||Cedric Ceballos||Phoenix Suns||Orlando|
|1991||Dee Brown||Boston Celtics||Charlotte|
|1990||Dominique Wilkins||Atlanta Hawks||Miami|
|1989||Kenny Walker||New York Knicks||Houston|
|1988||Michael Jordan||Chicago Bulls||Chicago|
|1987||Michael Jordan||Chicago Bulls||Seattle|
|1986||Spud Webb||Atlanta Hawks||Dallas|
|1985||Dominique Wilkins||Atlanta Hawks||Indianapolis|
|1984||Larry Nance||Phoenix Suns||Denver|