These Sensational Slam Dunk Contest Photos Will Make You Believe People Can Fly
NBA All-Star weekend is a festivity where all the stars come out to see some of the best athletes compete in friendly exhibition games and events. For one weekend in February, the best in the NBA collide to bring the fans what they want. You have the Skills Challenge, Three-point contest, and the main event Saturday night- the slam dunk contest. Of course, the All-Star game is a big deal on Sunday, but when these freakish athletes throw down some of wildest dunks you’ve seen, everyone loves it. Here are the most mesmerizing dunks over the past years.
Aaron Gordon Take A Seat Mid-air
Okay, the 2016 dunk contest might have been the best one since Vince Carter blessed everyone (more on him later). In this contest, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic put on a show, displaying true athleticism with all his dunk attempts.
In this specific jam, he leaped over his team’s mascot and grabbed the ball off his head in a seated position. They said he jumped as high as an Olympic bronze medal winner at the 2016 high jump competition. Don’t worry, Gordon will return.
Skywalker Jason Richardson
Seriously? Back in 2002 when Jason Richardson played for the Golden State Warriors he was one of the most elite airborne athletes in the NBA. Not only was he great at dunk contest slams, he would terrorize the rim in the real games as well.
In this dunk, it looks exactly like Richardson is walking on air on his way to the rim. Not only that, but he also windmilled the ball while he was at it.
With The Double Courts
JaVale McGee is one of the most athletic players in the NBA, measuring in over seven feet tall. In 2011, he showed us exactly why this is true. Facing stiff competition, he had to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
That’s when McGee called for another basket. Fans didn’t know what to expect, but they’re glad they got to witness this remarkable slam. Dunking on two separate hoops at the same time has never been done.
Look Out Below
Nate Robinson stands at 5’9″. That’s about the average height of men. The average height in the NBA is 6’7″. People as tall as Robinson can’t even touch the net, let alone slam dunk a ball. Then, he took it up one level.
Robinson called for Dwight Howard who is 6’11” to be the subject of his dunk. Robinson leaped over Howard as the crowd watched in awe. Not even Robinson believed that he made that dunk.
Carter Hangs On
Vince Carter is one of the greatest dunkers of all-time. They don’t call him “Half-man Half-amazing” for jokes and giggles. His leaping ability was something special.
While he isn’t the same Carter that pulled this dunk off in 2000 that helped him win, he still has some juice in him. As the oldest player in the NBA as of the 2019 season, many can only reminisce about the glory days of Carter pulling off unbelievable dunks.
As if Michael Jordan doesn’t have some of the most iconic dunks in the history of the NBA. The court was his playground and we just watched like proud parents as he had his fun. When Jordan stuck his tongue out, you knew something epic was going down.
Here is his free throw line dunk that won him the contest in 1988. Even the top dunkers can’t replicate this insane feat.
The Car Leap
Like we said earlier, JaVale McGee had some stiff competition to work against in 2011. McGee might have dunked on two hoops, but Blake Griffin brought the house down with this one as he leaped over a Kia to win the contest.
Before he did it, he brought out a local choir to sing and get the audience more hyped. It was the perfect showmanship for an incredible slam dunk. How did the car get in there?
Zach Lavine Soars
Bringing it back to the 2016 contest, we have the winner Zach Lavine. In a duel against Aaron Gordon from earlier, the two of them gave the fans what they needed. This is the progression of his version of the free throw line dunk.
The only difference is, Lavine did it with a pass from his teammate, unlike Jordan. Not only did he have to secure the ball mid-air, but the timing also had to be perfect before he could throw it in.
Up, Up, & Away!
If there were ever a crowd-pleaser, then Dwight Howard was that guy. The 6’11” center hopped into a phone booth before stepping out in a Superman costume with the theme music playing in the background.
Nobody knew what to expect, people just knew something freakishly athletic was about to happen. Sure enough, Howard pretty much became perfectly horizontal in the air before he threw down this Superman dunk. It received a perfect score because how could it not.
Two Basketballs, One Hoop
Jeremy Evans might not have been a household name back in the 2012 dunk contest, but he sure made sure those who watched knew him once he was finished. The Utah Jazz player asked his teammate Gordon Hayward to sit in a bar chair and prepare for a serious slam.
