Throwback Thursday: A Slam Dunk-A-Thon


VIDEO: Some of the all-time best Dunk Contest jams

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s TBT topic: NBA TV’s Slam Dunk-A-Thon

By Jeff Case & Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com

What’s better than watching a Slam Dunk Contest from the NBA’s archives? How about whole day of watching Slam Dunk Contests? That’s exactly what NBA TV has in store today starting at 10 a.m. ET and going until 5 p.m. ET, with more Dunk Contests airing again from 7 p.m. ET Thursday to 2 a.m ET on Friday.

You’ll see every Slam Dunk Contest in history (yes, even the first-ever one at the ABA All-Star Game in 1976 that featured Julius “Dr. J” Erving). It’s a great time to look back at an era when All-Stars like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Clyde Drexler were regular participants in the event.

And, you can look forward to this year’s Sprite Slam Dunk contest, which features three All-Stars (Damian Lillard, Paul George and John Wall) for the first time since the 1988 edition (when Wilkins, Jordan and Drexler participated).

To celebrate the big day of TV watching on NBA TV, here are some of the most iconic Slam Dunk Contest images of all-time:

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)


Gallery: Throwback Thursday: Slam Dunk History

What was your favorite dunk contest moment? Leave your comments below!

72 Comments

  1. KevinJason says:

    When Paul George does 360 windmill in the dark in 2012 Slam dunk contest!

    • brent barry says:

      I can’t believe that the brent barry’s freethrow line dunk not in the top 10 all time great!

    • lbj says:

      Our king “LeBron” powerful windmill dunk will be the number 1 slam dunk of all time if he will join the slam dunk contest but he is so generous to give chance to others

      • Jack says:

        The King Lebron will never win another title or award if he does not join the Emperor Durant in OKC.

      • Mckenzie says:

        Lebron is afraid of losing. His “king” persona and Nike controlling him won’t allow him to participate. It’s a business move

      • Mckenzie says:

        Every Lebrun dunk is plain and boring. It just looks impressive cause he does it with force.

        How quickly people forgot about Vince Carter. Vince carter is the reason why the dunk competition isn’t what it was anymore. No one has and will ever top his performance.

        Pls::: do not say Blake jumping over a “hood” of a car great. Smh

      • I'll take 5 over 2 says:

        Lebron at age 30 will never be great than Kobe and MJ.. Kobe didn’t leave LA and carried the team on his back because of his competitive nature. KOBE DOESN’T CARE WIN OR LOSE but won back to back championships after Shaq, the same with MJ who stayed with BULLS and won 6 championships. If Lebron can win at least back to back championships WITHOUT D.Wade maybe I can say he can be in the conversation between Kobe and MJ.. He doesn’t even had the heart of competitiveness. THERE’S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ( DOESN’T WANT TO LOSE AND AFRAID TO LOSE). It’s too late for him to join the Slam Dunk other than his age now his athleticism will NOT win the Slam Dunk.. he should’ve done it when he’s still young when he has more stamina to create extraordinary dunks. JUST DON’T PRETEND ANYMORE LEBRON, BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY YOUR FANS AND NBA WILL END UP FOOLED BY YOUR MOUTH REALIZING IT WHEN YOUR DONE..

    • sekou smith says:

      Who is the greatest dunker of all time cast your votes and opinion

      1. Dominique Wilkins
      2. Michael Jordan
      3. LeBron James
      4. Vince Carter
      ?

      • JHERMAYNE says:

        Kobe is a better dunker than Lebron. Im not saying he can get higher in the backboard or that he has more power. But go on youtube and do some career research. Kobe has more facials (dunking on players, especially more centers, not point gaurds; such as howard, yao, vlade divac, olajuwan, ewing), and has more unique finesse slam dunk winning in game dunks. I would advise you check it out lol.
        BTW kobe has the best reverse 180 dunk in the game.

      • caff says:

        dude drunk!!!!!! Lebron is a wayyyyy better dunker than KOBE!!! BTW dude dont talk about basketball EVER again!!!!

