Slamming the Dunk Contest


"Everything that's worth inventing has already been invented." So said one of my dad's teachers in the early 1970s, more than thirty years before the Wii. While his statement is obviously ridiculous, when applied to the Slam Dunk Contest, he makes a good case. There might be a finite number of ways to dunk a basketball.

Pretend it's February 2027. I'm guessing this blog's future contributors won't look back wistfully at Saturday's win by Gerald Green. Last week, participant Tyrus Thomas said he was only going for the check (He finished last.)

But rather than get overly crusty, let's look back at highlights from the glory days.

Our first clip comes from the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest. Nine years after Randy Newman argued short people have no reason to live, 5'7" Spud Webb offered his rebuttal.

Fast forward twenty years, when Nate Robinson used Webb as a prop on the way to the title. It should be noted that, in the final round, Robinson missed approximately 528 dunks before finally making one. Slam Dunk Contest scoring is more baffling than scoring bowling.

No contest has rivaled the 1988 battle between Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan, the Pulp Fiction/Forrest Gump of Dunk Contests.

Dee Brown Pumps his way into the pop culture.

And if you're craving even more dunk-related nostalgia, here's the final round of the first contest in 1984, Larry Nance vs. Julius Erving.