SB Nation

Mike Prada | February 13, 2014

The soul of the Dunk Contest

The Soul of the Dunk Contest

THE EARLY YEARS

by Paul Flannery

THE EARLY YEARS

by Paul Flannery

The Slam Dunk Contest began as a last-ditch idea to save a league that was about to cease its operations. Thanks to a couple big stars, though, it became the NBA's marquee showcase.

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VC's REVIVAL

by Ricky O'Donnell

VC's REVIVAL

by Ricky O'Donnell

The dunk contest was on life support in 2000. Thanks to Vince Carter's heroics, it was granted a second life.

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Spud Webb all stars

by Conrad Kaczmarek

Spud Webb all stars

by Conrad Kaczmarek

The dunk contest has a way of turning otherwise-anonymous players into famous stars. We remember a group of participants that owe their fame to this one event.

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Evolution of the windmill

by Mike Prada

Evolution of the windmill

by Mike Prada

Dominique Wilkins introduced the windmill in the early 80s, and it became the weapon of choice for dunk contest participants in the coming years. But how has this signature motion evolved over time?

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Six-best non-winning performances

by Tom Ziller

Six-best non-winning performance

by Tom Ziller

Only one player can win the dunk contest every year, even if others put on a show. In honor of those runners-up, we remember six participants that gave us great memories even in defeat.

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Six dunks that would have been awesome

by Tom Ziller

Six dunks that would have been awesome

by Tom Ziller

The dunk contest is designed to stretch the limits of creativity and artistry. Sometimes, those limits are stretched too far. We admire six dunks that could have been great, but just didn't quite get executed properly.

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About the Author

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I am the NBA editor for SBNation.com, and phrases like "ice the pick and roll" tumble way too easily out of my mouth. I'm also the founder of SB Nation's Wizards blog Bullets Forever, where I root for a team that hasn't won over 45 games in 33 years.

I started following basketball when I was 10 and saw Gheorghe Muresan attempt to back down Luc Longley in the post. It was love at first sight.

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