By RENE ESCOBAR
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest, one of the greatest athletic competitions, will feature the best dunkers the league has to offer on Feb. 18 in New Orleans.
The dunk contest has showcased some of the most spectacular feats in sports, but which was the greatest ever?
We’re not talking one dunk but competition as a whole, from final contestants to star power.
Some defining moments will not be included in this debate. They include:
- 2009, when the little man, 5-foot-9-inch Nate Robinson, jumped over 6-foot-11-inch Dwight Howard.
- 2011’s car jump by Blake Griffin.
- Michael Jordan’s dunk from the free throw line in 1988.
- The no-look dunk by Dee Brown in 1991.
Only two contests come to mind: the ones in 2000 and 2016.
2000 featured the two best dunkers the NBA had to offer, cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. They dueled it out with flashy awe-inspiring dunks.
Carter assisted McGrady with a bounce into a windmill dunk.
Carter answered back with the game-changing dunk, his famous arm-through-the-hoop dunk that scored a perfect 50.
2000 propelled Carter to stardom. The dunks he displayed helped advance his reputation, and he’s now acknowledged as the greatest dunker in NBA history.
The 2000 contest made the NBA’s All-Star Weekend a must-watch, something that Jordan and Dominique Wilkins could not accomplish in 1987.
Last year’s contest featured a finals duel for the ages, showcasing Zach LaVine and the University of Arizona’s own Aaron Gordon.
The two traded perfect scores like heavyweight boxers trading haymakers.
Gordon rocked the rim with a middle-of-the-air sitting dunk over a mascot. LaVine shot back with a windmill from the free throw line.
LaVine made the deciding shot with a through-the-legs dunk.
The 2016 contest gets my vote for the best of all time. It did not have the star power of 2000, but the finale came down to one dunk. Drama was present, and the participants displayed amazing creativity.
This year’s contest has potential to become one of the greatest ever.
New names have lots to live up to, and must make the most of their opportunities to prove themselves in the Crescent City.
Which Slam Dunk Contest gets your vote for best ever? Comment down below!