Back in the 80s, the NBA’s yearly slam dunk contest gave the league popularity that it could only dream of. Unfortunately, the event died out a bit and became a little stale throughout the 90s. As the 21st century rolled around, the league’s athleticism and showmanship came back to the contest once again, allowing it to reach all new heights. As a life-long hardcore fan of the NBA, I have truly enjoyed seeing this event come back into popularity. It is easily the biggest thing I look forward to during each All-Star Weekend. Let’s take a look at who I think are the greatest dunk champions of all-time.
- Dwight Howard – 2008 Champion
Although “Superman” won only one slam dunk contest, he also gets an assist in Nate Robinson’s 2009 victory. Sadly for Dwight, the fans and judges are usually wowed more by smaller NBA players who are participating. However, Howard is easily the greatest big player to ever bring home the title. Dwight defeated Gerald Green in the finals, and is also one of a handful of players to ever receive a first round perfect score of 100, doing it in both 2008 and 2009.
- Nate Robinson – 2006, 2009 and 2010 Champion
Because of his size, many fans feel that Nate won his slam dunk contests with his style more than actual ability. Even still, Robinson holds more NBA slam dunk contest wins than any other player in the history of the event. His most memorable dunk is from 2009, as he jumped and dunked over one of the men he defeated, Dwight Howard. Others to be defeated by Robinson in the final round are DeMar DeRozan (2010) and Andre Iguodala (2006).
- Spud Webb – 1986 Champion
I couldn’t resist adding Spud onto my list of favorites. There is just something about a guy this much under 6-feet tall who can dunk with ease. I know what you are thinking, Michael Jordan wasn’t in the 86’ contest so it doesn’t count. Hey, it wasn’t Spud’s fault he wasn’t there, and Spud knocked off Dominique Wilkins in the final with a perfect score.
- Dominique Wilkins – 1985 and 1990 Champion
Many people don’t remember this, but there was a debate in the 80s as to who was the top young star in the NBA, Dominique or Michael Jordan. This debate was fueled by their epic slam dunk contest battles. Wilkins beat Jordan in the final to capture his 1985 crown.
- Michael Jordan – 1987 and 1988 Champion
Could there possibly be a list of NBA “bests” for any category, and have it not include MJ? Long before Jordan wrapped up his six NBA crowns with the Bulls, he was dazzling fans and his peers with incredible dunking skills. Jordan beat Jerome Kersey for the 1987 title and got his revenge on Wilkins by defeating him for the 1988 title. He is easily the best dunk winner we may ever see, and the reason he only won twice is because he chose to not enter many times.
Believe it or not, almost all of these players are not active now but have Twitter profiles! Check it out by doing free people search and finding their profiles instantly. Good luck!
- Five Sports Stars Who Refused to Let Age get in the Way (fryingpansports.com)