The dunk contest is my favorite All-Star event in sports, bar none. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a creative dunk flawlessly performed for the first time, then watching the crowd (and announcers) go absolutely insane afterward. In anticipation of this year’s contest in Dallas, I came up with my five favorite contest dunks of all time based on creativity, performance (a.k.a. Nate Robinson’s 12 tries at one dunk won’t cut it), and crowd reaction.
Honorable Mention: Dwight Howard’s Superman Dunk (2008)
This… whatever it is… is impressive. The crowd reaction is awesome and the originality is off the charts. The only reason it’s not on the actual list is because it’s not actually a dunk. Howard’s sticker dunk and 12-foot rim were also impressive, but not as much as the 5 on my list.
5. Gerald Green’s Cupcake Dunk (2008)
The most underrated dunk of all-time. If it weren’t for Dwight Howard’s Superman
dunk fastball, this was the most original dunk of the contest. The judges were about as impressed as Charles Barkley, but I think they would have changed their minds if they had access to the replay.
4. Nate Robinson’s Krypto-Nate Dunk (2009)
The announcers were less than impressed with Nate Robinson’s leap over Dwight Howard, but I loved it. Like the Superman dunk it’s based off of, the originality is off the charts (those shoes are beyond sweet). Krypto-Nate needed to push off of Howard’s back to get over, but the whole performance (from Howard willing to do this, to Nate busting out in green, to the Superman-dat-hoe at the end) puts it over the top in my book.
Check out the top three dunks of all time after the jump…
3. Michael Jordan’s Free Throw Line Dunk (1988)
As far as the actual dunk goes, it’s really not that impressive anymore. A lot of NBA players can do this, and it seems like LeBron James does it nightly on a fast break. But it’s easily the most iconic dunk in the history of mankind, and this list just wouldn’t feel right without it.
2. Jason Richardson’s Between-the-Legs Reverse (2003)
This dunk has it all: the originality (“I’VE SEEN SOMETHING I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE”), the performance, and the insane crowd reaction everyone loves. It makes a strong push for my #1 with J-Rich’s Michigan ties. Richardson was the last MSU product to compete in the dunk contest. Hopefully Shannon Brown can live up to his predecessor’s standards this year.
1. Vince Carter’s 360 Windmill (2000)
Shaq’s reaction to this dunk says it all. In reality, Vinsanity’s entire 2000 performance could make up half of this list, but his first dunk set the tone for the entire night. Kenny Smith’s “Let’s go home!” quote was true to form, as VC had the judges in the palm of his hand the rest of the night. Had they gone home, they would have missed one hell of a show. Carter revitalized the dunk contest one year after the contest was cancelled due to the NBA lockout with four dunks that no one had ever seen before. Check out the video to see all four, plus the reactions and thoughts of several NBA personalities.
Disagree? Wish Brent Barry had made the list? Let us know in the comments.