Greatest Slam Dunk Contest Champion Ever- Part Three
Read parts one and two of this series here. In ranking these champions, I want to completely exclude their overall skill as basketball players, and focus solely on their ability to dunk the basketball. Also, I think era in which they were dunking in is very significant, as is height. With those parameters laid out, let me throw the second five names at you, in no particular order. Of these five, I will rank them by reader comments via Hoopsvibe.com, Facebook and private emails. The player who gets the most vote moves into the “Final Four” of great dunkers, from which a mythical champ will be crowned; open wide, here they come!!
- Ced Ceballos- 1992 Champion
The dunks in this contest sum up in one contest why the 90’s Dunk Contests were better than the 2000’s. First off no player was “too big” for the contest (Nick Anderson, Starks, etc. no third rate players), showing up and enthusiastic to compete, something that was lost in later years. In this contest there were all kinds of dunkers, which was perfectly epitomized in the final match-up pitting the power of Larry Johnson versus the agility of Ced Ceballos. Ced's two handed blindfolded dunk sealed the deal and the battle still rages about whether he could see or not.
- Fred Jones- 2004 Champion
After annihilating the competition the previous two years, Jason Richardson was attempting to win his third contest in a row. Though he arguably completed the two best dunks in the contest, they came in the first round and after multiple attempts; Fred Jones’ two perfect scores on four attempts snagged him the title. Jones’ lob, 360, one handed dunk is maybe one of the best of its kind of all time.
- Brent Barry- 1996 Champion
In my opinion this was one of the most anti-climactic final rounds ever. I was never a fan of Brent Berry winning the contest thanks to doing the free throw line dunk twice. Even in 1996 the “Free Throw Line Dunk” was played out by then. So a guy doing it twice really shouldn’t have won it. Not a great Dunk Contest.
- Josh Smith- 2005 Champion
After the previous couple contests had lacked creativity, this one made up for at least three boring contests. Amare Stoudemire’s off the head alley-oop from Steve Nash was pretty cool and novel, but it couldn’t hang with Josh Smith’s dunks that were even more creative. The first one was having Kenyon Martin, seated in the chair in the lane, flip him an alley-oop while he jumped over him and finished the dunk. Once in the finals Smith had the most creative round in years. First he donned a Dominique Wilkins jersey and finished a windmill slam from the right block. Stoudemire countered with a sweet between the legs reverse dunk on the baseline with his head nearly hitting the rim. On his final dunk, Smith completed a one handed 360 windmill, spinning backwards. Both of Smith’s dunks got 50’s and sealed the deal.
- Desmond Mason- 2001 Champion
2001 may be one of the most underrated Dunk Contest’s ever. The field was stacked with similar dunkers and hotly contested, consisting of Baron Davis, Jonathan Bender, Corey Maggette, Stromile Swift, Deshawn Stevenson and Desmond Mason. After a first round 31, Mason recovered to make the final round by a one point margin, besting Bender and Swift. Mason’s seven foot wingspan and ability to dunk with both hands saw him finish dunks at crazy angles and seemingly hang in the air longer than any other competitor, ultimately sealing the victory. 2001 is definitely worth watching for four minutes in your cube at work.