NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2013: Ranking the dunks from Terrence Ross' windmill to James White

Scott Halleran

The 2013 Slam Dunk Contest featured 16 dunks/attempted dunks. Here they are, ranked from 1-16.

The 2013 dunk contest had probably the strongest field since the 2000 contest that featured Vince Carter, Steve Francis and Jerry Stackhouse, with 2007 champ Gerald Green, YouTube hero James White, 2012 champ Jeremy Evans and three other players known for ridiculous feats of athleticism in Kenneth Faried, Eric Bledsoe and eventual champion Terrence Ross. All six of them had two shots at dunks in the first round, and Ross and Evans each had two dunks in the finals.

Here are all 16, ranked by which ones were most awesome.

16. James White Breaking Our Hearts


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James White was born to compete in dunk contests. The 30-year-old has won probably hundreds of them by now, including the McDonald's All-American contest when he was in high school, despite losing to David Lee in high school and David Noel in the NCAA dunk contest when he was a senior in Cincinnati. He beat Gerald Green in a dunk contest in Russia in 2010 and was a member of YouTube dunk superteam Team Flight Bros. When White finally stuck around in the NBA to the All-Star Break and was named as a participant, all fans of dunking rejoiced.

That's why his performance wasn't just your typical bummer dunk contest faceplant, à la Larry Hughes. It was his shot. He was born for it. And, as Charles Barkley said, the lights were just a little too bright for him. He was either too nervous, or trying these that worked at 27 that didn't work at 30. Whatever it was, there are few times where abject sadness crept in during a dunk contest that's pure spectacle in the 29 years this has gone on. This was one of them.

15. Gerald Green Bumming Us Out


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Green already got his shot, and he won the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest. We don't feel bad for him. This was supposed to be him and White's show, though, and neither of them could do their second dunks. In two minutes time, neither one could put the ball through the rim. Green, after everything stopped counting, finally managed to pull of his dunk, which was dunking twice before landing. That somehow made it even sadder. This was not a good dunk contest.

14. Kenneth Faried And The Lamest 360 Ever


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Kenneth Faried's second dunk luckily made up for his first one, because this was atrocious. Of all the dunks that were actually completed, this was the worst. Yes, he made a rotation in the air and caught the ball off the backboard. But he barely grazed the rim — he actually looked like he couldn't see the rim coming — and, well it was just super awkward. To top it all off, he stumbled at the end. Ew, Kenneth. Just ew.

13. Eric Bledsoe Wasn't Worth The Wait


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Bledsoe took a couple tries to get this dunk down pat, and why did he even both. The fact that he hung in the air and hesitated gave it a slight wrinkly that made it better than Faried's attempt, but not by much. They both got 39s from the judges. If Bledsoe were 6'4" instead of 6'1", this wouldn't have looked nearly as cool as it did anyway.

12. James White's Ho-Hum Dunk


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White's presentation was awesome, lining eight flight attendants up on "Flight's" runway. He tried a legitimate free-throw line dunk but came up short, so tried again. He leapt from just inside and threw it down with two hands, so this was pretty nice, but, again, the man has thrown down a through-the-legs free-throw line dunk before. Anything less than spectacular just wasn't going to cut it.

11. Jeremy Evans Dunks Two Balls


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This dunk is really impressive, physically speaking. But dunking two balls at once is mega played out. When just two years ago, JaVale McGee dunked two balls at once in two separate hoops and also three balls at once in the same competition, you just have to retire the dunk unless you're somehow topping it.

10. Terrence Ross' "50"


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First of all, I have no idea how this dunk got a 50. Was it impressive? Sure. But it's not particularly creative or innovative. Ross shows off his insane hops and coordination, but that's about it. It cracks the Top 10, but there's much more in store for Mr. Ross.

9. Mark Eaton Steals The Show


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We all love Mark Eaton. The 7'5" former Jazz center was clearly there to win favor with judges Yao Ming (7'6") and Dikembe Mutombo (7'2"). Evans earns points for degree of difficulty, but what's the point of have a massive dude if he's just going to be sitting down? He could have done some things differently, and it took him about four attempts. This is the last mediocre dunk. They're all good after this one.

8. Kenneth Faried's Eastbay


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This was a tough decision. This is pretty much 6b, tied with the two that come before it, but that's not how this works. Faried showed impressive flexibility on this one, but ultimately it lacked the "oomph" factor of the dunks that come before it on this list. Call it the tall guy curse, but Faried is shorter than Jeremy Evans, so please call it something else.

7. Eric Bledsoe's Backbreaker


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Man this was a good dunk, especially after Bledsoe's woeful first one. He gets such good air – helped by his "little dude" status – and contorts his body beautifully. He threw it to himself off the floor though, which means, in terms of degree of difficulty, it's just not as tough as No. 6.

6. Gerald Green, Still Jumping Insanely High


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On first glance, this may not be better than Bledsoe's backbreaker, but good lord, look where Gerald Green's head is. Eyes looking down at the rim will always bump you up a few spots. Add in that he caught it off the backboard and actually used his teammate (as opposed to two dunks yet to be seen), this is a good one. Plus, it was a true double-pump; that ball got right down in the crotch area. I only wish I could rate it higher.

5. Terrence Ross, Through The Legs, Over Twitter Kid


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This is the dunk that ultimately won Ross the contest, but it was his third-best dunk. The Eastbay move itself was probably worse than Faried's, admittedly. He does it off the run, not the catch, and doesn't get up as high. But when you jump over a human being, and that human being is the son of Twitter's CEO, you get extra points. I don't make the rules, kids.

4. Terrence Ross Behind The Back


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Man, I so desperately want to rank this higher, but I just can't. He did this after four or five tries, which means it just can't go Top 3, all of which were achieved on the first or second attempt. Behind the backs are way, way harder to pull off than through-the-legs, and throw in that this came with a rotation, it's incredibly impressive. Plus, do I detect a smile as he's dunking?

3. Jeremy Evans' Scissor Kick


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Understated, yet magnificent. Evans finally gets out of his own way to throw down an absolutely classic. Few human beings are capable of leaping into the air and just hanging there, but Evans is one of them. Proper feet positioning is an underrated aspect of legendary dunks, but ask Michael Jordan, who dunked from the free throw line thrice, but only once like this, whether it makes a difference. He'll tell you. This one is a thing of beauty.

2. Terrence Ross' Terrence Windmill


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A 180-windmill off the catch from behind the backboard clad in Vince Carter's 2000 Slam Dunk Contest jersey? Yes, please and thank you. Ross caught this from childhood friend Terrence Jones, and this was all he had to do to win the fan vote. When the contest ended, I was sure this would be my No. 1, but something else made a late charge.

1. Jeremy Evans Dunks Over His Own Painting


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This dunk is wildly impressive standing on its own. That Evans revealed a painting of himself doing said dunk and signed it afterwards adds a theatrical element that I think we all can agree was pretty cool. Signing it was a nice touch. Definitely Top 3. But, wait. No, it can't be. /checks Twitter furiously. IT IS.

SHUT IT DOOOOOOWN. LET'S GO HOOOOOOOOOME.

****

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