NBA Slam Dunk Contests From The 1980s

Remembering When The Dunk Contest Was Truly Great: The 1980s

2/13/09 in NBA   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the inception of the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest. And while we've seen some sporadic greatness from big time players in the last decade plus, like Kobe in '97, Vince Carter in 2000, and Dwight Howard last year, you'd be hard pressed to say that the dunk contest has really pushed the envelope in terms of epic matchups. I mean, let's be honest, this year's group of Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, JR Smith and Rudy Fernandez - even though it has two champions in it - just doesn't quite reach expectations. Sure some of the dunks will be pretty sick, but it's more spectacle now, rather than a real competition. Most guys these days, even the champions, are one and done.

But back in the 1980s, the dunk contest really did matter. How else do explain guys like Michael Jordan, Dominque Wilkins, Dr. J, Larry Nance, the perennially underappreciated Terrence Stansbury, Spud Webb, Clyde Drexler, Kenny "Sky" Walker, competing year after year after year against each other. It was a real test of who was the greatest. So let's look back at the dunk contests of the 1980s, when it was at its peak.




1984: This was the inaugural NBA dunk contest, and most people remember it as the dunk contest where the aging Dr. J managed to dig out his classic 1976 ABA Dunk Contest free throw line dunk. But Dr. J didn't even wind up winning the contest (he never would in the NBA). Instead it was Larry Lance. Also, pay close attention to the fact that Nance was in fact the person ever to do the famous "rock the cradle" dunk in the dunk contest, the dunk that ultimately came to be associated with Michael Jordan.




1985: This was Dominque Wilkins' first victory in the slam dunk contest, which also featured the first Wilkins/MJ head-to-head battle. But it's really the sheer talent in this contest that was so ridiculous. This dunk contest featured Wilkins, MJ, Dr. J, Larry Nance AND Terrance Stansbury, who delivered the classic Statue of Liberty dunk. Just a ludicrously loaded dunk contest.




1986: Maybe the single most impressive dunk contest of all time, as 5'7" inch Spud Webb managed to beat Wilkins and Stansbury.
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2/13/09   |   spankyc14   |   14 respect

SPUD

2/13/09   |   joeymac02   |   2 respect

what else do you expect people to do in the dunk contest anymore??? if they dont put on a superman suite or jump over random things it's "the same dunks" and people consider it boring.  You can only be so innovative when gravity is involved....thats why I suggest they bust out the trampolines oh wait didn't they already do that in the NBA's version of the XFL????

2/13/09   |   Southern_D

I think the NBA is great and I love the dunk contest. It's not as great as it used to be but it's much better than the 3 point contest and the all star game. It gets more hype than both of those put together. Dwight Howard didn't even dunk a the ball and he got the award and I hate how people jumping over 3 foot props think it makes it so much better but I still like to watch them...

2/13/09   |   Debi_L   |   11287 respect

1986 BY FAR my fav.  I remember watching it with my bro, who played basketball then. and measured up to about 5'7".  Spud was his hero!

2/13/09   |   jrcincalifornia

Two words, one year: Spud Webb, 1986 ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1pykLK_CUs

2/13/09   |   Derrich

In my opinion, the only real memorable slam dunks in the last decade were Vince Carter's 2000 dunk and Jason Richardson's 2003 dunk. They were genuine attempts at innovation rather than repeating old dunks or homage dunks.

This year, I'm more interested in the HORSE competition. It's about damn time!

2/13/09   |   RichmondSpider

I have determined that the decline of the NBA coensided with the emergence of the baggy shorts.  Go back to wearing the short shorts and the game will improve.  Can you imagine Bird and Maravich in those baggy things?



2/13/09   |   Michael_Luchies   |   17 respect

bkuhn wrote:
I am so tired of hearing people say that DWIGHT HOWARD did such an amazing thing.   It is a DUNK CONTEST!!!!   the man didnt even dunk the ball.  if we are going to call it a lets see who gets really close and shoots it the hardest. then he wins.  if it was a cool lay up contest. then he wins but he DID NOT dunk the ball.

It's all in the little uniforms...it makes them look like they jump higher

2/13/09   |   bkuhn

I am so tired of hearing people say that DWIGHT HOWARD did such an amazing thing.   It is a DUNK CONTEST!!!!   the man didnt even dunk the ball.  if we are going to call it a lets see who gets really close and shoots it the hardest. then he wins.  if it was a cool lay up contest. then he wins but he DID NOT dunk the ball.

2/13/09   |   radiowave000   |   145 respect

You can change the title of the article to "Remember the '80's when the NBA was truly great" 

2/13/09   |   BlazerJoe   |   103 respect

Man, these videos bring back memories.  Too bad it's become a farce now.