The Slam Dunk Contest is always the main event of NBA All-Star Weekend as some of the league's most athletically gifted players take centre stage to show off their hops and creativity.
Take a look at some of the defining moments of the Slam Dunk Contest with a handful of the event's most memorable jams over the years.
In chronological order...
1976 - Julius Erving from the free throw line
Okay, so this is from the ABA Slam Dunk Contest, but it still can't be left off this list. Dr. J's iconic dunk from the free throw line was the first of its kind when the legend pulled it off in 1976. Since then, it's been mimicked a few times as a staple of the Slam Dunk Contest.
1986 - Spud Webb's 360 dunk
You can find the 360 dunk I'm referencing at the 34-second mark, but do yourself a favour and just watch the whole clip. At 5'7, Spud Webb is the shortest player in NBA history to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest, and he beat out his teammate Dominique Wilkins - a notorious dunker - to win the 1986 contest. Someone that small should not be able to jump that high, it's that simple.
1988 - Michael Jordan from the free throw line
Again, the dunk in reference is at the one minute-mark as Michael Jordan launches from the free throw line in a similar fashion to Dr. J back in the day, but it appears that Jordan gets even more air on his try.
Jordan would go on to win the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest against Dominique Wilkins in a showdown that many considered - and some still consider - to be the best Dunk Contest of all-time. Enjoy all of their dunks in that clip.
1991 - Dee Brown's no-look dunk
Creativity and level of difficulty plays a huge role in the Slam Dunk Contest and Dee Brown checked both of those boxes with this one. No one had ever pulled off a no-look dunk in the Slam Dunk Contest prior to this, and nailing it on his first try gave him a perfect score. This is another slam that will be brought up every time a conversation breaks out about the best dunks in Dunk Contest history.
2000 - Vince Carter's 360 windmill, arm in the rim dunk
For a long time, this was considered - and again, is still considered by some - to be the best individual performance in the history of the Slam Dunk Contest. Typically, you save your best dunk for last but Carter brought out possibly his best in his first dunk of the contest, throwing down a vicious 360 windmill to get the crowd going.
He threw down another ridiculous windmill from behind the backboard, then it was the alley-oop through the legs that garnered his classic pose and "it's over" motion to the camera.
The final blow was the classic arm in the rim dunk, which will forever be iconic. You'll never see an all-time Slam Dunk Contest highlight reel without one, two, or all of these dunks included.
2003 - Jason Richardson reverse through the legs dunk
To this point in history we had seen a couple different variations of a through the legs dunk, but J-Rich was the first to pull off the reverse through the legs. Increasing its difficulty off of a lob to himself, Richardson earned a perfect 50 on this slam.
2008 - Gerald Green through the legs in socks
Gerald Green had won the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest and looked to defend his title in 2008. He would fall short to Dwight Howard, which we'll get to in a minute, but Green still had a handful of dunks that'll always be remembered.
One in particular based off of the degree of difficulty was Green throwing down a through the legs dunk in socks. Everyone knows how slippery socks are on a hardwood floor. To be able to pull off a dunk like that without any real traction is incredible.
2008 - Dwight Howard Superman dunk
As props became more popular in the Slam Dunk Contest, Dwight Howard used that to his advantage with this Superman dunk in 2008. Teammate Jameer Nelson stood well behind the backboard and tossed a lob over the hoop as Howard took off from just in-front of the free throw line, caught the pass and flushed it home.
2009 - Nate Robinson's "KryptoNate" dunk
Taking props a step further the following year, Dwight Howard came out of a phone booth with his Superman cape on to perform a dunk. Later in the contest, Nate Robinson - standing in at 5'9 - matched that energy with an all-green "Kryptonate" costume, dunking over the 6'11 Howard.
2016 - Every dunk from Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon
This is widely considered to have surpassed the 1988 showdown between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. LaVine and Gordon threw down some of the most insane dunks you'll ever see in your life. Creativity, difficulty, pure athleticisim - it had everything. Enjoy every dunk from that historic contest above.
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