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The Best NBA Dunk Contests of All Time


The 2022 NBA Dunk Contest did not remind of us the glory days. As the contestants struggled to keep the audience's attention in a series of missed dunks, wardrobe changes and disappointment moans. So, let's put that waste of time out of our memory and take a look back at the top five NBA dunk contests of all time, according to me.


5. 2003

Jason Richardson's last dunk from the 2003 NBA Dunk Contest (Photo via Pinterest)


The 2003 NBA Dunk Contest had four high flyers in it, Jason Richardson, Desmond Mason, Richard Jefferson, and Amar'e Stoudemire. Richardson and Mason separated themselves from the competition and then had an epic final round. We saw Jason Richardson toss the ball to himself for an off the floor alley-oop that ended with the Golden State Warrior bringing the ball between his legs in reverse fashion and dunking the ball with his left hand backwards.


Here are the dunks from Desmond Mason and Jason Richardson in the 2003 dunk contest





4. 2008

Dwight Howard's Superman Dunk from the 2008 Dunk Contest (Photo Provided by nba.com )

The 2008 NBA Dunk Contest was a highly anticipated one as Dwight Howard, Gerald Green, Rudy Gay, and Jamario Moon battled it out for the crown. This contest saw a little bit of everything, Green dunking with no shoes on then blowing out a candle in a cupcake on the top of the rim. Green pulled out all the stops and it wasn't enough to beat Howard. As Howard put on a show with a variety of very creative dunks.


Here are all of Dwight Howard's dunks from the 2008 dunk contest


3. 2000

Vince Carter with a nasty between the legs dunk assisted by a bounce pass from Tracy McGrady (Photo courtesy of SB nation)


The 2000 NBA Dunk Contest was one for the ages. It had six participants, Vince Carter, Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes, and Ricky Davis. Carter, Francis, and McGrady were able to standout with outstanding dunks. Francis being the smallest in the competition, brought his own flavor with some great self-alley jams. McGrady brought a good combination of power and style but neither was a match for Vince Carter who put on arguable the greatest performance in dunk contest history.


Here are the highlights from the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest


2. 1988

Michael Jordan dunking from free throw line (Photo via Bleacher Report)


The 1988 NBA Dunk Contest had eight participants including Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, and Clyde Drexler. The two contestants that stood out amongst the stiff competition were Jordan and Wilkins. The finals were those two going at it in a battle Jordan's grace and smoothness versus Wilkins' power and aggression. Jordan came out on top and it is still a debated decision till this day.


Here are some highlights from the 1988 Contest


1. 2016

Aaron Gordon jumping over the Orlando Magic Mascot (Photo via the Orlando Pin Striped Post)


The 2016 NBA Dunk Contest was a showdown that dunk fans will never forget. As Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon had to go into overtime to determine a winner. We saw windmills from the free throw line, mascots spinning on hover boards and everything in between. This is another result that will be debated for the rest of time as a lot of people, including myself, believe that Aaron Gordon should of won the contest.


Here is the final round from the 2016 contest.


I still hold out hope that we will get dunk contest like these five in the future but for now we have so many memories to look back at and enjoy. Do you agree with my list?

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