Terrence Ross is in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday. That is pretty cool, and continues the Raptors’ recent tradition of having pretty solid dunk contest representation. The Raptors had just two dunkers in the first 14 years of the contest, both in the same event, but Ross is the fourth Raptor appearance since 2008 to get to dunk.
Before we get into hypotheticals about Ross in this weekend’s stacked event, let’s take a look back at the history of Toronto Raptors in the dunk contest.
2000 – Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter, A Superstar is Born
The cousins both took part in 2000, the first dunk contest since 1997 when Kobe Bryant took the crown. Along with VC and T-Mac were Ricky Davis, Larry Hughes, Steve Francis and Jerry Stackhouse. Each dunker was given three first-round dunks and used their top two scores, and one dunk had to be done with a teammate for the first time. Three players would then go on to the finals, getting just two dunks to stake their claim.
McGrady was up second, throwing himself a lob from the three-point line and performing a 180-two-handed-pump, receiving a 45.
Carter was up fourth, scoring a perfect score of 50 with a reverse-360-windmill that got Dikembe off his feet with a hilarious facial expression.
For his second dunk, McGrady enlisted Vince’s help. Vince stood under the basket and bounced the alley-oop pass, which McGrady 360-windmilled with his eyes at the rim for a 49.
Looking to follow up on his initial 50, Vince came from beneath the basket with a one-handed 360-windmill with a big scream. Unfortunately it only got a 49 because Kenny Smith didn’t like giving 10s after Carter’s initial jam.
For McGrady’s final first-round dunk, he threw himself a lob pass from the foul-line, delivering an excellent 360-pump for a perfect 50.
For Vince’s final first-round dunk, it was T-Mac’s turn to help. Carter didn’t seem to care that he had already qualified for the finals, telling Kenny “no more low scores” before heading up. With perhaps his most famous dunk from this contest, Vince took a McGrady bounce alley-oop from under the basket, putting it between his legs for a big one-handed jam.
Both players qualified for the finals along with Steve Francis.
In the final round, McGrady followed Francis. Trady threw himself a lob-pass alley-oop from the three-point line for a nice windmill. Unfortunately, it seemed a bit too similar to his earlier dunks and he was given a 45.
Vince, however, had no such trouble with originality, scoring his third 50 of the competition. Yup, it’s the honey-dip dunk, with Vince putting his entire forearm in the net. I miss loving this guy. Can we just forget 2003 and 2004?
For his final jam, McGrady managed just a 32, struggling with his self-alley-oops and missing both of his allotted attempts.
Carter needed a 42 to win going into his last dunk. With the bar set so high, it would have been damn near impossible for a fourth 50 but if anyone could do it, it was 2000 Vince Carter. Instead, he managed “just” a 48 with a two-handed jam with a take-off from just inside the free-throw line.
Vince Carter, your 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Champion. A star is born.
If you want to re-live the event, I’ve embedded the full 58-minute dunk contest below, followed by a 15-minute video of just Vince’s performance.
2008 – Jamario Moon Jumps the Shark
Remember when people loved and were excited about Jamario Moon? A high-flying dunker who scratched and clawed his way to the NBA…and then started chucking threes early in the shot clock instead of doing what got him there.
Anyway, he was invited to participate in the 2008 edition of the dunk contest, and Raptor fans were pretty high on his chances.
For Moon’s first dunk, he threw himself a lob alley-oop from the three-point line, took off from outside of the restricted area and threw down a one-handed-360. The dunk got a 46 but was very strong looking back. By the way, Rudy Gay was also in this dunk contest, failing to qualify for the finals. This was also the year that Gerald Green, Ross’ opponent this Saturday, blew out the candle on the cupcake. Dwight Howard was the other competitor, winning the contest.
For Moon’s second dunk, he taped a mark above the free-throw line, hoping to one-up Dr. J, but he took a full step beyond his tape marker. Instead, he did a nice one-handed jam off a bounce pass alley-oop from Jason Kapono (why??) for a 44, failing to qualify for the finals.
I have embedded the dunks from the dunk contest below (now seems a good time to mention I just found all of these on YouTube, they don’t belong to me).
2010 – DeMar DeRozan, The Dunk-In
Because EVERYONE was clamoring for Gerald Wallace to be in a dunk contest (not really), DeRozan hadn’t quite qualified. He had to do a “Dunk-In” against Eric Gordon, where fan voting would determine which player moved on to the slam dunk contest.
DeRozan acquitted himself well with a between-the-legs reverse and a double-clutch windmill, edging out Gordon with 61% of the vote. That dunk-in is below.
From there, DeRozan joined Wallace, Nate Robinson and Javale Mcgee in the main contest. Each player got two dunks, with the top two moving on to the finals, where fans could vote for the winner.
DeRozan led things off with a between-the-legs reverse coming from beneath the basket for a 42. Pretty underrated dunk, in my opinion.
With the pressure on for his second dunk, DeRozan took a pass from Sonny Weems off the side of the backboard, windmill-ing it home for a perfect 50.
Qualified for the finals, DeRozan had to go head-to-head with fan favourite and two-time champion, the diminutive Nate-Rob. DeRozan’s first dunk saw him taking an alley-oop off the backboard to tomahawk right over top of Weems. He lost some love for pushing off a bit but it’s still an impressive visual.
For his second attempt, DeRozan took off from a step inside the free throw line with a two-handed windmill. It was an impressive dunk but not especially flashy, and the announcers really buried it. Robinson received 51% of the fan vote, becoming the only ever three-time champion. This is known as one of the worst dunk contests and some claimed it was “dead” at this point. It’s coming back, folks.
All of the dunks are below (just skip ahead about a minute when it goes dark).
2011 – DeMar DeRozan, The Controversy
Ahh yes, the conspiracy that the NBA had sent out a press release announcing Blake Griffin as the winner before the event even finished. Griffin dunked over a Kia, the event’s sponsor, for his final dunk, leading some to believe he was assured a spot that late for the promotional opportunity. Let’s have a look and see, though I remember thinking the finals should have been Epic Vale and DeRozan, not Griggin and McGee. Serge Ibaka also participated.
DeRozan took an alley-oop pass off the stanchion from Amir Johnson, putting it between-the-legs on the baseline for a 44. That’s a pretty damn good dunk for one of the judges to give that just an eight.
DeRozan’s second dunk was the best of all his dunk contest dunks, a perfect 50 that, re-watching now, really should have secured him a spot in the finals. DeRozan threw himself a lob alley-oop, caught it with a single hand and performed a reverse windmill with his head more or less at the rim.
All of the dunks are embedded below. Griffin probably had the better finals dunks, earning the win (apparently Baron Davis botched the pass on the Kia dunk and it was supposed to be a windmill), but I think McGee had the better contest overall.
2013 – Terrence Ross, #LetRossDunk
A strong social media push from Raptor fans and a video campaign by the team got Ross into the rebooted dunk contest, now back to six dunkers. I’m really excited for this year’s event. Ross, Green, dunk contest sensation James Flight White, Eric Bledsoe, The Manimal Kenneth Faried and defending champion Jeremy Evans will all compete in what is one of the most talent-heavy and potentially gimmick-free contests in some time.
I didn’t want to post YouTubes of all of the players involved, especially White (it just sets the bar too high), but I promise you that this year’s instalment will be the best in a long while. I have a really good feeling about it.
As for Ross’ chances, I’m less sure. I think White is the favourite but you could make a case for each of these guys getting it done. Let’s hope that Ross brings the title back north for the first time since 2000.
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