      • ? says:

        I personnally don’t really like lebrons dunks.
        They just look like brute force… theres no elegance and estetic with them that others like kobe have

      • Jack says:

        I can’t believe that people are considering LeBron a better dunker than Kobe, VC or MJ. Some people should setup their parental locks.

      • Mckenzie says:

        Vince carter. No competition.
        In game/ dunk contest

    • lbj ON TOP IS TAKING DRUGS says:

      Yah yah. blah blah blah blah. you know man that’s so familiar to me. I’m always becoming so generous to my best friend before entering a haunted booth.. LOL!! that’s what you say when you’re scared to lose and you know to yourself that you gonna lose respect.. LOL! my professor in MIT always say’s “MAKING EXCUSES WILL NOT MAKE YOU A GREAT PERSON IN ANY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE, IT WILL ONLY MAKE YOU A GREAT PRETENDER THAT MAKES PEOPLE FORGET ABOUT YOU”. Lebron might be your sweetheart for now, but I don’t see anything unique or extraordinary about what he does on the court that could be remembered by the world when he’s done.. unlike MJ SLAM DUNK jumping in free throw line or Kobe’s 81 points.. OTHER PLAYER DOES WHAT LEBRON DOES AND SOMETIMES, OTHER PLAYERS DOES IT BETTER..

      • sekou smith says:

        so you will remember the 81 pts vs the 4 time mvp’s were he and bill russel done it for the last 5 seasons? you have a bad memory then! faggot!!!

      • lbj says:

        that’s right sekou! nice analogy

      • Angel says:

        Sekou y do u think that Lebron is better than Kobe!!! Kobe should have 4 MVP trophies but guess wat the Nba never gives it to the person that deserves it!!!!!!! And Lebron has accomplished nothing!!! He went to the finals with Cleveland and not win!!! So he looked for a team like the heat that have d-wade and bosh to win a championship!!!! Kobe took the lakers 3 times and won twice by carrying the team on his back!!!!!!!! And Kobe will always be remember as the player who scored 81 points and 5 championships and LEBRON??????!!!!

      • lbj and sekou smith ON TOP IS TAKING DRUGS says:

        LOL!! LOL!! @ sekou smith do you really think that Lebron deserved the 4 time season MVP within 5 years?! oh common.. you might be really taking drugs. I can say that he deserved the 2 time season MVP when he went to Miami but when he was in Cleavland he DON’T DESERVED IT!! KOBE SHOULD’VE WON THE SEASON MVP from 2008-2009 and 2009 to 2010.. Lebron did nothing in Cleavland in those season.. because of his selfishness he leave Cleavland and join Miami.. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH ANGEL Kobe gave the lakers 3 Championships at age 23.. and HE STAYED WITH LAKERS AND DIDN’T GO TO OTHER POWER HOUSE TEAM.. if KOBE did what Lebron did leaving his team and went into a power house team I’m telling you sekou smith KOBE might have 8 or 9 Championship rings already. KOBE carried the LAKERS on his back and he won back to back Championship without SHAQ if Lebron can prove that he can win back to back championship without D.WADE he can be in the conversation of Kobe and MJ..

      • lbj says:

        carry the team on his back? are you serious? he have shaq who is always finals mvp if he carry the team he should be the finals mvp then simlple logic and during shaq time they also have robert horry,derrick fisher,glenn rice and with his last 2 championship he has a lot better theam mate not just 2 like wade and bosh he have gasol,bynum the great during the time,metta world war,odom and derrick fisher think first before you say anything that he carry the team the team carry him that’s the right words to say!!!

  2. Bu Faris says:

    Jason Richardson had another great dunk: between the leg reverse!!!!!!!!! That should be number 1 not VC’s!!!!!!

  3. GameBundle says:

    Blake Griffin had a high quality dunk in 2011. And whoa, Vince Carter. What a dunker.

    • 90PercentFTM says:

      You’re right. Off the backboard honeydip on the first try. Like MJ or Clyde Drexler, BG is poetry in motion when he dunks (looks how he lifts his legs and leans in).

