The NBA Slam Dunk Contest has always been one of the fan favorites of the All-Star Weekend. Many contestants have stand their ground throughout the years – some have failed, others have made the NBA history books with their mind-blowing dunks. While the legend of His Airness dominated the 1990s, new talents have stepped on court and stepped up their game after the turn of the millennium.
Vince Carter, Mr. “Half Man, Half Amazing”, performed magic in the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest with the 360 Windmill against the grain. You could feel the electricity inside the building while VC made every difficult dunk look easy. Today, at age 40, Carter is not only part of a playoff-bound Grizzlie team, but still shows his skills from time to time. He’s not quite as springy as he once was, but his legacy as the greatest dunker in NBA history will remain intact for a very long time. Others have tried to challenge this title, though. Year in and year out, the dunk competitors have become more and more creative in their attempt to give the crowd the most insane performance. It was not about showing off your skills anymore, but who got the craziest ideas on court. Jumping over cars, hilarious costumes, mascots as assistants – the Slam Dunk Contests had it all. For Javalee McGee, one basketball and one basket wasn’t even enough anymore in 2011.
The Dunk Contest had turned quite dusty the last years, but Zach LaVine livened the contest up in 2015. He reached 50 points two times and left his competitors in the dust. It was difficult to imagine an even better performance of the Timberwolves’ Shooting Guard, but he outdid himself one year later. The NBA Dunk Contest 2016 killed it all. The showdown of LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon, Small Forward of the Orlando Magic, outshined every previous battle. 50 points per dunk were no longer a rarity! With Zach LaVine out for the rest of this season, the Slam Dunk Contest will miss one of the star dunkers of this era, but Gordon will use this chance and take revenge for last year’s loss.
This saturday, February 18th, the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest will present itself in the best light again. In anticipation of the All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, we take a look back at the best dunk contests since the turn of the millennium:
2000 – HALF MAN, HALF AMAZING
2002-2004 – THE ERA RICHARDSON
2008 – THE SUPER-DUNKER
2009 – ROBINSON OVER HOWARD
2011 – THE CASE BLAKE GRIFFIN VS. JAVALEE MCGEE
2016 – THE REBIRTH OF THE DUNK CONTEST