He didn't clear the Grand Canyon, but Smith's flight over Kenyon was grand.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

By Adam W. Bloom


I know. It's easy.

There have been some incredible dunks at the All Star dunk contests over the years and I've picked one that happened less than a year ago.

"How about the history Bloom? You have guys like Carter, Jordan, Dominique. How could you pick a dunk that happened last year?"

I've heard it all before, but there is a good reason - I was there - and like the circus, you never know how good it really is until you see it with your own eyes. And trust me, years from now you'll be talking about this dunk being among the best and I'll be right there to say, "Told ya so."

I'll be honest. I never thought I'd be able to watch a slam dunk contest 15 feet from the action, but that is one of the glorious perks with working at the NBA.

In February 2005, myself and the NBA.com crew were second row behind the VIP crowd which included LeBron James, Terrell Owens and Big Shaq Daddy. There were no "big name" players in the event, but the buzz in the front row was that something special was going to happen this year. Little did I know at the time they were right on.

I had seen Kenyon Martin at the arena, but was a bit confused as to why he was suited up in his Nuggets warmups. The program did not mention him in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk contest or 3-Point Shootout. Moments later, it all became very clear when Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks stepped out on the court.

With his knee high socks and crooked grin, Josh had Kenyon bring a chair a few feet in front of the basket. Smith smiled as though he knew the next few moments would forever etch his place in NBA history. Kenyon took a seat, the crowd roared in anticipation, and in front of me I witnessed one of the greatest dunks these eyes will ever see.

Josh took off from what appeared to be the thre-point line, soared through the sky and launched himself high above Kenyon. Josh's apprentice threw the multi-colored ball high in the air above his head to Josh, who snagged it with an outstretched arm, paused for me to take a classic snap shot (see above), and then continued with an extended one-handed jam that threw the crowd into pandemonium.

Terrell Owens was screaming like a girl and the fans held their 10 signs high into the rafters. The buzz resonated within the arena for what seemed like a half hour as the judges raised their scores in the air.

What a moment. What a dunk.

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