The NBA Slam Dunk Competition has always been the most anticipated event of NBA All-Star Weekend. At around 10pm on a Saturday night in mid-February stars from the world of music, movies, and sports crowd into the arena hoping to see something they’ve never seen before.
More entertaining than the feats of athleticism performed on the court are the facial expressions of the NBA stars and celebrities in the aftermath of a nasty slam. Sometimes a contest is so good it is sad that someone has to lose. Below are the top 5 dunks in a contest by an NBA player who did not win. Enjoy!
5. Shawn Kemp tomahawk dunk (1991)
It is amazing that Shawn Kemp has never won a slam dunk contest. It was not for lack of trying. Kemp entered five contests and lost all of them including this one. He actually made the finals in 1991 against Dee Brown and made a valiant run at the title with this length of the court effort. It may look like a normal one-handed slam, but replayed in slow motion Kemp takes off and is spread eagle, his back leg nearly hitting his lower back before throwing it down. To say you have to be very flexible to pull this dunk off is an understatement. Kemp lost to Brown who, already having the contest locked up, unveiled the look-away dunk to cement the victory and send Kemp on his way to being the Buffalo Bills of the dunk competition.
4. Dwight Howard sticker dunk (2007)
Big men don’t usually fare well in dunk competitions because they are already tall. For this reason Dwight Howard had to be creative to have a chance. Despite his size Howard is a big kid so it is no doubt he would have the crowd in the palm of his hand. Speaking of which, when Howard went up for the one-handed slam off an alley-oop pass from teammate Jameer Nelson with his right hand, he slapped the backboard with his left hand. Simple right? The crowd thought so until Howard and Nelson began pointing to the top of the backboard where in the upper left corner lay an autographed sticker of Howard’s smiling face. Howard brought out the tape for good measure to show how high he got up: 12 feet 6 inches. He also dunked effortlessly on a 12 foot rim, two feet higher than the regulation size. Brilliant. Still he lost to Boston Celtics Gerald Green (see below).
3. Dominique Wilkins windmill dunk (1988)
As outrageous it is to think that Shawn Kemp has never won a dunk contest, that Dominique Wilkins hasn’t won more than two of the five contests he entered is a shock. In 1988 the long awaited rematch between Wilkins and Michael Jordan finally took place (Wilkins beat Jordan in 1985, Jordan was injured in 1986 when Wilkins lost to Spud Webb). Problem for ‘Nique was that it was held in Chicago, Jordan’s stomping grounds. You can pick any Dominique dunk from this competition, but this windmill sums up the sheer power of Wilkins. He attacked the rim like it slapped his momma. It was beautiful. Jordan got the victory in what was highly regarded as a hometown victory.
2. Gerald Green cupcake dunk (2008)
Gerald Green did not make much of an impact as a player for the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves while he was in the NBA, but he was one of the most creative dunkers in contest history. In 2007 he took the dunk title with classic fare like leaping over a table, pulling out a throwback Dee Brown jersey and fresh-out-the-box white Reebok pumps to replicate Brown’s famous no-look slam from the 1991 contest and added Nate Robinson as a human obstacle to jump over in the process.
Back to defend his crown the next year Green placed a cupcake with a lit candle in the space between the rim and the backboard and proceeded to blow the candle out in mid-air before dunking the basketball. The cupcake never moved. TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith, a creative past dunk contest contestant, could not contain his excitement and neither could the rest of the building once they saw the replay. Unfortunately Green was upstaged by Dwight Howard’s Superman dunk.
1. Andre Iguodala behind the glass reverse dunk (2006)
With the help of teammate Allen Iverson, Iguodala pulled off this beauty off the back of the apparatus. Never before done and since duplicated this flush should have won the 2006 competition, but Iggy came up short, pun intended, to Nate Robinson.