Vintage Slam Dunk Contests
May 8, 2008
I was watching the Celtics-Cavs playoff game tonight and thinking about how the mystique of the slam dunk seems to have evaporated from the NBA game. Players have evolved in both strength and athleticism to such a degree that dunking is no longer particularly special. This led me to seek out some vintage slam dunk clips, when players with nicknames like “Spud,” “Air,” and “Human Highlight Film” ruled the skies. Theirs was an era when dunks weren’t just about power, but about grace. Jordan’s foul line jam and Dominique’s trademark windmill were works of art. Plus dudes back then were killin’ it with the high-top fade. And another thing, what is it with the lack of creativity in athletes’ nicknames these days??? Have we regressed to the point where the best we can do is put a spin on the player’s real name? “‘melo,” “AI” and “KG” are all we’ve got? Give me “The Rainman,” “The Glyde,” and “The Mailman” any day.
In any event, below are some vintage dunk contest clips. The first is footage from Spud Webb’s victory in 1986…you can’t help but smile while watching. The second is a montage from Jordan and ‘Nique’s contests in 1985, 1987 and 1988 (I love that the voice over sounds like narration of an epic battle). The third witnesses Dee Brown and Shawn Kemp duke it out in 1991.
Spud Webb – 1986:
Jordan & Dominique – 1985, 1987, 1988:
Dee Brown & Shawn Kemp – 1991: