Top rated NBA slam dunk contests by Bill Trikos: The Slam Dunk Contest is one of the spectacles to watch during the NBA All-Star weekend. Throughout NBA history, we’ve seen the best dunkers in the league showcase their freakish athleticism in the annual dunking exhibition. From using cars, candles, and even grown men, dunkers have a lot of things at their disposal to show basketball fans the best dunk they have to offer. Although some dunk contests are forgettable, others will be remembered forever. For this piece, let’s rank the 10 best NBA Slam Dunk contests of all time. Discover more details about the author on Bill Trikos Australia.
That was also in full display during the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest. Fans were more impressed by Dwight Howard‘s Superman apparel than they should’ve been and voted him as the champion, even though he didn’t have any of the best dunks of the evening. Gerald Green used a step ladder to finish a breath-taking windmill. Then, he went through the legs for an explosive dunk despite being barefoot and later blew a candle on a cupcake sitting on top of the rim. He was spectacular and blatantly robbed.
That display of next-level artistry earned LaVine a perfect 50 and pushed him past Gordon to become the sixth repeat winner—and the fourth back-to-back champion—in dunk contest history. So while his challenger may have won the battle for single best dunk, LaVine was a worthy winner of the best Slam Dunk Contest war this side of MJ vs. ‘Nique. Chances are, that’s the last we’ll see of LaVine in a dunk contest. But if the 21-year-old recovers smoothly from his devastating knee injury, he’ll have ample opportunity to put opponents on posters for years to come with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On a list of the most creative dunks, this might rank No. 1. In 2008, then-Minnesota Timberwolves guard Rashad McCants placed a cupcake on the back of the rim and lit a candle that was on top of the pastry. McCants then bounced the ball to teammate and defending champion Gerald Green, who stretched out to corral it and throw down a two-handed dunk. While the jam didn’t look all that spectacular in real-time, the slo-mo replay showed just how cool of a maneuver it was as Green blew out the candle mid-dunk. Somehow, this wasn’t a perfect 50.
Nate Robinson is the most decorated diminutive dunker of all time, with three All-Star Weekend crowns in his trophy case. But the best slam ever pulled off by someone so far below 6’0″ belongs to Spud Webb. The Dallas native put on a show for his hometown at Reunion Arena, punctuated by a sky-high bouncing lob that Webb caught and converted into a reverse, spread-eagle slam. The jaw-dropping display helped the rookie outduel Dominique Wilkins, his Atlanta Hawks teammate and the NBA’s defending dunk champion, in a face-off that was ultimately decided by just two points in the final.
The Slam Dunk Contest has been one of the most exciting and electrifying events of NBA All-Star Weekend since it debuted back in 1984. There have been several signature moments that are unforgettable in NBA history, ranging from battles between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins in the 1980s, to highflyers like Vince Carter taking center stage in the 2000s, to historic showdowns featuring Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon in the 2010s. The Slam Dunk Contest has undoubtedly lost its luster over the last few years, with fewer superstars taking part in the event and contestants running out of original ideas that haven’t already been done. That’s why we’re taking a trip down memory lane to remember and honor the glory days of the event, ranking the 10 best perfect scores over the years.
Topping the last two years of the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest will be a tall order for 2017’s contestants. Aaron Gordon, who pushed Zach LaVine to the brink in Toronto last year, will be the odds-on favorite to finish on top at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. However, he’ll have plenty of competition from one longtime contest target (DeAndre Jordan) and a pair of relative unknowns (Glenn Robinson III and Derrick Jones Jr.).