      I think when it’s said and done, best dunkers of all time top 5:

      1. VC
      2. MJ
      3. Nique
      4. Dr. J
      5. BG

  4. GameBundle says:

    Michael Jordan is a legend dunker.

  5. Drago says:

    Richardson is the best Carter second and Jordan-Wilkins third.

  6. NBA Fanatic says:

    Vinsanity is still the greatest dunker of all time hands down.

  7. Marko Ciric Serbia says:

    Vince15 and T-Mac! Domination 2003 like never before and after!!!

  8. Seth Crockett says:

    I’m currently watching a dunk contest with Jerome Kearsey in it…smh

  9. tdlg says:

    #1 Carter
    #2 Jordan
    #3 Dominique
    #4 Howard
    #5 Dr. J/ Spudd Webb/ Nate

    • Common Sense says:

      I can’t believe Spud Webb wasn’t mentioned until now. Spud Webb is the best pound for pound dunker on the planet, period! Watch what he does at 5’6″

  10. CREW says:

    Am I the only one who do not find Jordan^s dunks as good as they have been presented ?!?!?!?!?! He won just because his name was Michael Jordan….

    • JHERMAYNE says:

      Did you not see the hanging side ways in the air like a string was carrying him in a elementry christmas play. The guy gracefully glides in the air and makes it look like art. and yea thats a branding can get you.

  11. Fofer Jones says:

    lmao the commentators are so unenthusiastic in the old days. Nique dunks, “ok.”

  12. amonte allen says:

    I think vince windmill was number 1 and also his elbow dunk should have been in the top 10

  13. zacharyschiff says:

    lmao the commentators were so unenthusiastic in the old days. Nique dunks, “ok.”

  14. REAL says:

    1. Carter
    2. Blake
    3. Kobe
    4. LeBron
    5. Howard

  15. Forrest McWlliams says:

    With all due respect to these Legends… VINCE CARTER takes the crown. the guy simply do it without any difficulties. the grace and coordination is just there!

  16. KNR says:

    Maybe not the the best, but my favourite of all time.

    1. Vince Carter
    2. Jason Richardson
    3. Harold Minor
    4. Ricky Davis
    5. Nate Robinson

  17. Skillz says:

    Vince Carter is the best dunker of all time.

  18. hesitation says:

    the one and only – vince carter

  19. THEREALTOP5 says:

    Here it is:
    1. Vince Carter
    2. Blake Griffin
    3. Dwight Howard
    4. Ricky Rubio
    5. Kobe Bryant

  20. MAVROS says:

    OF COURSE NO ONE HERE SAYS NOTHIN ABOUT THE MOST UNDERRATED DUNK WHICH OF COURSE BELONGS TO IGGY, THE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY IN THET ONE IS UNBELIEVEBLE AND SINCE THEN I NEVER SEEN IT DONE BY SOMEONE ELSE IN THAT WAY AS HE DID.PEACE

  21. KJT says:

    worst dunk ever..blake over a car..WEAK!! Vince far superior than MJ and lebron..best in game dunker KOBE. Lebron is soooo frikkin boring!

    • 90PercentFTM says:

      McGee had a perfect 100 in the first round, which he deserved.

      However, no way he should’ve won the second round against BG. McGee had a reverse one-handed jam (which took more than one try) and a simple off the backboard dunk.

      Ibaka dunked from behind the free throw line, but he barely dunked it. Look at MJ and Dr. J (those guys made it look easy and graceful).

  22. Balthazar says:

    seriously
    LBJ does not excite me when he dunks the ball, granted he had great facials this season

  23. ss says:

    sickest dunks EVER
    #VINCE CARTER!

  24. G says:

    This may be blasphemous to the majority of people especially because of Vince, but i think Jason Richardson is the greatest dunk contest dunker in nba history! 2002-204 he the best collection of dunks! from the sideline, toss it, put it through the legs and dunk it backwards with the off hand, off the backboard through the legs, toss and backwards tomahawk! 360s windmills…Vince had the best individual dunk contest, but his body of work is too small. jason richardson is NASTY

  25. Iggy says:

    Iggys Final Dunk made it in the Top 10 dunks ever proof that he got robbed that contest.

