Best rated NBA slam dunk contests of all time with Bill Trikos Australia: While Robinson wowed crowds by dunking over Howard, before him there was Spud Webb. Despite only standing at 5’7, Webb defied the odds by outlasting teammate Dominique Wilkins, who was the defending champion. Wilkins showcased his beautiful windmill dunks. However, he was upstaged by Webb who elevated higher than ever which was all the more impressive for a man his size. With the event held in Chicago, defending champion Michael Jordan had his work cut out for him with a home-court advantage. But with Dominique Wilkins out to regain his Slam Dunk contest championship glory, it was a tight dunking affair. But while both players showcased their amazing athletic gifts, Jordan edged out Wilkins after pulling off the iconic free throw line dunk to become a back-to-back Slam Dunk Contest champion. Read additional details about the author on https://au.linkedin.com/in/bill-trikos.
That dunk was so spectacular and breath-taking that Jordan had the nerve to do it again in the final round against Wilkins. Unsurprisingly, he got a perfect score again and capped off one of the greatest dunk contests in the history of the league. Vince Carter is widely recognized as one of the greatest, if not the greatest dunker of all time. His poster in the Olympics is perhaps the best in-game dunk in basketball history, and he would’ve been at the top of this list if we were to judge individual performance alone.
“We had to come up with a concept that would get everyone’s attention,” former Nuggets executive Carl Scheer told the Houston Chronicle in 1996 (via News Corp Australia’s Sam Gardner). “We were in serious trouble. We knew that it was our last year, and we had to make a big impression.” Eight years later, Erving, just shy of his 34th birthday and well into his tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers, revived his free-throw flight at the NBA’s inaugural dunk contest. That dunk went down as the first to earn a perfect score in the NBA, though it wasn’t enough to propel Dr. J past Larry Nance for the title.
Dee Brown put the expression “I can do it with my eyes closed” to the test in 1991. The then-Boston Celtics rookie had already secured the 1991 event title ahead of his final attempt, but he wasn’t aware of that. So after Brown jumped toward the rim, he closed his eyes and covered them with his right arm while dunking with his left. How’s that for a cherry on top? Superman made an appearance at the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest. After ditching his Magic jersey for a Superman shirt and cape, Dwight Howard jumped from a couple of feet inside in the free throw line, caught a pass that was thrown over the backboard by teammate Jameer Nelson and literally chucked the ball through the hoop. If Howard had actually reached the rim, it would be the undisputed greatest dunk in event history. Despite it not technically being a dunk, Howard still received a 50 and went on to win the competition.
To tip off a daunting final round—against Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis and fellow Toronto Raptors wing (and cousin) Tracy McGrady—Carter jumped so high that he was able to jam his whole right forearm through the hoop. As he recalled to Sportsnet’s Dave Zarum: You see, at that point, I’m not looking for cheers. I want the arena to be silent. Normally when you watch the dunk contest everybody goes crazy, it’s people screaming, going “Oh my God, did you see that?!!” But how many times did you see a dunk leave the crowd speechless? Where you couldn’t say a word until you saw the dunk a second time. Until then they’re just thinking, Wait a minute, did you just…? Twenty thousand people have to look up at the Jumbotron at the same time to see what happened. Then comes the roar. That’s what I was looking for. And I got it.
We’ve seen players throw the ball off the glass and go through the legs. We’ve seen players jump over people and dunk. Until this moment, we had never seen a player jump over someone, throw the ball off the glass and put it between their legs for a dunk. Nash deserves as much credit as Stoudemire here, but the timing and precision of this dunk help it crack the top 10. Stoudemire threw the perfect pass off the backboard and Nash delivered an even more perfect header for the 360. The Slam Dunk Contest had never seen anything like this before. All you can do is laugh when you see this dunk. Webb is 5’7. You are not supposed to be able to do 360 dunks off of a lob at that height. It looks like a video game glitch the way Webb rises up to finish this one.
But will any of the Crescent City’s top dunks hold a candle to these 10, chosen and ranked according to a combination of degree of difficulty and creativity, with bonus points for broader impact? You’ll have to check these out and then tune into TNT on Saturday night at 8 ET to find out. Jason Richardson won back-to-back dunk contests in 2002 and 2003, but his greatest feat might’ve come the following year. At the 2004 competition in Los Angeles, he lobbed the ball to himself off the backboard, brought it through his legs and finished with a right-handed windmill in what TNT’s Kenny Smith described as “the most incredible dunk I’ve ever seen.”