These innovative NBA All-Star Weekend jams have become iconic fan favorites. Welcome to NBAOnlineStreams, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 NBA All Star Dunks.
For this list, we’re focusing specifically on slam dunks performed during NBA’s All-Star Weekend, so no in-game throw-downs have been included.
#10: Zach LaVine (2015)
In his NBA All-Star Weekend debut, Minnesota’s 19-year-old guard brought some new flavor to the competition. With his first round slam, Zach LaVine had a bit of measuring to do, and the timing was indeed crucial.
Lifting off just outside the paint, LaVine takes the ball under his leg and hammers it down with precision and polish. The “Space Jam Dunk” shows off LaVine’s creativity – and given he was still a rookie at the time, it highlights his explosive athleticism. In the end, LaVine took home top honors and successfully defended his throne the following year.
#9: Aaron Gordon (2016)
Though he lost the competition to Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon’s collection of high-flying dunks helped make for perhaps the best contest in years. In years past, these ballers would get assistance from teammates. But in 2016, Gordon brought out Stuff the Magic Dragon for a most challenging slam dunk.
As far as timing, he doesn’t need to worry about a precision bounce – well, at least in terms of the ball itself. What does need careful attention, however, is Gordon’s bounce over the mascot, and he manages to avoid embarrassment while sealing the deal with both hands.
#8: Julius Erving (1976)
In the ABA event that introduced the first ever 360-degree jam, Dr. J emerged as both the winner and ultimate innovator. Today, the free throw line dunk has become a classic, mostly due to Air Jordan and his legacy of aerial techniques. But Julius Erving did it first, and he did it well – complete with a little ‘70s flair.
These days, it may not seem like a big deal given the athleticism and training of modern athletes. But Dr. J was already a legend back then, and his display of dunk artistry defied expectations, establishing a new bar for excellence.
#7: DeMar DeRozan (2011)
Mid-way through his second NBA season, a 21-year-old DeMar DeRozan had already established himself as a legitimate scorer and potential superstar. Then, he gave NBA fanatics “The Show Stopper,” a dunk that would immediately establish his legacy at NBA All-Star Weekend.
Four years before Zach LaVine delivered the Space Jam dunk, DeRozan took the same positional route but executed a reverse windmill, showing off his airtime and navigation skills around the rim. It’s more of poetic slam compared to your traditional hammer, but it took the contest in a brand new direction.
#6: Spud Webb (1986)
In his native Dallas, a 5’7” Spud Webb took on his own teammate – and perhaps the decade’s most brilliant dunker – Dominique Wilkins. At the time, Wilkins had reportedly never seen Webb dunk, and Spud undoubtedly gave him a moment to remember.
Just the bounce itself is something else, and Webb’s follow-through ensured the top prize and a lasting legacy within the competition itself. Looking back, his high-flying backhand dunk is still quite amazing, but the context behind the dunk makes it even more remarkable.
#5: Dwight Howard (2008)
Throughout his career, this man has dominated the boards. But despite his massive presence, Dwight Howard has relied on a mixture of strength and creativity to outshine his opponents – at least in the Slam Dunk Contest. Back in 2008, Howard changed the game by taking a different approach toward the rim.
For a split second, the jam seems impossible once Howard begins his final motion, but his wingspan allows for something truly special. He makes it looks easy, too, as there’s nothing sloppy or awkward about his form or execution.
Dwight’s become known for his personality over the years, but this dunk reminds us of his core skill set and exceptional athleticism.
#4: Dominique Wilkins (1985)
After finishing third in the 1984 slam dunk contest, The Human Highlight Film returned the following year for an epic finale versus a young Michael Jordan. In the final round, Dominique Wilkins kicked things off with a powerful backhand two-hand, a dunk combining all the necessary elements to outdo someone like MJ.
It’s a video game type of slam that doesn’t seem possible in real life, but ‘80s footage of him playing proves that Wilkins could mirror his classic NBA All-Star Weekend slams in live games. He’s the definition of gravity-defying grace on the court, and Dom brought the goods in 1988, too – albeit in a losing effort.
#3: Jason Richardson (2004)
As one of a handful of players to win back-to-back slam dunk contests, Jason Richardson is often cited during NBA All-Star Weekend.
And with good reason, too, as his updated version of the “East Bay Funk” dunk highlights his unconventional full extension. In other words, Jason Richardson’s off-the-back approach wasn’t anything new, but the energy and urgency of the slam beautifully contrasts the organic feel of his technique. Everything comes together naturally, and the then-Golden State Warrior closes out like he’s been there many times before.
#2: Vince Carter (2000)
When this Toronto Raptor made his Slam Dunk Contest debut, the NBA family expected big results. By this time, Vince Carter had quickly evolved into a top-notch player, and his acrobatic in-game dunks would naturally become even more mystical with no defenders around. But Vince didn’t just show off in 2000 – he clowned the competition, and his elbow dunk literally left his peers speechless.
He also put down a 360-degree windmill in the same competition – even bringing out cousin and then-teammate Tracy McGrady – but it’s the elbow jam that remains his most dynamic slam dunk.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Nate Robinson (2006)
Andre Iguodala (2006)
JaVale McGee (2011)
#1: Michael Jordan (1988)
Arguably the greatest player in NBA history, Michael Jordan is also regarded as one of the game’s most influential dunkers. In 1988, he touched on the past to produce one of his most iconic slams: an aerial flight that would become an inspiration for ballers across the globe.
Facing off against Dominique Wilkins, Air Jordan had the top-notch competition he so famously craved, and his soaring conclusion shows off all the traits that made him an international superstar: reach, personality and technique.
It’s not just a classic Slam Dunk Contest moment, but one of the most timeless Chicago moments from Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame career.
Do you agree with our picks? What’s your favorite NBA All-Star dunk? For more high-flying Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to NBA Live Streams.