Friday, 24 February 2012
10 TOP ALL-STAR SLAM DUNK WINNERS
Ten For Ten
By Tim David Harvey
Honourable Mention-You just knew Blake was going to get it. The most exciting highlight of the last All-Star weekend was as creative as ever on Saturday, as the dunk contest was a slam dunk of a success. Blake Griffin won the contest by jumping over a car as he caught Baron Davis alley-out the sunroof. OK, so he only jumped over the bonnet of the car but still he wasn't wearing Kobe's 'hyperdunks'. It was still good enough for his choir and everyone in the arena to believe he could fly. Blake also rolled out an impressive array of dunks, including a 10 out of 10, 360, a tornado of a windmill and a honey dip dunk, where he went deeper into the jar then Vince did, (he's got the marks to prove it). Runner up, Javale McGee was also incredible, dunking two balls in two baskets and then jamming three balls in one go. DeMar DeRozen also had a bag of tricks and Serge Ibaka represented Africa to the full raising flags, saving kids toys with his teeth and jumping from further away from the free throw line then Mike and the good Doctor did. Rim rock and roll all round.
10. ISAIAH RIDER: Who shot J.R. that night in '94? Because whoever did got the perfect picture. As Isiah took it back ten years to the eighties and Orlando Woolridge. Rider rode the baseline and put it between his legs before he planted it in the hoop at the dunk contest in Minnesota, representing his Timberwolves. It's a shame that this man's playing career was also a royal flush because at one time the man could of been king. At least for that evening, he was on the throne.
9. HAROLD MINER: Sure his NBA career wasn't what people expected, but boy did Minor make a major mark on the dunk-contest. He may have never been the heir to Jordan's throne but he is in the elite company of 'Like Mike' dunkers who have won the contest more then once. Plus that between the legs reverse will always be re-winded between NBA TV and Youtube for decades to come. That's still a lasting legacy, shame about his league legend.
8. DEE BROWN: Gerald Green paid homage to Boston history with a little help from Nate Robinson and won the 2007 dunk contest by looking to the past and covering his eyes. Still as good as the Celtic's Green was, (birthdays and all) nothing beats an original. When Dee Brown took off and covered both his eyes with his forearm he not only dunked the basketball but he changed the way the dunk contest were seen in the NBA. From then on a new style of complicated dunks where ushered in. So we take our hand a little higher over our eyes and salute Dee.
7. KOBE BRYANT: Kobe's one of those guys that you wish you'd see more of in the dunk contest, especially in his air-balling, sky-rocketing, pre-fro' early days. Still these days the dunk contest seems as fashionable as throwback jerseys, but still both are cool. Plus, they both like to be enjoyed but not tried on, as Kobe has been one of the most upstanding spectators for performances like Dwight's in 2008. Still in 1996 it was this bald-headed rookie that was getting the fans out their seats. He didn't even take off his warm-ups for a complicated reverse jam. Still, it was no sweat, it was just Kob'.
6. NATE ROBINSON: If it wasn't for Spud Webb before him then Nate would have been higher. Still this little man with big hops, leads all winners as the only player to win the contest three times. OK, so popular consensus might not have liked the win last year, but everybody loved what Nate was doing en route to his first win in 2006, (despite those who thought Igudola should have been the reigning, rim rocker). In a new decade where tribute dunks have become the trend, Nate did one better and jumped over his idol and small, big dunk legend Spudd Webb. Then two years later Robinson went one better again, donning the New York Knick, ST. Patrick Green and some florescent green trainers to form 'Krypto-Nate'. Superman, Dwight Howard had met his match as Nate the great cleared him and took off to the rim. As Robinson dunked over Dwight he performed a little dance that told the crowd, it's over. He may not be in the contest this year, but best believe he will be missed. No matter what they say.
5. SPUD WEBB: The original, small man was there decades before Nate and even defeated team-mate and superior slammer Dominique Wilkins one year. Spud amazed the crowd with his dunks, as he bounced the ball and jumped like he had electric springs in his step. Webb has drawn all sorts of fans from the arena in 1986 all the way to Internet blogs today. Webb at 5,7 looked like a child dunking the peach but still showed he had the potatoes to risk looking like a fool in front of millions. What the audience witnessed however was genius and a dunking revolution.
4. DOMINIQUE WILKINS: When it came to the dunk, Dominique dominated and thanks to some epic battles with Michael Jordan he made the contest more then just exciting, he made it interesting. Taking the crown 26 years ago in '86, 'Nique was one of the first to do it and every dunk from this soaring Hawk-even in losing contests-was classic like the American Eagle. As Wilkins spread his wings the dunk was expanded into the basketball world. Now he may have done this in games every night but in the dunk contest Wilks was able to show it in all it's glory, victory or not.
3. VINCE CARTER: Vince Carter may be one of the most important Slam Dunk winners of all time. Why? Because with Air Jordan gone and the contest on a two year hiatus, Air Canada needed to really arrive in Oakland for the new millennium...and boy did he arrive taking the contest out it's departure days. He brought a tornado reaction with his windmill, had people spinning with his 360, and brought people like bee's to his sweet, honey dip. He damn near broke his arm on that play. These where the type of moments that made a man who is now the most hated in Toronto one of the most popular basketball players of all-time. His dunks where so good that he even made us forget about Steve Francis great stuffs and those of cousin and then team-mate Tracy McGrady. Still, when T-Mac threw the alley and Vince got it between his legs for the oop, Carters to-camera reaction was all she wrote. Vinsane!
2. DWIGHT HOWARD: Dun, Dun, DUUUUUUUUUUUUH! Just when you thought it was over for the copycat, routine dunk contest, Dwight Howard channelled Vince Carter's redefinition and revolutionised the dunk contest in 2008. The previous year, Dwight stickered a 12 foot, bible-belting slam, but '08 would be a real testament to his pure power. Not only did he show poise and finesse, by tapping the ball of the glass to himself and slamming home, the big joker also drew trademark smiles by switching from a small basket to a big one. Still, the real big one of the night, was when he donned a superman vest and cape and took off from the free-throw line. He flew so high he literally threw the ball in the hoop. A year later he went one better and dunked on a 12 foot rim and entertained everyone from Phoenix to the rest of the world. 'Krypto-Nate' may have beat him fair and square but at the end of the day without Superman Lex Luthor would have no challenge.
1. MICHAEL JORDAN: Mike is the best ever period, in any game (well, maybe not rounders) and back to back in 1987 and 1988, Mike showed the NBA that the real high-light of the All-Star weekend might just be on a Saturday. Mike duelled, duked and dunked it out with Dominique, turning him into the dunk contests Los Angeles Lakers to Jordan's Boston Celtics. In beating all his opponents, Mike didn't just give us a show, he put on a clinic. Even doctors and scientists couldn't figure out how this man did what he did. Even if you argue that there has been better dunks, try and think of what image best represents the contest,(or hey, even Jordan's career) then the one of him taking off from the free throw line, with his arm raised, legs cocked and gold chain glistening and flying. Can't think of anything? That's because the whole reason you watch this sport and even want to dunk begins with this man and with that this ends here.