Culture of Hoops

The most overrated NBA Dunk Contest dunks

There’s nothing quite as endearing as a guy who would be delighted to just touch the rim (me) critiquing the superb athletes in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. So without any further ado, I present to you the five most overrated dunks in NBA Dunk Contest history—from my couch.

5. 1988 – Michael Jordan dunks from the free-throw line.


First off, let me say that this is a very strong dunk. But still, there are some issues. The biggest one being that he did the exact same dunk in the previous year’s dunk contest. In fact, he did it better. In 1987, when he won his first contest, he jumped from slightly farther back. Oh yeah, he also tried and missed the free-throw dunk earlier in the 1988 contest. The other huge issue is that he beat Dominique Wilkins thanks to this dunk. The problem with that is that Dominique had a better final round than Jordan. Hmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that this particular All-Star Weekend took place in Chicago? Impossible. Anyway, Jordan scored a 50 for this dunk despite his utter lack of creativity. For this we shall condemn him! What did he do for the game anyway?

4. 2006 – Nate Robinson dunks over Spud Webb.


Nate Robinson is shorter than me. He can likely jump high enough to hit is head on the backboard. I would likely pull my hamstring in an attempt to jump and touch the backboard with my hand. But don’t let this fog the reality that this dunk was far from spectacular. Sure it was a nice touch to have one short dunker jump over another short dunker. Anytime a dunker can sprinkle in some throwback flavor in a dunk, he should. However, Spud Webb is hardly an impediment to Nate Robinson dunking. Spud is 5’7” and Robinson is 5’9”. In order for Nate to dunk the ball at all, he has to clear a Spud Webb-sized invisible barrier, so actually having Spud there is just a pretty garnish on a middling meal.

Meanwhile, I think there’s some leftover cake in my fridge. I’ll be right back …

… and I’m back. Let’s continue the countdown.

3. 2011 – Blake Griffin dunks over a car.


Blake Griffin won the dunk contest because of this dunk, but I’m not sure it was all that impressive. It’s likely that if I were writing this from my garage instead of my desk, I’d cross this off the list, but I am not. The truth about this dunk is it is all presentation without any real substance. Charles Barkley said it best: “That’s like when you got a pretty girl, she dumb, it don’t matter.” That is really all that needs to be said.

2. 2008 – Dwight Howard Superman dunk.


I believe for something to be considered a dunk, the dunker must touch the rim, no? Am I wrong here? Also, wasn’t the Superman thing Shaq’s first? There are other superheroes out there, Dwight. Even worse than the “dunk” was Magic Johnson’s analysis: “He was up so high, he threw it through!” Actually Magic, he didn’t throw it through because he was too high. He threw it through because he wasn’t close enough to the rim. In the three-point contest, if a shooter has his foot on the line, the shot doesn’t count. Well, if in a dunk contest the dunker doesn’t actually dunk, he shouldn’t get credit either. So Dwight, come find me in my glass house.

1. 1992 – Cedric Ceballos dunks blindfolded.


This dunk was so simple, so easy, that Ceballos literally was able to do it blindfolded. Had he done a dunk with his hands tied behind his back, maybe I’d be satisfied. But the fact that he dunks this ball blindfolded just indicates to me how pedestrian this dunk is. I’m not sure we even confirmed that the blindfold was 100 percent effective.

So there you have it folks. These are the five most overrated dunks in NBA Slam Dunk Contest history. Let’s hope this year’s contestants can do better this weekend. Oh shoot, I think I spilled cake on my shirt …

Fetured image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

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