NBA Slam Dunk Contest is the most watch night during All-Star weekend beside the All-Star game. Dunk is one of the top exciting parts of a basketball game, we see our favorite players dominate the basket with never before seen dunk. Many current players get their inspiration from the past NBA Slam Dunk contest winners. For example, Michael Jordan dunk from the free-throw line, or Vince Carter 360 degree dunk.
The first Slam Dunk Contest is not 1984, it was actually in 1976. But the contest was introduced to the basketball world by American Basketball Association (ABA) during the 1976 All-Star weekend in Denver. ABA and NBA merge together the following year after slam dunk was officially legalized in the NCAA. The first Slam dunk contest champion was Julius Erving of the New York Knicks.
Slam dunk contest continues for the next year in 1977 with the winner of Darnell Hillman (aka Dr. Dunk) in Detroit. Something different this year compares to the previous year was Dr. Dunk never received his Slam Dunk trophy even after he was named the 1977 slam dunk champion. He was not officially awarded with a trophy until 40 years later in March 2017, Indiana Pacers surprised him with his very own 1977 Slam Dunk Champion trophy.
From the first NBA Slam Dunk Contest winners (1984) to the latest, we have a total of 35 champions. Each champion competes with the other top contenders, and display their creative dunks. Today, we will honor the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest from past to most recent.
First NBA Slam Dunk Contest Winners
1984 – Larry Nance, Phoenix
After the first Slam Dunk contest in 1977, NBA finally brought back Slam Dunk Contest to the All-Star weekend. Larry Nancy became the very first NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion.
Larry Nance, Julius Erving, and Dominique Wilkins’s scores were very close in 134-135 points to move on to the 2nd round. Both Nance and Erving scored 140 points to move on to the final round.
His dunks of the night included dunking two balls at a time, and threw the basketball from one side of the backboard, and finished the dunk on the other side. His final score was 134 out of 150. Nancy beat formal ABA Slam Dunk champion Julies Erving to take home the trophy.
1985 – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
In the 1985 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Dominique Wilkins from Atlanta Hawks defeated top competitors like Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Larry Nance, Clyde Drexler, and Darrell Griffith.
Dominiques’s performance in the final round, he did a bounce off the backboard reverse dunk with both hands, and two hand windmill dunk earned him two perfect scores (50 points). He defeated Michael Jordan who had 136 points vs Wilkins with 147 points. This slam dunk contest was the first appearance of both Jordan and Wilkins went head to head. They’ll meet later on numerous times following this year’s slam dunk contest.
1986 – Spud Webb, Atlanta
Spud Webb is the shortest man to become the Slam Dunk champion. Webb went toe to toe with previous slam dunk champion Wilkins with the same score of 138 points in the semifinal round.
Webb had two perfect scored in the final with a 360 degree and bound off backboard dunk to defeat his teammate Wilkins by 2 points (100 vs 98).
1987 – Michael Jordan, Chicago
Michael Jordan returns to the Slam dunk contest after he lost to Wilkins in 1985. Jordan was leading in all three rounds with one perfect dunk (50 points) each in the semifinal and final round. His scores for three rounds were 88, 148, and 146.
1988 – Michael Jordan, Chicago
Michael Jordan returns to defend his Slam Dunk Contest title and became the winners of the night. During the 1988 Dunk Contest, Dominique Wilkins returns to compete with his Jordan, who once defeated Jordan in the 1985 slam dunk contest.
Jordan and Wilkins compete for the toe to toe in each round, and Jordan defeated Wilkins by two points in the final round. Both dunkers have two perfect scores (50 points) in the final round, but Jordan had 47 points in one dunk while Wilkins had 45 points that cost him his title.
Jordan’s dunk from the free-throw line was the highlight of the dunk that lead him to become back-to-back NBA Slam Dunk Contest Winners.
1989 – Kenny Walker, New York
Kenny Walker aka “SKY” won the 1989 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He dominated Clyde Drexler by three times the points in the final round (148.1 vs 49.5). During the contest, Walker’s dad passed away three days ahead, and he had to mourn for his dad’s death during the competition.
