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Jeremy Evans earned 29 percent of the the 3 million votes cast by fans to win the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Evans wins 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk

Posted Jan 31 2012 1:27PM | #SpriteSlam

By Sekou Smith,

ORLANDO -- With the game's biggest stars watching from courtside, Saturday night's Sprite Slam Dunk contest provided an opportunity for a fresh new face to introduce himself to the NBA's global audience.

And that's exactly what Jeremy Evans did.

A relative unknown and former D-Leaguer, the Utah Jazz forward won the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk contest, defeating Houston's Chase Budinger in a tight race that included 4 million voters on deciding the champion rather than a panel of judges.

Evans collected 29 percent of the fan vote to Budinger's 28 percent, instantly making a name for himself after not even being an original invitee.

He was a last-minute replacement for New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, practiced three hours, completed a two-ball dunk in which he jumped over Jazz teammate Gordon Hayward, who was sitting in a chair, for his most notable dunk of the night.

He seemed genuinely shocked when TNT's Cheryl Miller announced him as the winner over Budinger, Indiana's Paul George and Minnesota's Derrick Williams.

"It's amazing," Evans said. "I came in and they asked me how long I've been practicing and I think I found time maybe Tuesday, Wednesday and that I was really going to be in it. Thursday night, I came in, they gave me 45 minutes on the court. That's about it."

Evans used YouTube to come up with the chair dunk, watching the Team Flight Brothers. He also donned a Karl Malone throwback jersey and jumped over comedian Kevin Hart, the MVP of Friday's Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, who was dressed as a mailman for the skit that led up to the dunk.

Evans credited the fans for his win, admitting that there were more impressive dunks than all but his chair dunk.

"Without them, I feel like it may have went a different way or one of the guys would have won it," Evans said. "I feel like they chose what they felt was the best dunk."

George did a lights-out dunk, where he wore a uniform that glowed in the dark arena as he completed a 360 dunk. He also jumped over two of his teammates -- 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert and Dahntay Jones -- for another one of his dunks.

Williams had a wicked 360 that he caught off the side of the backboard, the assist coming from Timberwolves' rookie point guard Ricky Rubio, and also had a nasty windmill dunk while jumping over a motorcycle for his first dunk.

Budinger pulled on a Cedric Ceballos throwback jersey and tried to recapture the magic of the "hocus pocus" dunk" Ceballos used to win the contest 20 years ago in this city. Budinger added his own twist, though, with Ceballos standing there watching, by throwing it down backwards.

It wasn't a KIA, like 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk champion Blake Griffin used, but Budinger pulled out the first high-profile prop of the night when he donned a red cap backwards and proved that white men can jump and soared over Diddy for the first dunk of the contest.

"When I have kids I'm going to tell that I jumped over P-Diddy," a gracious Budinger said, calling it his favorite dunk of the night.

Evans, however, will leave town with the trophy and much higher profile than he had before he showed up here for All-Star Weekend. In a year of pleasant surprises around the league -- most notably Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin -- Evans is hoping that his win Saturday night won't be his last time on the big stage.

"I wouldn't say that," he said when asked if this weekend will serve as the unofficial kickoff of Evan-sanity. "But I feel like it's a start. People didn't really know who I was before this, but after tonight, hopefully they know my name."

-- Official event news release


Griffin steals the show to win Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
Blake Griffin had jaws dropping in every corner of Staples Center when he launched himself over the hood of a shiny new silver Kia, caught a pass from L.A. Clippers teammate Baron Davis and jammed it home to beat out the Wizards' Javale McGee to claim the 2011 slam dunk crown.

Griffin's elaborate stunt on his final dunk of the night was enough to earn him 68 percent of the world wide fan voting via text message and eclipsed a consistently spectacular effort by McGee just because of its sheer audacity.

"He came prepared with the car," McGee said, "and nothing's going to beat the car unless I bring out a plane or something."

High-flying Nate becomes first three-time Slam Dunk champ
Nate Robinson defended his title in Dallas to become the first-ever three-time Sprite Slam Dunk champion by defeating Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozan in the finals.

Robinson sealed the win on his final dunk, scooping the ball off the backboard, spinning and putting it through with two hands, backwards.

Krypto-Nate leaps over Superman to claim Dunk title
New York's Nate Robinson soared over defending champ Dwight Howard of Orlando -- literally and figuratively -- in winning a dramatic contest in Phoenix. Robinson donned a cape and the Knicks' St. Patrick's Day green uniform and vaulted over Howard in one of the most memorable dunks in the event's long history.

Howard flies like Superman to win Dunk crown
Dwight Howard scored a perfect 100 in the first round, then broke out a Superman cape to beat defending champion Gerald Green in the final round to win his first Slam Dunk crown.

Celtic's Green notches perfect 50 dunk
Boston's Gerald Green leapt past Nate Robinson, Dwight Howard and Chicago's Tyrus Thomas in the first round, then held off Robinson in the finals to win the event in Las Vegas.

More All-Star History >>
All Slam Dunk contest results >>

Sprite Slam Dunk Year-By-Year Winners

2011 -- Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
2010 -- Nate Robinson, New York
2009 -- Nate Robinson, New York
2008 -- Dwight Howard, Orlando
2007 -- Gerald Green, Boston
2006 -- Nate Robinson, New York
2005 -- Josh Smith, Atlanta
2004 -- Fred Jones, Indiana
2003 -- Jason Richardson, Golden State
2002 -- Jason Richardson, Golden State
2001 -- Desmond Mason, Seattle
2000 -- Vince Carter, Toronto
1997 -- Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
1996 -- Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers
1995 -- Harold Miner, Miami
1994 -- Isaiah Rider, Minnesota
1993 -- Harold Miner, Miami
1992 -- Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix
1991 -- Dee Brown, Boston
1990 -- Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1989 -- Kenny Walker, New York
1988 -- Michael Jordan, Chicago
1987 -- Michael Jordan, Chicago
1986 -- Spud Webb, Atlanta
1985 -- Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1984 -- Larry Nance, Phoenix

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