UA-59049186-1 Top 5: Dunk Contest Performers

Top 5: Top 5 Dunk Contest Performers

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5. Nate Robinson

The only three time champion starts off the list at number five. America loves an underdog and Nate fits in perfectly. He’s been in four competitions, and has won three of them. Nate is a showman, an entertainer, and a great dunker. He set up his dunks in an entertaining fashion and played to the crowd which made for great contests. Although, his 2006 victory was the most agonizing thing to watch in the history of this competition.

4. Dominique Wilkins

“The Human Highlight Reel” is the best power dunker of all time. Every dunk in these competitions was thunderous and executed so aggressively (which add to the dramatics of the dunk). His battles with Michael Jordan in 1985 and 1988 made the dunk competition the highlight of All-Star Weekend. Seeing these guys dunk so effortlessly in the 80’s is a testament to their athletic ability. Although he was a great dunk contest competitor, there was not much creativity in Dominique’s dunks, just all power.

3. Michael Jordan

“Air Jordan” is one of the best dunk contest dunkers of all time. Although I didn’t get to witness his great performances in person, I can relive them through various mediums now-a-days. It’s interesting to watch these videos of him and older players dunk, because what they did at the time was extremely innovative, and now we take it for granted because everybody can do what they did. What makes those guys great is the fact that although it is imitated, it still isn’t executed as well as Mike did. Bill Walton recently came out saying that Mike is an “Average athlete”, which is fine, it just confirms the speculation that Bill Walton has been on peyote for all of his life. Jordan was consistent in dunk contests, so much so that he reused the same dunks in a span of three competitions. The “iconic” free-throw line dunk was used in two different competitions, and his creative genius wasn’t as flowing as it is now when he gets kids to buy the same shoes over and over again. His battles in 1985 and 1988 with Dominique Wilkins were great, and something that were special for that time.

2. Vince Carter

Vince had the single greatest slam dunk competition performance ever recorded in NBA history. With the NBA returning from the lockout season and no competition the previous year, the dunk contest was fresh and something entertaining that we all needed to see. The likes of Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, and Jerry Stackhouse rounded out an impressive lineup of dunkers to compete, but Vince ran away with the competition. His first round he scored a damn near flawless 149 points. He brought back a special energy to an event that is the highlight of All-Star Weekend. My only gripe with Vince is that he was one and done. Yes, the contest catapulted his career to another level, but I always felt like there was more he could’ve done. In later years, Magic Johnson even goes on to say “Come back Vince, you got somebody who can compete with you now”. The 2000 contest was special because it put interest back into the lackluster competition; something that was held in a high regard in its earlier years by Superstar athletes such as Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan. It also created a unprecedented standard for dunk contest performances, which is why the competition is in such dire shape now. Vince Carter not only stole the show, he set an unbelievable standard that players are afraid to attempt to match.

1. Jason Richardson

I know I went totally against the grain here and chose J Rich over Vince Carter, but it’s a choice I am extremely confident in. Jason Richardson, just like Vince Carter, allowed the dunk contest to springboard his career to another level. At a time when superstar players would forego the contest due to injuries, Richardson saw an opportunity, and capitalized on said opportunity. After the 2000 Dunk Contest with Vince Carter and Steve Francis, we were at a point where we believed we saw every dunk that was humanely possible. In the year prior, we saw Desmond Mason win his first and only championship in the contest. That victory spawned a 3 year-long battle between the two; most notably the 2003 Dunk Contest. His only knock is that he is a two foot jumper. It made for an ugly free-throw line dunk during the “Ask the Wheel” portion of the 2002 contest (in which he defeated defending champion Desmond Mason).

The reason Jason is in the number one spot; his overall body of work is better than Vince’s. He has dunks from 2002-2004 that will not be duplicated and his performances in all of the contests were memorable. He’s not a better dunker than Vince by any means, but he’s performed greatly in the contests in which he has participated.

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