Walker returns to the contest in 1990 but lost in 3rd place. Walker’s NBA career life was not successful due to his knee injuries. He left the NBA and join the ACB basketball league in Spain.
1990 – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
Dominique Wilkins won his second NBA Slam Dunk title. Wilkins defeated Kenny Smith in the final round by 1.7 points (146.8 vs 145.1)
1991 – Dee Brown, Boston
New changes to the final round of the 1991 Slam dunk contest, the competitor allowed three dunks, two highest scores add up for the final score.
Dee Brown won the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest. With a vertical jump at 44 inches, he defeated top dunker Shawn Kemp with the vertical
jump of 41 inches in the final round (97.7 vs 93.7).
1992 – Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix
Cedric Ceballos won the 1992 Slam Dunk Contest by a big margin of 30 points lead against Larry Johnson. Ceballos was trailing almost ten points behind Johnson in both 1st and 2nd round. He barely made it to the final round again Johnson.
Ceballos exploded in the final round with the first dunk at 47.2 points and a perfect score (50 points) on the 2nd dunk. Ceballos came back to victory with 97.2 vs 66 points against Johnson. Johnson did not attempt his third dunk because Ceballos seal the victory with his score.
1993 – Harold Miner, Miami
Changes were made to the 1993 NBA Slam Dunk Contest by adding the two highest score dunks of the three in each round instead of the final round only. Shawn Kemp did not compete due to his injury.
Harold Miner won the 1993 Slam Dunk Contest and became the winner. He led in both the first and final round, and defeated previous champion, Cedric Ceballos by 20 points.
1994 – Isaiah Rider, Minnesota
Each competitor has 90 seconds to dunk as much as they choose, and the score will be overall dunks during the given time. The final round follows the previous year was best of two out of three dunks.
Isaiah Rider defeated Shawn Kemp and Robert Pack in the final round to become the 1994 NBA Slam dunk Contest.
1995 – Harold Miner, Miami
More changes in this year the first and final round. Competitors are given 90 seconds to do at least three dunks, and they will receive an overall score of their dunks. In the final round, the competitor is given 60 seconds to do at least two dunks, and they will receive an overall score of their dunks.
Harold Miner retakes his NBA Slam Dunk Champion in 1995, he defeated previous champion Isaiah Rider, and top competitor Jamie Watson.
1996 – Brent Barry, LA Clippers
Changes to the final round this year, the best of two dunks will be recorded. First-round follows the previous year where competitors do as many dunks in 90 seconds.
Brent Barry takes home the trophy leading both the first and final round.
1997 – Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
Kobe Bryant joined Slam Dunk Contest in his rookie year and became champion of the 1997 Slam Dunk contest, He defeated Michael Finely and Chris Carr in the final round. Kobe was rank second in the first round, but he leads by 4 points against second-place Chris Carr in the final round with a between the legs dunk. His final-round score was 49 points.
1998-99 – Competition was not held
2000 – Vince Carter, Toronto
After two year pause of the Slam Dunk Contest, the competition resume in 2000. Vince Carter joined the Dunk Contest with his cousin Tracy McGrady. Carter’s performance during the competition was amazing. He had two perfect scores in his dunks to receive 100 points total in the first round. and had another perfect dunk in the final round.
Some people argue his performance was the most memorable in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. His dunk during the All-Star weekend included a 360-degree windmill, between the leg bounce dunk, and the most stunning one is “elbow in the rim” dunk or also call “cookie jaw”. Carter known nickname was “Vinsanity”, “Air Canada” and “Half Man, Half Amazing”
2001 – Desmond Mason, Seattle
Desmond Mason’s first-round score was the lowest out of the three finalists at 91 points. His final-round score was 89 points, he defeated DeShawn Stevenson and Baron Davis.
2002 – Jason Richardson, Golden State
Jason Richardson won the 2002 Slam Dunk Contest. This year, competitors need to perform dunks from the previous champions in a lottery format in the semifinal. He defeated Desmond Mason and move on to the final round to face Gerald Wallace.