Holding two apples in separate hands is already tough enough, so you meant to tell us he was in the air with two basketballs while jumping over someone?
Fun With The Mascot Pt. 2
Gordon is back for more. This time, instead of jumping over the mascot, he asked for his pal to spin around on a hoverboard. As he spun around, Gordon had to time when to scoop the ball out of its hands and proceed to do a 360 of his own.
Look at the faces on the sideline, specifically, the player on the far right in blue. He can’t believe what he just witnessed and neither did anyone else watching once he made the dunk.
Don’t Hurt The Cheerleader!
Derrick Jones Jr. gave celebrities and fans alike a show in the 2017 dunk contest. He was the favorite to win, and although that didn’t happen, he didn’t fail to perform. He gave us this mesmerizing slam in the process.
Jones Jr. lined up a teammate, the Phoenix Suns Mascot, and a lucky cheerleader as he went between his legs. Impressive to say the least, jumping over three people is already something to behold, honestly.
How Did He?…
In 2007, super leaper Gerald Green surprised fans when he pulled this move out of his bag. When he placed his competition right before the basket, we were already enthused. However, he took it up a notch when he became airborne.
Green covered his eyes in what was homage to Dee Brown, a former Boston Celtic who did the same, just minus jumping over someone. Props to him for even having the courage to attempt this dunk.
The Rookie Stole The Show
In 2018, rookie Donovan Mitchell showed us why he deserved to be in the contest. The freak-of-nature pulled off some highly demanding dunks to secure his victory that year. He was almost like an acrobat.
When you combine that with his colorful jersey and sneakers, it was just an overall very pleasing thing to witness. Simply having the ball like that in the air and bringing it up to the rim before falling is utterly amazing.
Carter Flushes It Home
If you thought we were done showcasing Vince Carter’s 2000 slam dunk contest, think again. Carter quite literally flew during this competition and it wasn’t fair for the others involved. When you’re practically eye level with the rim, you’re at least nine feet in the air.
On this slam, he asked for his cousin Tracy McGrady (also in the contest that year) to bounce the ball off the ground for him. That allowed Carter to soar high before putting the ball between his legs finishing the dunk.
Making It Look Easy
We’re back at the 2016 contest for an encore of Zach Lavine. Much like Vince Carter, Lavine is a physical freak that makes extremely difficult dunks look like child’s play. There haven’t been many that can gain as much altitude as he can.
Aaron Gordon provided a tough challenge for the eventual champion Lavine, but his efforts couldn’t top this skywalker. It leaves us with the question of who would win in their primes: Michael Jordan, Lavine, or Carter?
Back in 1984, Larry Nance Sr. took flight. He left the crowd stunned when he decided to cradle the ball mid-air in what looks like a stand still position. This is probably one of the toughest dunks to pull off.
Only those with tremendous leaping ability can even think about this. Three decades later, Larry Nance Jr., competed it in the contest and pulled off the same dunk. He didn’t win as his father did, but at least he pulled it off.
Robinson Does It Again
Before there was Nate Robinson, there was Spud Webb. Webb was another short player who won the dunk contest and could sure fly high. Robinson decided to seal the deal when he brought him out to jump over.
Not quite as impressive as the one where he cleared Dwight Howard, but the fans and judges were still very impressed. Being 5’9″ and even competing for a slam dunk title is something regular men you see at the local gym dream about.
Dennis Smith Jr. Gets Air
Coming in hot is 6’3 inch guard, Dennis Smith Jr. He might not be as short as Nate Robinson, but his dunking ability is still impressive for not being as tall as the other competitors. In 2018, he gave the people in attendance something they won’t soon forget.
Smith Jr. did a reverse 360 between the legs and dunked with his opposite hand. The degree of difficulty gave him a perfect score of 50, but he ended up losing that contest.
Bryant Keeps The Warm-Ups On
As a rookie, a spry Kobe Bryant entered the slam dunk contest full of confidence. It helps that he went on to win, but had he not, pulling off a dunk in his warm-ups would have looked like a questionable move in retrospect.
Nevertheless, the Black Mamba foreshadowed the future ability of the Lakers with this move. It was even more impressive because he was a rookie showing the older guys that he didn’t take them seriously.