Top 10 NBA Dunk Contest Debuts

By: 02.24.12  •  10 Comments

Four first-time dunkers are competing in the All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest this year, and they’ve got 28 years of history to live up to when it comes to dramatic dunk debuts.

Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, Paul George and Jeremy Evans take part in Saturday night’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest in Orlando, where they’ll be chasing the precedent of the best dunkers in their first contest. From Spud to Kobe to J.R. and Jordan, we bring you the top 10 of those moments here.

Kobe Bryant, 1997
A year before he’d tangle one-one-one with Michael Jordan in the actual All-Star game, Bryant showed what the world what Lower Merion High opponents were seeing the years before. Bonus points for the between the legs off one foot and the two-foot slam where he brought it to his hips. The color commentator that year did have a word of warning, however: “You hope he doesn’t have the slam dunk winner curse after this.” No problem there.
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Isaiah Rider, 1994
From the baseline J.R. went between the legs, one-upping Orlando Woodbridge from a decade earlier and stealing the dunk contest on his first try. It was literally, to Charles Barkley at least, an “Oh my god” moment. On the color commentary Chuck thought this of Rider’s winning slam: “That might be the best dunk I’ve ever seen.”

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