By Matthew Gardner | February 17, 2007
In his first action on NBA All-Star Saturday Night, Dwight Howard's very original dunk didn't stick with the Hall of Fame panel of judges.
Howard didn't advance to the finals of the Sprite Slam Dunk contest, even though he impressed many of those in attendance with his second dunk. Boston's Gerald Green and New York's defending champion Nate Robinson reached the final round, while Howard and Chicago's Tyrus Thomas were eliminated.
Green eventually won the competition, jumping over a table with his final jump and earning a perfect 50 from the judges.
After connecting on a one-handed windmill on his first dunk, Howard went for originality as his ploy on dunk No. 2. With Orlando Magic teammate Jameer Nelson in the lane, Howard jogged to the basket and Nelson tossed the ball above the rim.
With his left hand, Howard reached high on the glass and slapped a sticker of his smiling face on the backboard. With his right, the 21-year-old threw down a perfect one-handed dunk. Nelson then broke out a tape measure to size up Howard's sticker placement and the two then held up a 12 feet, 6 inches sign to indicate how high Howard had gone on the backboard.
However, his creativity wasn't rewarded by the panel of former Slam Dunk champions. Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins only gave him an eight, while Vince Carter and Kobe Bryant offered a nine.
After receiving a 43 with his first dunk, the 45 on the second dunk wasn't enough to make it to the next round. Green's 95 points and Robinson's 90 lifted them to the next round, while Howard (85) and Thomas (80) were sent to the bench.
2007 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Participants
Nate Robinson (NYK), Dwight Howard (ORL), Gerald Green (BOS), Tyrus Thomas (CHI)
Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Julius "Dr. J" Erving
First Round - First Dunk
Tyrus Thomas - Missed bounce pass, one-hand jam from Ben Gordon on first, second and third attempts. Changes strategy, turning back to basket, bouncing ball between legs, off the glass and finishes with a two-hand jam. Score = 37
Gerald Green - Paul Pierce bounced the ball off the side of backboard, Green grabbed it and threw down a windmill, two-hand dunk. Score = 48
Dwight Howard - Tallest dunker in history of competition goes conservative with his first dunk, using a windmill, one-hand jam. Score = 43
Nate Robinson - Defending champion bounces ball in the paint, caught it and threw it down with one hand. Score = 45
After First Dunk: Gerald Green 48, Nate Robinson 45, Dwight Howard 43, Tyrus Thomas 37
First Round - Second Dunk
Tyrus Thomas - Ben Gordon bounces pass right in front of him, Thomas leaps over Gordon, grabbing the ball with one hand and slamming it down. Pulls down part of net on his follow through Score = 43
Dwight Howard - Howard puts a sticker of his head high up on the glass, while receiving a pass in the air from Jameer Nelson, dunking the ball down with one hand. Score = 45
Nate Robinson - David Lee holds the ball above his head, Robinson grabs the ball from him, spins and dunks it in. Score = 45
Gerald Green - Paul Pierce brings out a cardboard cutout of Nate Robinson. But Robinson decides the cutout isn't good enough and volunteers himself for service. Green changes his shoes and pumps them up, ala Dee Brown. He then leaps over Robinson, and mimics Brown's winning slam dunk from years ago, covering his eyes with his arm while hammering it down with one hand. Score = 47
After Second Dunk: Gerald Green 95, Nate Robinson 90, Dwight Howard 85, Tyrus Thomas 80
Matthew Gardner is a writer for OrlandoMagic.com