Richardson has to do Dr. J’s classic dunk (dunk from close to free-throw line). His score was not that impressed with a score of 36 points. He needs 45 points to take home the trophy on his second dunk. He almost lost the contest with two failed attempted in his last dunk. Richardson finished his dunk with a bounce-catch both hands windmill reverse dunk. He had 49 points to seal his victory.
2003 – Jason Richardson, Golden State
Jason Richardson returns the second year for his back to back Slam Dunk trophy. He starts off his first dunk with a bounce-catch windmill dunk. This second dunk in the first round was a bounce-catch 360 dunk. He scored a perfect score for both dunks.
In the final round, his score for the first dunk was 45 points, he needs at least 49 points to win. Richardson’s second dunk was a baseline bounce-catch between the legs reverse dunk to score perfect points. He defeated Desmond Mason and became the champion.
2004 – Fred Jones, Indiana
Fred Jones defeated two times defending Slam Dunk Champion Jason Richardson in 2004. Jones starts off with a powerful one-hand dunk with 50 points. He later scored another perfect score in the final round to defeat Richardson.
2005 – Josh Smith, Atlanta
Josh Smith won the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest and become one of the few winners who score perfect scores (100 points) in the final round.
2006 – Nate Robinson, New York
Nate Robinson is one of the shortest winners at 5’9″ in NBA Slam Dunk Contest History, Spud Webb was the shortest at 5’7″ to win the Dunk Contest. Height does not matter with the explosiveness and incredible vertical jump at 43.5 inches.
He defeated top dunker Andre Iguodala who has one perfect dunk each in the first and final rounds. Robinson invited Spud Webb to assist his dunk.
2007 – Gerald Green, Boston
Gerald Green defeated the previous Slam Dunk Champion, Nate Robinson with leading points in both the first and final rounds. He had a perfect dunk (50 points) in the final round.
2008 – Dwight Howard, Orlando
This year, the Slam Dunk contest allows the fans to text message vote in the final round. Dwight Howard won his first NBA Slam Dunk contest with an unforgettable Superman dunk. He literally wears a red cap for his dunk. Howard’s creativeness in his dunks continue during the contest, he places the ball on a mini basket on the backboard, and he finished the dunk with a windmill.
The NBA fans vote 78% for Howard to become the champion. His competitor Gerald Green only had a 22% vote in the final round.
2009 – Nate Robinson, New York
This year continue with fans vote for the final round for the winner, this voting system continues until 2015 where they bring back the judges to determine the score.
Nate Robinson returns to Slam Dunk Contest after two years against previous year Champion, Dwight Howards. He won in the final round with 51% although Howard had two perfect scores in the first round. Robinson invites Howard to help in his dunk in the final round by dunking over him. He was the fan’s favorite of the night and won his second Slam Dunk Contest.
2010 – Nate Robinson, New York
Nate Robinson returns for his third NBA Slam Dunk Contest title. He defeated DeMar DeRozan in the final round by two percent.
2011 – Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
The competition for this year’s Slam Dunk Contest was high. DeMar DeRozan return, he was the 2nd runner from last year. All four competitor was very close in the 90s, but Blake Griffin had 95 points, and while DeRozan had 99 points to continue for the final round.
Blake was the first competitor to use a car in his performance. Along with choir in the background, and jumping over a car for his dunk, won the fans’ favorite with 68%.
2012 – Jeremy Evans, Utah
For the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest, the dunk format changed to each competitor had three dunks. The fans will vote online, text message, and Twitter for the first time.
Jeremy Evans’s performance was better than other competitors with the most vote at 29% and became the 2012 Slam Dunk Champion.
2013 – Terrence Ross, Toronto
This year’s format changes again to the best two dunks in the first round, and final round vote by fans via text message. Terrence Ross’s received 50 points and 49 points in the first round.
Ross defeated the previous year’s Slam dunk contest winners in the final round with 58% vs 42%.
