The NBA slam dunk contest has for 35 years showcased the artwork of the jam. Exhausting-core and informal followers alike tune in to the occasion yearly, trying to see one thing they’ve by no means witnessed earlier than. With the rise of social media, creating one thing utterly novel has gotten more durable and more durable, however dunk males maintain discovering new and distinctive methods to make us ask ourselves, “However how?”

Generally attempting one thing new goes too far, like in 1997, when Michael Finley tried a cartwheel in the midst of his try. He failed miserably, however nobody can say he wasn’t pondering exterior the field. Innovation would not essentially equal a win within the dunk contest, nevertheless it by no means goes unnoticed.

From Spud Webb within the 1980s to Vince Carter in 2000 to Aaron Gordon within the 2010s, these are probably the most inventive, jaw-dropping slams within the historical past of the dunk contest.

Spud Webb, 1986

Webb grew to become the shortest individual ever to win the dunk contest in 1986. The 5-foot-7 level guard defeated 6-foot-Eight Dominique Wilkins with two good 50-point dunks within the remaining spherical, one on which he bounce-passed off the backboard to himself.

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Vince Carter, 2000

Earlier than the competition began, Carter advised choose Kenny Smith that he had 4 dunks nobody had ever seen. This honey-dip dunk on which Carter caught his entire forearm via the rim was the icing on one of many biggest performances in contest historical past.

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Cedric Ceballos was the primary to finish a blindfolded dunk in 1992, however Davis tried to place his personal — ahem — spin on the trick 9 years later, including a windmill and naming it “blind man’s bluff.” The bluff half will need to have referred to his air ball on the try.

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Iguodala requested his teammate Allen Iverson to kiss a move off the bottom of the backboard whereas he ran in from the nook, grabbed the move and reversed it into the ring. He predictably smacked his head on the backboard the primary time, however on the second strive, he was cash.

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Nate Robinson, 2006

Nowadays, dunk contestants love leaping over upright people, however Robinson did it first. Contestants had jumped over solely sitting or kneeling topics earlier than the 5-foot-9 three-time dunk contest champion introduced aforementioned dunk contest legend Spud Webb out of the gang to pay homage.

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Gerald Inexperienced, 2008

In relation to dunk contest props, nobody has carried out it higher than Inexperienced. The person blew out a lit candle on prime of a cupcake on prime of the rim whereas dunking a basketball. And the cupcake by no means moved!

AP Photograph/Invoice Haber

Iconic. That is the one strategy to describe Howard’s launch from simply past the free throw line. Michael Jordan, Julius Erving and others had carried out the free throw line leap earlier than, however Howard set himself aside by catching the ball in midair earlier than stuffing it.

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Associated: Professional picks for 2020 dunk contest, Rising Stars, All-Star Recreation

McGee’s 2011 efficiency was all about multiples. First, he dunked two balls in two completely different hoops with absolute ease. Then he put three balls via the identical hoop. It may be argued that type of creativity deserved to win, however then …

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… this occurred. Griffin’s leap over a Kia will probably be a part of his NBA legacy. Probably the most underrated a part of the dunk was Baron Davis, who threw a lob for Griffin out of the sunroof. Oh, and there was additionally a choir for some cause?


Steve Nash’s soccer expertise have made two dunk contest appearances. In 2005, Amar’e Stoudemire took an alley-oop off Nash’s head. Then Nash returned in 2016 to supply the help for Drummond. It took them six tries, however the ball lastly discovered the online.

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Aaron Gordon, 2016

Not solely did Gordon full this unimaginable dunk over the Orlando Magic mascot, however he additionally jumped over Stuff whereas he spun round on a hoverboard. A 12 months later, Gordon introduced out a drone to supply the help. His center title is Innovation. Look it up.

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If Nate Robinson set the bar, Glenn Robinson III raised it. He utterly cleared the very best impediment within the dunk contest — a man sitting on one other man’s shoulders — and completed it off with a clean reverse windmill.

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Jones had barely performed within the NBA earlier than his 2017 dunk contest look, however he already had a status amongst followers, because of his high-flying pregame dunk reveals. He pushed the envelope in New Orleans however got here up brief in opposition to Robinson within the remaining. He is again this 12 months in Chicago, the place he’ll face off in opposition to fellow innovators Gordon and Howard and first-timer Pat Connaughton, who may need one thing sudden up his sleeve.

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