Tuesday, February 26, 2008


If there was ever a doubt that Superman could fly, 6'11 Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard answered that question with his cape flying, gliding dunk from the free throw line in round 2 of the 2008 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest. Crowned the winner by unanimous vote by the All-Star judges (Magic Johnson, Darryl Dawkins, Dominique Wilkins, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, and Karl Malone) and 78% of fans worldwide, Howard's high flying antics were reminiscent of Michael Jordan, Dee Brown, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant hey day when the windmill, 360, one hand reverse, blind (one hand covering the eyes) and gliding from the free throw line were king. It was these dunks that set the standard for excellence and raised the bar to make the dunk contest the most anticipated event during All-Star weekend next to the All-Star game.

Since then there have been dunks that have captured the attention of and delighted audiences everywhere and earned that player entry into the dunk contest hall of fame.

2000 -- Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
Reverse 360 dunk
Through the legs off the bounce dunk
Two-handed dunk from the free throw line
Vince Carter 2000 Slam Dunk Contest

2003 -- Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors (Only dunk champion to two-peat since Jordan in the 80's)
Two-handed off the bounce reverse dunk
One-handed reverse (off the bounce, racing down the baseline and jumping with his back to the basket)
Jason Richardson 2003 Slam Dunk Contest

2004 -- Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors
Underhand, off the glass, between the legs, one-handed dunk
2004 Slam Dunk Contest Highlights

2005 -- Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Off the glass (at an angle), high off the glass, off Steve Nash's head for an alley-oop, spinning with a one hand flush dunk
2005 Slam Dunk contest Highlights

2005 -- Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks (Second youngest player to be crowned Dunk Champion)
Donning a Wilkins throwback jersey, windmill dunk
Leapfrog over Kenyon Martin, for an alley-oop dunk
360 reverse spin dunk

2006 -- Nate Robinson, New York Knicks (Only player under 6 ft other than Spudd Webb to win a dunk contest)
Bounce pass for a soaring jump over Spudd Webb dunk

Nate Robinson 2006 Dunk Contest Highlights

Regardless of the intensity and notoriety that the past 6 years of dunks have ignited, no dunk contest winner has sparked more recent hype than Dwight Howard. Living up to his hype in the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest, Howard rocked the crowd with an donning a superman cape and shirt, launched off the ground from just beyond the free throw line, skyrocketing the ball through the net, erupting a wave of perfect ten cards shooting up in a tidal wave of thundering applause and flashbulbs.

Technically speaking, the dunk of the night was a shot but WHO CARES?!! This year fans witnessed a return to creativity that the contest has only witnessed in spurts. Howard put the hit out on returning champ Gerald Green early, rounding out the first round with a head behind the backboard dunk. It was a improved version of Andre Iguodala's 50 in 2006. Held to the edge of my best friend's couch, the replay of Dwight Howard spinning and contorting his body mid-air, released a chorus of oohs and ahs, followed by a bevy hysterical giggles from my lips as my friend and I expressed mass disbelief at the monster dunk that had just flashed across the screen.

You gotta be KIDDING ME! This 6'11 wonder with the broad shoulders and boyish white tooth grin had just banged a 50 pointer home!

A tough act to follow would be putting it lightly but somehow, Minnesota Timberwolves guard, Gerald Green putting the icing on the cake so to speak with a dunk he called "Birthday Cake." I swear if the replay hadn't been shown on this one, the genius of this creative dunk would of been lost on me. As I watched, Green climb a ladder, place a lone cupcake at the top of the basket and climb back down, I couldn't fathom what he possibly was gonna do? Sing Happy Birthday? Dunk without making the cup cake fall off the rim?

Maybe next time, he'll don a birthday hat, dunk, blow the candle out and lick icing off his fingers after taking a bite! Ha ha

(MJ on the Evolution of the Game)

“I’ll give you a great example of the evolution of the game,” Jordan said. “In the slam dunk contest, the major feat was to take off from the free throw line. Dr. J was the first to do it, then I did it. What was different about the way the two of us did it?” When a pause produced no answer, Jordan said: “Dr. J, when he took off, he ran. I dribbled, which is harder to do because you’ve got to get your rhythm together. People never even noticed that. That was my way of improving on what Dr. J did. That was taking it to the next level—the evolution of the dunk. And then in the All-Star Game in 2000, Vince Carter took off with two hands from the free throw line. That’s the evolution of how change happens. Dr. J ran, I dribbled and Vince Carter is adding the two hands, which is increasing the norm.”

The evolution of the slam dunk champion continues...

More on 2008 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest

2007 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest and Past Dunk Contests


Bradley said...

UH....I dug "supermans" dunk...I am always impressed when a big man demonstrates the fast twitch muscle capability and athleticism to move like a guard. Dwight Howard, Amare, Shawn Kemp, Kevin Garnett, Shaq ('89 to '03), Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Chuck Barkley, Larry Johnson, to name a few...these guys are big men...pivot players but they have the reflexes and athleticism of smaller men...

Anonymous said...

With all thhe dunks that have gone before you have to do something amazing to top what has been done by the past champs!! Remember one slam dunk champ was only 5'6!

Anonymous said...

Dwight Howard definitely did the unthinkable when he made that dunk..It is good to see different things in the slam dunk contest that makes it interesting, but here is the thing..What would happen if you have a slam dunk contest with the contestant being LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Jason Richardson, John Smith, and Dwight Howard..Who would win that matchup?..It is entertaining and fun for us fans to see..I have not seen a big man jump that high since Larry Nance and Kenny "Sky" Walker...Tall or small, everybody has their special talent..First, it was Nate Robinson winning, being the first player under 6' feet to since Anthony "Spud" Webb..The only dunk I want to see an NBA player do is the 720 done by the Air Up There repping H--Town on the And 1 Mix Tape Tour..

Qiana M said...

I mentioned him. He was Spudd Webb. Nate Robinson came after him and incorporated him in his dunk which I listed in the blog. Every guy listed and not listed did something noteworthy in making Dunk Contest history. Some stand out more than most like every guy I listed such as Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, Vince Carter etc and the ones before them Michael Jordan, Spudd Webb, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant etc. Got to pay homage to the past before talking about the future.

JohnnyK said...

I'm sorry but I wasn't impressed with the NON-dunk in the Slam DUNK contest. I was way more impressed with his first dunk.