  26. Jimmy says:

    miss this era, back when the NBA was made up of real men. Today the sport is a bunch of cry babies and their egos. by far the most boring sport to watch on tv these days. what happend?

  27. sam says:

    1(carter)
    2(carter)
    3(carter)

    but seriously
    1 carter
    2 richardson
    3 blake
    4 dominique
    5 jordan/lebron/paul george/……

  28. kayebop says:

    1. Vince Carter
    2. Michael Jordan
    3. Jason Richardson
    4. Dominique Wilkins
    5. Kobe Bryant

    yep..!

  29. Dan Irizari says:

    Vince Carter…………. 3 dunks highlight str8t.. period

  30. Simon says:

    Vince Carter is the Best Dunker EVER… LeBron can be the most powerfull dunker ever but i think Wilkins is above him…. instead, VC had so much creativity and power combined that he’s by far the best ever

  31. MR.SUAVE says:

    Greatest dunkers?
    1 – VINCE CARTER
    2 – DOMINIQUE WILKINS
    3 – MICHAEL JORDAN
    4 – JASON RICHARDSON
    5 – BLAKE GRIFFIN

    • 90PercentFTM says:

      I think Dr. J deserves more credit. If not for his great dunks, but because he practically created the game above the rim.

  32. Dobin says:

    Well all lebron does is hit it off the backboard Kobe and Paul George let’s see Damian lillard actuall do dunks lebron stinks

    Go Red nation!!!!!!!!!

  33. Dobin says:

    I hate lebron

  34. Gillsy says:

    I like guys who can win or participate a dunk contest and throw it down in a game. Like Jordan, Vince, Wilkins, Kemp, Kobe even Green. I think back to Kemp talking about why Griffin doesn’t really power dunk, well half the time he dunks on someone he lets the ball go a foot from the rim (But that’s a different story). James is the same every dunk is a barge through the middle power dunk which looks nice but never really changes. But like Griffin never really seams to power it home. His dunks are nice to watch though but he is in that weird set of skills where he could never win a dunk comp cause he has neither enough finesse or power to compete with others.

    • 90PercentFTM says:

      Blake Griffin never powers it home? Are you serious? Look up his dunks on youtube. The dunk on Perkins is impressive because that was one hell of a difficult play. But he has at least 50 other dunks that are “man’s jam.”

  35. K says:

    Best dunkers in games as well as dunk contests (who were All-stars):
    V Carter
    D Wilkins
    M Jordan
    J Erving

  36. homie says:

    Cater, Kobe, MJ is great!

  37. Kevin says:

    In game dunker Sam dunk contest

    1) M Jordan 1) V Carter (hands down)
    2) V Carter 2) M Jordan
    3) K Bryant 3) D Wilkins
    4) D Wilkins 4) J Richardson
    5) L James/ D Wade
    B Griffin

    In regards to Lebron he is a standard dunker he does not have any style to his dunk just power. He would not be a good dunker in a slam dunk contest. But now a days he would win on fame and not style. Great player but not a contest dunker.

  38. curt says:

    M air J the greatest ever.

  39. Dylan says:

    1. Dylan
    2. Dylan
    3. Dylan
    4. Dylan
    5. Dylan

    Because \i spit hot fire!

  40. Bane says:

    In game dunkers: Slam dunk contest dunkers:
    1.Kobe 1.Jason Richardson
    2.MJ 2.Vince Carter
    3.Vince 3.Nate Robinson
    4.T-Mac 4.Iggy
    5.Iggy 5.Desmond Mason
    Lebron can’t be in any of these sentences,because he never participated in slam dunk contest,and he never dunked on real center,with real contact,not fastbreak tomahawks.Vince is overaly the best.

  41. tanibanana says:

    V. Carter and J. Richardson could fill-up the entire top-10, just by themselves.

  42. gambler says:

    vincent lamar carter GREATEsT DUNKER OF ALL TIME!!!!