Unfortunately, the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Competition was really the only downer on an otherwise spectacular and historical NBA All-Star weekend.
What’s frustrating about the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Competition was not the lack of talent or athleticism (as there was plenty of that), but rather the absence of creativity.
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest, or the more former ABA Dunk Contest, was rooted in the show of originality. The first ever Dunk Contest occurred in Denver during the American Basketball Association (ABA) All-Star Game in 1976, or the same year the slam dunk was legalized in the NCAA.
NBA Slam Dunk Competition Fun Fact: Who won the first ever Dunk Contest? (The answer is below)
The fan’s were fully engaged and hooked to this bizarre spin on basketball; however the original dunk competition was short-lived. The ABA merged with the NBA later that year, and consequently the next Slam Dunk Competition would not emerge at the professional level until 1984.
Julius “Dr. J” Erving won the first ever dunk contest in 1976 and attempted to defend his crown in the first ever NBA Slam Dunk Competition of 1984. One would think that Erving’s dunk from the free-throw line would seal the deal; however it was not to be.
Dr. J’s infamous free-throw line dunk is still one of the greatest Slam Dunk highlights of all-time, however the 1984 Contest was won by Larry Nance from the Phoenix Suns.
The following year, Dominique Wilkins became the first of four future Atlanta Hawks to win the competition.
Fun Fact: Can you name the other three Atlanta Hawks to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest? (The answer is below)
Nique’s highlight reel at the second ever NBA Slam Dunk Contest has helped the Hawks currently hold the record along with the Knicks (four each) for the most ever Dunk Contests won by a franchise. The other two Hawks to win the award are Spud Webb (shortest Dunk Champion of all time, 5’7) and Josh Smith.
Wilkins won the award twice, and some say was robbed of a third in the classic 1988 battle against Michael Jordan.
In the history of the NBA Slam Dunk Competition, only 18 players have won the award, and of those 18, four of the players are two-time winners. The special list includes the aforementioned Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Harold Miner, and Jason Richardson. Nate Robinson recently became the first player to win the event three times after his performance in 2010 Dunk Contest.
The winner has always been determined by a panel of judges, however as of late fan-voting via text-messaging has decided the final round winner.
The Complete List of NBA Slam Dunk Competition Winners
• 2010 (Dallas) – Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
• 2009 (Phoenix) – Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
• 2008 (New Orleans) – Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
• 2007 (Las Vegas) – Gerald Green, Boston Celtics
• 2006 (Houston) – Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
• 2005 (Denver) – Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
• 2004 (Los Angeles) – Fred Jones, Indiana Pacers
• 2003 (Atlanta) – Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors
• 2002 (Philadelphia) – Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors
• 2001 (Washington, D.C.) – Desmond Mason, Seattle SuperSonics
• 2000 (Oakland) – Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
• 1999 (Philadelphia) – Shortened Season, No All Star Game
• 1998 (New York City) – No Slam Dunk Competition
• 1997 (Cleveland) – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
• 1996 (San Antonio) – Brent Barry, Los Angeles Clippers
• 1995 (Phoenix) – Harold Miner, Miami Heat
• 1994 (Minneapolis) – Isaiah Rider, Minnesota Timberwolves
• 1993 (Salt Lake City) – Harold Miner, Miami Heat
• 1992 (Orlando) – Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix Suns
• 1991 (Charlotte) – Dee Brown, Boston Celtics
• 1990 (Miami) – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
• 1989 (Houston) – Kenny Walker, New York Knicks
• 1988 (Chicago) – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
• 1987 (Seattle) – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
• 1986 (Dallas) – Spud Webb, Atlanta Hawks
• 1985 (Indianapolis) – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
• 1984 (Denver) – Larry Nance, Phoenix Suns