Northwest Sports Beat

2012 NBA Dunk Contest: A Throw Up, Instead of Throw Down Event

Former Sonics and Blazers put 2012 Contest to shame

Jeremy Evans, Derrick Williams, Chase Budinger and Paul George;  far from superstar status, far from household names, far from the best dunkers the NBA has to offer.  Yet last weekend, those four gentlemen had the unfortunate honor of participating in what could go down as the worst dunk contest in All-Star Game history (save for Evans’ two ball dunk).

jeremy evans

Utah Jazz Jeremy Evans - 2012 Dunk Champ (Photo: Reuters)

In previous years, the buildup and anticipation for what could happen on Saturday night far outweighs the rest of the weekend…other than for sneaker heads.

More recently, you could compare the NBA Dunk Contest to that of WWE’s Wrestlemania; a lot of hype and not much show.  Yes, you would get one or two amazing dunks (or matches for you wrasslin’ fans), but the rest of the event was pretty much fluff.  Yes, the physical output is more than anything the average man could put forth, but at the end of the night, it turns out to be disappointing.

Looking back at former dunk contest entrants from the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle SuperSonics, any of these five could have walked away from the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest (possibly even at their respective current ages and physical state), no matter if it were decided by judges, phone calls or text messages.

Enough of the gimmicks and props that have marred the once “must see” event, bring back the nastiness and funk that once was the NBA Dunk Contest.

***If the videos below do not show up at first, please refresh the page.***

Shawn Kemp

The Reign Man took part in the Saturday night contest four times during his career with the Sonics, 1990, 91, 92 and 94 (he was set to battle in 93, but was out with an injury).  Kemp made it to the final round twice, but lost to Dee Brown’s blindfold dunk in 91 and JR. Rider’s East Bay Funk in 94.

Desmond Mason

The former Oklahoma State Cowboy was far from the superstar that others in this list were, but he managed to do something that none of the others accomplished, winning the 2001 dunk contest.  Mason fell short of a repeat in 2002, but managed to return to the finals in 2003 before falling short to Jason Richardson’s back to back conquest.  Mason ranks behind Kemp, due to the nastiness of Kemp’s dunks.

Clyde Drexler

You would think that a man nicknamed “The Glide”, would have been a shoe-in to capture at least one dunk contest title in his career, right?  Unfortunately for Drexler, the best that he could muster in five attempts (84-85, 87-89) was a runner up finish to Kenny “Sky” Walker in 1989.  We won’t touch his horrible showings in 84 and 85 for fear of ruining his legacy.

Jerome Kersey

Completely overshadowed by Mr. Phi Slama Jama, Kersey fell just short of Michael Jordan in the 1987 contest.  In a battle between Jordan’s finesse and grace verses Kersey’s power, the Trail Blazer didn’t have enough in his repertoire to match the first of Jordan’s back to back championships.

Terence Stansbury

After competing in the contest the previous two years as an Indiana Pacer, Stansbury matched Jordan in the 1987 contest as the only two dunkers to capture not just one perfect score of 50, but two.  In front of the home town Seattle crowd, Stansbury brought the fans to their feet with a Statue Of Liberty 360 with his first dunk (49) and a pair of under the arm self ally-opps later in the contest.

Rudy Fernandez

First off, the tribute dunk to Fernando Martin was kicked in the junk by Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller.  All things considered, taking the dedication out of play, the opening dunk was better than a 42 in my opinion.  Unfortunately for Rudy, he picked his Spanish National teammate Pau Gasol to assist with his second round dunk.  After eight attempts to get the pass down (including a handful of unnecessary behind the backs), Gasol and Fernandez teamed up for what should have been a much better score than the 43 that he received had he connected on the first attempt.

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About Steve Lee

Steve is a 12 year writing vet, and writes for a number of sports sites, offering a unique and abstract look at the games we love. He still hopes the Grizz + Sonics return to the Northwest, and has been a Lakers fan since "Showtime".
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