10 Fearsome But Forgotten Dunks From NBA Slam Dunk Contests
When most people think of NBA All-Star Weekend, the first event that comes to mind is the slam dunk contest.
From Michael Jordan’s historical free throw line dunk, to smaller players like Spud Webb and Nate Robinson showing that even little men can jam, the aerial exploits in the NBA slam dunk contest are some of the greatest moments in NBA history.
For all the memorable dunks that happen in the competition, there are several which are forgotten for a myriad of reasons — they happened in a losing effort or were overshadowed by more memorable jams.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 best slam dunks that aren’t usually mentioned as “remember that!” moments in the history of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
2006 Slam Dunk Contest: Andre Igoudala bangs his head on the basket
In this classic dunk, Andre’s teammate Allen Iverson stands behind the basket and feeds him the ball off the back of the backboard. In the process of the dunk, Andre bangs his head on the bottom of the backboard, but still executes the dunk.
The effort earned Andre a perfect score but Nate Robinson ended up taking the title in one of the most hotly-contested dunk contests of all-time. Many fans who watched the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest in Houston believe Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Igoudala was robbed of the title.
2009 Slam Dunk Contest: Rudy Fernandez soars around basket for dunk
The 2009 Slam Dunk Contest ultimately came down to a battle between Orlando Magic big man Dwight Howard and New York Knicks little man, Nate Robinson.
However, the first round saw Portland Trail Blazers rookie Rudy Fernandez turn in an impressive slam dunk with help from fellow countryman Pau Gasol. Gasol used the back of the backboard to set Fernandez up for a soaring dunk that he finishes on the other side of the glass.
Under normal circumstances, the dunk would have garnered a score of 50, but since the dunk took nearly two minutes to accomplish, it didn’t garner much love from the judges.
2001 Slam Dunk Contest: Desmond Mason flies over Rashard Lewis
If you asked most people who won the 2001 Slam Dunk Contest, you might be hard-pressed to find someone who will tell you the right answer.
The correct answer is Seattle Supersonics forward Desmond Mason and one of the dunks which propelled him to victory was this large leap over teammate Rashard Lewis. Prior to this dunk, players had dunked over people before but Mason took off sideways to make the dunk look even more impressive.
Sadly, Mason’s efforts in 2001 were overshadowed and compared to Vince Carter’s legendary display the year before.
1991 Slam Dunk Contest: Shawn Kemp double-pump slam
It seems almost bizarre that one of the greatest slam dunk artists of the 1990’s didn’t win a slam dunk competition in his career.
Well, that’s the case for Seattle Supersonics forward Shawn Kemp who had his best opportunity to win it all in 1991. The below jam showed Shawn taking off from near the free throw line and soaring to the basket for a powerful dunk.
Ultimately, Kemp lost the crown to Celtics guard Dee Brown who pumped-up his shoes and finished Kemp off with a nasty blind one-handed dunk.
1997 Slam Dunk Contest: Darvin Ham touches the backboard on reverse jam
The rules for the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest held at Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio were different than the current rules for the competition.
The first round featured a running clock of one minute for each participant to throw down as many dunks as possible.
Denver Nuggets rookie Darvin Ham provided one of the more unique dunks of the competition as he touched the backboard with his hand while throwing down a reverse dunk.
Despite that effort, Ham didn’t even clear the first round of the competition which was ultimately won by Lakers rookie Kobe Bryant.
2000 Slam Dunk Contest: Steve Francis rocks the cradle
Ultimately, any dunk done in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest not by Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter will be overshadowed no matter how good the effort.
Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis’s second dunk of the first round is one of those dunks.
The attempt saw Francis giving himself a lob which allowed him to perform a “cock back” cradle dunk that showed off his athleticism and soaring ability.
2008 Slam Dunk Contest: Gerald Green’s Birthday Cake blow-out
After winning the contest in 2007 with the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Gerald Green attempted to win back-to-back titles at the All-Star Game in New Orleans.
Green’s first attempt of the night required teammate Rashad McCants to put a cupcake with a birthday candle on the back of the rim. Rashad then lit the candle and gave Green the opportunity to blow it out as he finished the jam.
Green was able to pull off the impressive feat but it wasn’t enough as Orlando’s Dwight Howard “Supermanned” his way to victory.
2007 Slam Dunk Contest: Dwight Howard “Sticker Dunk”
Dwight Howard has arguably one of the greatest dunks in the first round of competition history.
With the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, Dwight attempted to have the basket heightened for one of his attempt.
After the NBA shot that idea down, he decided to provide the world with a dunk that used a smiling photo of himself on a sticker to impress the judges.
Dwight took a lob pass from teammate Jameer Nelson and slammed the ball down with one hand while putting the sticker on the backboard.
Due to the low scores on the attempt, Howard didn’t even get out of the first round of the competition which was ultimately won by Gerald Green.
1984 Slam Dunk Contest: Dr. J takes off from the free-throw line
In NBA history, there are few more memorable moments than watching Julius Erving take off from the free-throw line during the 1976 ABA All-Star contest.
Flash forward to 1984, Dr J. pulled the same stunt to try and win the first ever NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Julius made the attempt look almost easy as he soared from the free throw line for the dunk.
Doc had a chance to seal the win but failed on his next attempt which gave Phoenix Suns forward Larry Nance a chance to steal the prize and become the first NBA Slam Dunk champion.
1989 Slam Dunk Contest: Kenny Walker does 270 windmill dunk
The final forgotten dunk on our countdown came sandwiched between the Jordan/Wilkins duels for slam dunk supremacy.
Kenny “Sky” Walker was a third year forward with the New York Knicks and wasn’t expected to do much in the competition.
However, Kenny got the final round and showed off his aerial abilities with the below windmill jam that brought the Houston Summit crowd to their feet.
A quick postscript: Walker won the competition over Clyde Drexler and ended up dedicating his victory to his father who passed away only three days earlier.