There are three key components to a successful slam dunk: creativity, difficulty, and execution.
Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter? Pioneers.
Baron Davis and the Chris Andersen? Pretenders.
The NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest often brings out the best (and the worst) on All-Star weekend. It’s a place for tricks and gimmicks, but get it wrong, and you’ll earn a spot on this long list of forgettable performances.
With the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest just days away, here’s a look at the worst of the worst.
Larry Hughes (Philadelphia 76ers, 2000)
First, you laugh, then you cry.
Watching a 6-foot-5 Larry Hughes botch a simple double-clutch dunk in the first round? Funny stuff.
Watching Allen Iverson laugh at a grown man who can’t hit the backboard? Tough to watch.
Darrell Armstrong (Orlando Magic, 1996)
At least the first 30 seconds were fun (that’s what she said).
Cedric Ceballos (Phoenix Suns, 1992)
Ceballos actually won the Dunk Contest in 1992, but he decided to go out with a bang by going full Bird Box with his blindfold in the final round.
Tony Dumas (Dallas Mavericks, 1995)
“Nah, Titans would’ve signed me if I didn’t hurt my knee at gym.”
Tony Dumas, who made three unsuccessful attempts in the first round due to a mysterious knee injury, was basically every 24-year-old ever.
(Side note: notice all these clips feature Shaq laughing uncontrollably?)
Chris Andersen, (New Orleans Hornets, 2005)
White men can’t jump (or throw). But they do get 1,000 more attempts than any other player.
Antonio Harvey (Los Angeles Lakers, 1995)
Opening with a windmill dunk and failing is one thing. Missing the rim altogether on your third attempt is another.
This wasn’t the worst but it’s far from the best.
Also, god bless Shaq.
Baron Davis (Charlotte Hornets, 2005)
Baron Davis undoing his shorts and saying “this is my secret weapon” should be reason enough to stop reading.
Michael Finley (Dallas Mavericks, 1997)
There’s a nice shot here of Finley alongside the Mamba in Kobe’s only Slam Dunk appearance.
There’s also a hilarious cartwheel attempt from Finley at the 2:00 minute mark that deserves extra points for creativity.
Oh, and peep Kobe’s fist-pump when Finley misses the double-handed slam. Even as a rookie, dude was crazy competitive.
Tim Perry (Philadelphia 76ers, 1993)
Perry could dunk when it counted – like in actual games – just not when it meant absolutely nothing.
He opened with a fairly simple double-clutch dunk in round one before backing himself from the free-throw line in round two.
How a 6-foot-9 freak came inches short of even touching the rim remains a mystery.
Allan Houston (1994, Detroit Pistons)
Allan Houston was a shooter, not a dunker.
He’s a two-time All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist.
And this might be what he’s remembered for most.
Mason Plumlee (2015, Brooklyn Nets)
Jumping over Chumlee would have been more exciting.
Nick Anderson (1992, Orlando Magic)
Did not rub tummy: minus five stars.