2014 – John Wall
This year Slam Dunk Contest Format with team contest of players in East Vs West. 12 competitors, 6 from each team compete in the first round. In a freestyle dunking round, the team with that winner gets to choose the order of the dunker in the battle round. Battle round is a one-on-one competition. The first team with three victories become the champion. To determine the champion of the slam dunk contest, players in the winning team will be selected through a voting system.
The East Won the first round and also won the battle round. John Wall was selected for the dunker of the night, and become the 2014 Slam Dunk Champion.
2015 – Zach LaVine, Minnesota
After the changes in the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest, the league return back to the contest format in 2007, where the best of two dunks in the first and final round. Five judges also brought back to vote in the first and final rounds.
Zach LaVine became the champion of the 2015 Slam Dunk Contest. LaVine scored 100 points (two perfect dunks) in the first round, and 94 points ( 45 + 49) in the final round.
2016 – Zach LaVine, Minnesota
Zach LaVine returns to defend his champion title in the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest. He went head-to-head with Aaron Gordan in the first and final round. This year is very excited because both LaVine and Gordan scored 100 points in the final round. They continue to went for the additional rounds to determine the winner. Fans love it because the competitors will display more of their best dunks.
The competition continues for two additional rounds before the winner was determined. In the first Tie break, both score 50 points, in the second Tie Break, LaVine scored another 50 points to become a back-to-back Slam Dunk Champion.
2017 – Glenn Robinson III, Indiana
Glenn Robinson III is the champion of the 2017 Slam Dunk Contest. He scored 50 points in the first round by jumping over two people. In the final round, he had another perfect dunk when he reverses dunk over three people.
2018 – Donovan Mitchell, Utah
Donovan Mitchell is a 6’1″ shooting guard that became the Slam Dunk champion. This year, Donovan Mitchell honors Vince Carter by mimicking his 360-degree dunk. He defeated Larry Nance Jr. (son of the first NBA Slam Dunk Champion Larry Nance Sr. in 1984) Nance Jr. is a great dunker, but he came off short two points in the final round (98 vs 96)
2019 – Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City
Hamidou Diallo is the 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Winners. He invites Russel Westbrook to assist his first dunk. He further invites Shaq to assist his dunk by jumping over him and finished off with an “arm in the basket” dunk. Diallo scored 50 points for the second dunk. Diallo won the last round with 88 points.
2020 – Derrick Jones Jr., Miami
This is the first NBA Slam Dunk Contest for Derrick Jones Jr. and he became the winner after he defeated in a heated battle against great dunker, Aaron Gordan. Gordan and Jones Jr. score two perfect dunks with 100 points in the final round. They tie again with 50 points in the 1st tiebreaker. Both Jones Jr. and Gordan continue for the 2nd tie-breaker and Gordan lost with 48 vs 49 points. This is the second time in NBA history that a competitor went to 2nd tiebreaker to determine the winner.
Gordan competed in the 2016 and 2017 Slam Dunk Contest but came off short in the final rounds like this year.
2021 – Anfernee Simons
Anfernee Simons from Portland Trail Blazers won the 2021 Slam Dunk Contest. He defeated Obi Toppin (New York Knicks) and Cassius Stanley (Indiana Pacers). This year’s All-Star events took on one night on March 7, 2021. Slam Dunk Contest occurred during halftime, so the time for slam dunk contest was less than the previous year. For the first round, three participants allow two dunks, and the two top scores continue for the final round. The final round allows for one dunk, and the five judges will vote for their favorite dunk between the two participants.
Anefrnee Simons scored 95 points (46+49), Obi Toppin scored 94 (48+46), and Cassius Stanley scored 81 (44+37). In the final round, Simons has crowned 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Winners after he won 3 votes from the 5 judges.
Throughout the NBA All-Star weekend, players display their best dunk during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and become the winners of the night. We’re lucky enough to see the best of the best dunker compete with each other. We’re happy to share the highlight dunks of the Slam Dunk champion in this article. We will continue to update you on future Slam Dunk Contest Winners, so remember to come back for the latest Slam Dunk Champion.
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