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The 6 best performances that didn't win the NBA Dunk Contest

Not all awesome dunks can be winners. Here are the six best dunks from contest losers. SB Nation 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Coverage

Jeff Gross

Some years, Slam Dunk Contest judges have impossible decisions to make. Some years, a spectacular performance or two walks away without a trophy. In honor of the undecorated superstars in Dunk Contest lore, we put together our six best performances that didn't win. A couple of these guys did win in other years, but these performances stand out in the canon.


Year: 2011
Defeated By: KIA
Best Dunk:

JaVale had three of the most creative dunks ever: two balls in two hoopsthree balls in one hoop and this incredible flirtation with an airborne concussion along the baseline. It's a dunk that certainly benefits from a thousand hi-def cameras and super slow-mo. But man, what a technical feat for a very large human.


Year: 1988
Defeated By: Michael Jordan
Best Dunk:

Jordan deserved the victory for his free throw line dunk, but 'Nique put together the best runner-up performance ever, starring the insane hangtime dunk at the 5:27 mark of this video. That one would give Kenny Smith a heart attack if it happened in 2010s.


Year: 1991
Defeated By: Dee Brown
Best Dunk:

All of them. Just a fantastic wire-to-wire performance for Kemp, who never won a Dunk Contest despite some mammoth entries. He's officially the self-lob king.


Year: 2011
Defeated By: Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee
Best Dunk:

The Showstopper was DeRozan's best dunk in two contests, though he came closer to beating Nate Robinson in 2010. In 2011, he just happened to run into the Blake-JaVale buzzsaw.


Year: 2000
Defeated By: Vince Carter and Steve Francis
Best Dunk:

T-Mac's first round was epic, and he actually entered the final round just one point behind teammate Vince Carter. But he botched his final dunk to finish third and never competed again.


Year: 2000
Defeated By: Vince Carter
Best Dunk:

Stevie Franchise was obviously overshadowed by Vinsanity, but his great performance helped rebuild the reputation of the Dunk Contest. This final dunk (7:13 mark) personifies what Francis brought to the contest: A totally nuts ability to fly.

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