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Ri-dunk-ulous: Top slams in dunk contest history

  • NBA's All-Star weekend is here
  • Check out which high-risers got their degree in dunkology 101
Blake Griffin

With the NBA's All-Star Weekend upon us, it can only mean one thing -- the return of the slam-dunk contest. 

We look back at some of the best slam dunks in the contest's history. And before you complain, we know. Blake Griffin (pictured above), Julius Erving, Nate Robinson didn't make the list. Heresy?!? Bear in mind, the list is very subjective. If you know of stellar dunks we missed, let us know in the comments below.

Spud Webb: Nobody thought the diminutive Atlanta Hawks point guard would stand a chance in the 1986 dunk contest in Dallas, Texas, but he had the hometown advantage as he wowed the crowd with an array of dunks. One of the most memorable was a toss from mid-court. The ball bounced once before he grabbed it and threw it down a reverse dunk.

Michael Jordan: There was little doubt that Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins would be in the finals of the 1988 dunk contest. There was a little controversy with the contest as 'Nique threw down a two-handed windmill dunk and the judges only awarded him a score of 45. Jordan, needing a 48 to tie and a 49 to win, jumped from the free throw line, tongue out and threw it down. The judges gave Jordan a 50 and the victory.

Kenny “Sky” Walker: The New York Knicks forward lived up to his nickname with his 270-degree windmill dunk in the last round of the 1989 dunk contest. His power and agility brought the crowd to its feet.

Shawn Kemp: It’s hard to believe that the Seattle Supersonics’ Shawn Kemp never won a NBA dunk contest. What’s even more shocking is the fact he didn’t get a perfect 50 in the 1991 dunk contest. For his second dunk in the final round, Kemp dribbled the length of the court before leaping from just inside the free throw line, with his left leg bent behind him and throwing it down with his right hand. The judges gave Kemp a 48. Boston Celtics star Dee Brown was crowned slam dunk king with his no-look dunk.

Vince Carter: The NBA took a break from the Slam Dunk contest in 1998 and 1999, but it came back in 2000. We were all witness to the dunking exploits of Vince Carter. From his first dunk all the way to the last, he wowed everyone with a variety of dunks many hadn’t been seen. Check out just a sample of what he did that fateful night. Suffice to say, he won the contest.

Amare Stoudemire: Combining soccer and basketball? Who says it can’t be done? Amare Stoudemire enlisted the help of then-Phoenix Suns teammate Steve Nash in the 2007 dunk contest. Off the backboard, off Nash’s noggin, into Amare’s hands, nothing but net!

Jason Richardson: Everyone knew Jason Richardson was a high-riser, but his between-the-legs, reverse dunk in the 2002 dunk contest just cemented his legacy. His dunk spurred Michael Jordan to crack a little smile.

Isaiah Rider: While his talent didn’t necessarily translate to wins on the court, Isaiah (J.R.) Rider's dunking ability was unquestioned. In the 1994 dunk contest, Rider came from the sideline, jumped in the air and went between the legs for the “East Bay Funk Dunk.” Charles Barkley said it was “the best dunk he’d ever seen."

Desmond Mason: He won the dunk contest in 1991 and two years later, he found himself back again. The former Seattle Supersonics star dribbled to the basket before passing the ball through his legs and throwing it down with his left hand. Kenny Smith was so impressed he said Mason needed a get-well card because his dunk was "sick." You be the judge. 

Kenny Smith: You know him now as a basketball analyst, but once upon a time, Kenny Smith had some serious ups. In the 1990 dunk contest, he stood at the free throw line with his back to the basket, bounced the ball through his legs, turned around, grabbed it and threw down the reverse dunk. Cue to 3:56 for the final payoff.

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