Slam Dunk Contest
Hawks guard Josh Smith leaps over another player during slam dunk competiton at NBA All Star Saturday Night in Denver. Atlanta Hawks guard Josh Smith leaps over Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin during the slam dunk competition at the 2005 NBA All-Star Saturday Night in Denver, Colorado, February 19, 2005. Smith won the contest. The 54th NBA All-Star Game will be played on February 20. REUTERS/John Gress

There is no more exciting competition during NBA All-Star Weekend then the Slam Dunk Contest. Each year, four participants compete in a series of creative and spectacular dunks that are judged by NBA legends. In the early beginnings of the event, the NBA’s elite would participate. From Dr. J and Dominique Wilkins to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter the contest always brought out the sport’s best and brightest.

Over the past decade, fans and critics alike have complained about the lack of stars who have participated. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade have never competed, neither have Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. In fact, the only big names over the past ten years who have participated were Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Paul George.

Once again, the 2015 competition will feature young and relatively unknown NBA stars. Last year’s champion, John Wall, will not return to defend his title. In his stead, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee, Giannis Anteokounmpo and Zach LaVine will compete for the crown.

One of those four names will join an elite group of former champions and enter into the upper echelon of the NBA’s most frequent flyers. That got us thinking of some of the greatest dunks ever featured in the annual All-Star game Slam Dunk Contest. Here are our picks for the 10 best dunks in the history of the competition.

12. Amar’e Stoudemire Gets An Assist From Steve Nash

Back in 2005 when the Phoenix Suns were the most exciting team in the NBA, Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire joined forces for one of the more creative dunks using a special guest passer. Nash, a former Canadian soccer player, gave STAT a header which he grabbed in midair for the slam.

11. Jeremy Evans Predicts The Future

Utah Jazz rookie, Jeremy Evans solidified his place in Slam Dunk Contest lore when the won the 2013 edition by dunking over a covered painting. After he completed the dunk he revealed the painting was of himself dunking over a painting. Genius!

10. Spud Webb Is Mighty Mouse

The shortest participant in Slam Dunk Contest history was 5-foot-7 Spud Webb. In 1986, Webb defied the odds by advancing to the Slam Dunk Finals against his friend, teammate and defending champion Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins was one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history, so for Webb to dethrone the champ it was quite the feat.

9. Andre Iguodala’s Behind The Back Jam!

After getting upset in the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest, Andre Iguodala returned to the competition the following year to bring the dunk champion crown home. Iguodala performed one of the most spectacular dunks in Slam Dunk Contest history when he grabbed the ball off the bounce, brought it around his back and into his right hand where he dunked it home. You might not think the dunk was all that incredible, but try attempting the behind the back move yourself at home for a frame of reference.

8. Nate Robinson Slams Over Spud Webb

Iguodala and Robinson went head-to-head in the 2006 Slam Dunk Conest and it was a final for the ages. After Iguodala completed an incredible side of the backboard and underneath dunk with an assist from Allen Iverson, Robinson pulled Spud Webb from the crowd, handed him his old Atlanta Hawks jersey, and then jumped over him on his way to the title.

7. Jason Richardson Goes Between The Legs

Veteran dunker Jason Richardson is no stranger to the Slam Dunk Contest. Over the years, Richardson has completed some of the more amazing dunks you’ll ever see, and in 2003 he might have completed his best overall. Richardson looks like he’s attempting a three-point shot only to catch the ball, put it backward between his legs and throw down a reverse dunk. Needless to say he went on to win the competition.

6. DeMar DeRozan Only Needs One Hand

Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan was robbed of the Slam Dunk Contest crown in back-to-back years. In 2011, DeRozan vowed that he would not use props or gimmicks in his dunks and he backed it up with one of the most amazing dunks we’ve ever seen. DeRozan took off from the three-point line and in one motion, with one hand, he grabbed the ball, went under the rim and threw down a reverse one-handed slam. It was truly remarkable, but didn’t even get him into the finals.

5. Gerald Green Blows Out The Candle

Gerald Green had TNT’s speechless after his “Cupcake Slam” in 2008. Before his dunk, Green placed a cupcake with a lit candle on the back of the rim. Green took an alley-oop pass and blew out the candle while simultaneously slamming the ball through the basket. Prompting Smith to continuously yell, “he blew it out!”

4. Dwight Howard’s Superman Slams

Dwight Howard revolutionized the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest in 2012 when he proved that a 7-footer could jump and dunk with the most athletic and coordinated guys in the NBA. After receiving a perfect score for his first dunk, Howard donned a Superman cape and threw the ball threw the hoop on his second. His third dunk was the most skilled however as he threw the ball off the backboard with one hand, tapped it back off the glass with the other and caught with the original hand and it threw it down.

3. Kobe Bryant Through The Legs

Kobe Bryant is one of the biggest star to ever win the Slam Dunk Contest. In 1997, as a rookie, Bryant went through the legs and slammed it home on his first try in the opening round of the finals. Bryant’s final score of 49 was all he needed to win the crown.

2. Vinsanity

Vince Carter shut the building down during the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000. The man known as Vinsanity performed five spectacular dunks, each more impressive than the last. He was the first to stick his entire forearm in the rim, and came from behind the basket for an impressive windmill slam. It was his 360 degree reverse windmill however on his final dunk that won the contest and had every fan and player in attendance on their feet.

1. Michael “Air” Jordan Flies From The Free Throw Line

Two-time Dunk contest winner Michael Jordan brought us some of the most iconic dunks of all-time including this vintage jam from the free throw line. Jordon, otherwise known as his “Airness” redefined the laws of flight with many of his jams. His battle with the “Human Highlight Reel,” Dominque Wilkins in 1985 and 1988, are the best Slam Dunk Competitions in history.

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