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NBA Slam Dunk Contest: Competition Has Long History Of Memorable Moments

The 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest takes place Saturday night in Orlando. Here is a look at some past memories.

The Slam Dunk Contest is generally one of the most popular events at the annual All-Star Weekend. Certainly, the contest consistently creates a much greater quantity of lasting memories than does the actual exhibition game itself. The Slam Dunk Contest is where the nation fell in love with Spud Webb, where they were first thrilled by Michael Jordan on a national level and where Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson became stars.

The contest dates back to the 1976 ABA All-Star Game, where Julius Erving claimed the inaugural title. The contest was reintroduced by the NBA in 1984, when Larry Nance bested Erving to take home the trophy.

Jordan claimed back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988, and Harold Miner became the next two-time winner in 1993 and 1995. In the 2000s, Vince Carter helped usher in an age of increased theatricality in the contest when he performed the unforgettable "elbow in the rim" dunk. Jason Richardson also won back-to-back in 2002 and 2003, while Nate Robinson became the first three-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner with titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

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The reigning slam dunk champ is Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, who dunked over a car in the 2011 contest.

The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest will be the final event held during All-Star Saturday Night festivities, which begin 8 p.m. ET on TNT.

For all news and information regarding the Slam Dunk Contest and the All-Star Weekend in general, please stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.