MUST-SEE TV: The 15 most iconic dunks of NBA All-Star Saturday

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Hall of Famer Michael Jordan captured back-to-back NBA All-Star dunk titles during his time with the Bulls -- 1987 in Seattle ... and 1988 in Chicago.

The NBA Dunk Contest has been a show-stopping staple of All-Star Weekend since 1984, when Larry Nance toppled slam masters Julius Erving, Darrell Griffith, Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins in the inaugural competition.

For more than 35 seasons, the dunk contest has undergone many changes – some good and some hard to digest. Such as … 

a) No eventual dunk champion should be allowed to register double-digit missed attempts in the same round. 

b) NBA fans could do without the slam dunk shot clock. 

c) The 1997 dunk contest in Cleveland (the only one I’ve seen in person) might have been the worst showcase of, uh, dunking talent. Ever.

However, through it all, we still press on, in search of the pictureperfect dunk – if such a thing exists.

BATSBY Sports offers its YouTube-friendly picks for the 15 most iconic slams in dunk contest history, an NBA-focused countdown that comes with one caveat:

There’s a three-dunk limit, per competitor … otherwise known as The Zach LaVine Rule.

NOTE: Technically, Dr. J didn’t make this countdown (it’s hard to be an elite dunker in your mid-30s). However, it would be utterly foolish here, if we didn’t recognize two special occurrences:

EXHIBIT A

The greatest dunk in ABA All-Star Game history, circa 1976 (below).

EXHIBIT B

The single greatest in-game dunk in NBA playoff history. Bar none.

MOST ICONIC JAMS IN NBA DUNK CONTEST HISTORY

#15 – AMARE STOUDEMIRE
MOVE: SOCCER-STYLE ASSIST FROM STEVE NASH

YEAR: 2005

#14 – STEVIE FRANCIS
MOVE: HALF-COURT ALLEY-OOP THROWDOWN

YEAR: 2000

#13 – SPUD WEBB
MOVE: SELF-ALLEY OOP THROWDOWN

YEAR: 1986

#12 – CEDRIC CEBALLOS
MOVE: THE BLINDFOLD DUNK

YEAR: 1992

#11 – ERIC BLEDSOE
MOVE: TWO-HANDED 180 WINDMILL

YEAR: 2013

#10 – DOMINIQUE WILKINS
MOVE: THE CLASSIC WINDMILL THROWDOWN

YEAR: 1986

#9 – VINCE CARTER
MOVE: THE REVERSE WINDMILL THROWDOWN

YEAR: 2000

#8 – AARON GORDON
MOVE: UNDER-THE-LEGS/OVER-THE-MASCOT

YEAR: 2016

#7 – ZACH LAVINE
MOVE: FREE THROW LINE ALLEY-OOP

YEAR: 2016

#6 – DWIGHT HOWARD
MOVE: DON’T TUG ON SUPERMAN’S CAPE

YEAR: 2008

#5 – ANDRE IGUODALA
MOVE: BASELINE-BACKBOARD EXPLOSION

YEAR: 2013

#4 – ZACH LAVINE
MOVE: THE SPACE JAM THROWDOWN

YEAR: 2015

#3 – MICHAEL JORDAN
MOVE: DOUBLE-CLUTCH FLYING/FREE-THROW LINE EXTENDED
YEAR: 1988

#2 – ZACH LAVINE
MOVE: MODERN SPIN ON MJ’S ICONIC DUNK
YEAR: 2016

#1 – MICHAEL JORDAN
MOVE: KISS THE RIM

YEAR: 1987

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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