W10: Best Dunks from the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

We are just a few days away from the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend.

One of the staples of the event is clearly the Slam Dunk Contest, which has had its share of memorable moments over the last 25 years. Big names like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin have taken part in the event, only to see their stock around the league skyrocket after winning.

Fans love their slam dunks. If you can give the fans a show, they will forever love you for it.

Unfortunately in 2012, the hype around the event is at its worst. In what is being called the weakest field yet, low-profile players in Paul George, Derrick Williams, Chase Budinger and Jeremy Evans (replacing the injured Iman Shumpert) will participate and try to give the fans something to remember on Saturday night.

For those of you who have little interest in seeing the leftovers of the NBA participating in what will surely be a lackluster event, I have comprised a list of the 10 greatest dunks of all-time from the Slam Dunk Contest to give you something to feel good about this All-Star weekend. 

10) “That was sweet!!” Josh Smith pumps it over Kenyon Martin

This slam by Josh Smith is criminally underrated. The distance from where Smith caught the pass from Martin and the fact that he windmills the ball in the air really adds to the beauty of this dunk.

9) “There it is young gun!” Iguodala comes from behind the backboard!

If Andre had a bigger head, he probably wouldn’t have been able to nail this dunk. It also helped that Allen Iverson was finally able to land the perfect pass off the backboard. You have to be pretty crazy (or creative) to even want to attempt a dunk such as this.

8) “Webb comes through in the clutch”  Spud Webb goes reverse off the bounce!

How a guy standing only 5’7 was able to perform slam dunks so flawlessly is beyond me. Spud made dunking as a little guy cool. It was as if he had rockets in his legs. Just look at how high Webb was able to get off the court. It was amazing!

7) “Superman is in the building!”  Dwight Howard is ready for liftoff! 

This was a slam dunk despite many critics saying that it wasn’t. Who cares if he didn’t touch the rim? A slam dunk is…..

A shot in which a player thrusts the ball emphatically down through the basket.

Case closed people. Dwight Howard’s showmanship with his Superman inspired outfit made this as humorous and entertaining as it was breathtaking.

6) “Look at the air, look at the hang time, look at the flying motion!” Air Jordan kisses the rim!

I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky!  The way Jordan kicks his legs in the air and soars above the rim made it appear that man could fly. This dunk was art in every sense of the word.

5) “That’s gotta be a 50!” Michael Jordan soars from the free-throw line!

This slam is synonymous with Michael Jordan’s career. The pose he does in the air with the ball behind his head and his legs pumped backwards while jumping from the free-throw line is legendary in the game of basketball. Dr. J also had a famous jump from the charity stripe, but Jordan took the dunk and perfected it.

4) “Let’s go home ladies and gentleman! ” Vince Carter does the REVERSE windmill 360!

It’s hard enough to do a 360 rotation in the air, but to windmill the ball while turning away from the basket in the process is just out of this world. You can sit there and watch this slam over and over again and it wouldn’t get old. It certainly doesn’t get old for me.

3) “He’s got the flu! He’s sick!”  J-Rich goes off the glass between the legs! 

This looked like it came right out of a video game. It was difficult to imagine anyone taking the “between the legs” concept and raising the bar with that kind of dunk, but Richardson did just that. Watching J-Rich toss the ball off the backboard, catch it in the air, put it through his legs and then slam it with authority is my personal all-time favorite moment of the Dunk Contest.

2) “I’ve seen something I’ve never seen before!”  J-Rich goes between the legs backwards!

It took me a while to fully comprehend what I had seen when I first saw this dunk. It all happened so fast that it wasn’t until the instant replay that I got a chance to truly appreciate how amazing this slam was. I still can’t believe Richardson was able to nail this on his first attempt. It’s probably the most difficult dunk ever made in the history of the contest.

1) “It’s over!!”  Vince Carter goes between the legs off the bounce!

This is THE dunk of the Slam Dunk Contest. Is Vince Carter the greatest dunker ever?

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