Cohen's Tournament: Best Slam Dunk Champion

By Josh Cohen
February 7, 2012


ORLANDO -- From the Dominique-MJ showdown to Dee Brown’s Reebok Pump sneaker burlesque to Cedric Ceballos’ blindfold routine to Vince Carter’s unprecedented high-flying show to Dwight Howard’s Superman performance to Blake Griffin’s car jump, the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest remains one of the most entertaining events in professional sports.

Every time you think the dunk competition can’t get any better or more compelling, somehow it does.

Sure, windmills, tomahawks, double clutch slams and jams off the backboard do get stale after a while. But, the use of props and engaging climactic routines continue to make the Sprite Slam Dunk contest must-watch television.

Last season, for instance, the addition of “mentors” offered the competition some extra intrigue. Before each participant displayed his dunk attempt, each of the coaches, including some charismatic personalities such as Kenny Smith and Chris Webber, incited the crowd with some spirited commentary.

While we all would love to see the league’s most prominent stars and high flyers, including Howard, Griffin and LeBron James, compete against each other, in some ways watching younger, lesser-known talent is more advantageous.

When Jason Richardson and Josh Smith, for example, won the competition, they were relatively unfamiliar to the casual fan. But as a result of their dazzling performances during All-Star Weekend, both J-Rich and J-Smoove are now recognizable names.


Josh Cohen
It’s hard to conclude which all-time dunk champion put on the best show. For old-time NBA enthusiasts, the days of Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan and Spud Webb probably can’t be topped. For those in his or her 20’s or 30’s, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter likely were the cream of the crop. And for the even younger generation, Howard, Griffin and Nate Robinson may reign supreme.

Since it is so convoluted to make this assessment, it’s time for one of my signature tournaments to determine the best slam-dunk competitor ever.

Before voting on whom you think deserves to advance, watch each of the finalist’s performances from the years they won the competition.

Dominique Wilkins - WATCH: 1985 | 1990
Michael Jordan – WATCH: 1987 | 1988
Kobe Bryant – WATCH: 1997
Vince Carter – WATCH: 2000
Jason Richardson – WATCH: 2002 | 2003
Nate Robinson – WATCH: 2006 | 2009 | 2010
Dwight Howard – WATCH: 2008
Blake Griffin – WATCH: 2011




Vince Carter


Vince Carter


Vince Carter

Finals


Nate Robinson


Kobe Bryant


Dominique Wilkins


Dominique Wilkins


Jason Richardson


Dwight Howard


Dwight Howard


Dwight Howard


Michael Jordan


Michael Jordan


Blake Griffin