When it was first introduced in the NBA in 1984, the Slam Dunk Contest was a unique platform to showcase the athleticism and creativity of the league’s stars. The contest slowly but surely became a must-see spectacle during the NBA All-Star weekend. Throughout the 90s, it hosted some unforgettable performances that wowed fans and left a lasting legacy.
NBA Slam Dunk Kings of the 1990s
The 1980s was not only the decade that brought about the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, but it had dunking mega stars. The 1990s also gave us a pantheon of great dunkers, albeit with lesser name value. When the 80s torch was passed in 1991 from Dominique Wilkins, easily an 80s standout, it was picked up first by Dee Brown. Each contributor throughout the decade had their gravity-defying feats to the lore of the Slam Dunk contest.
Dee Brown (1991)
Dee Brown kick-started the 90s with one of the most iconic Slam Dunk contest win. Famously remembered for his no-look dunk, Brown pumped up his Reeboks before creating magic on the floor. The image of Brown, arm swung over his eyes as he hammered down a gob-smacking dunk, has been etched into NBA All-Star weekend history forever.
Cedric Ceballos (1992)
Cedric Ceballos took a page out of Dee Brown’s book by adding a blindfold to his dunk routine. The highlight of the night was his self-proclaimed “Hocus Pocus” dunk where he completed a moving slam dunk while fully blindfolded. This dunk sealed his win and terrified every fan on his path to glory.
Harold Miner (1993, 1995)
Nicknamed ‘Baby Jordan’, Harold Miner’s power and finesse mirrored that of the great Michael Jordan. Miner won the Slam Dunk contest twice, enthralling fans with his soaring vertical leap and muscular dunks that would have been worthy of Jordan himself.
“I think the Slam Dunk Contest was a good barometer of the creativity and athleticism in basketball during that time.” – Harold Miner
Isaiah Rider (1994)
Isaiah Rider left an indelible mark on the Slam Dunk contest with his spectacular “East Bay Funk Dunk”. An astonishing through-the-leg dunk that brought fans onto their feet and crowned him the dunk king of 1994.
Kobe Bryant (1997)
A special mention has to be given to the 18-year-old Kobe Bryant, who became the youngest player ever to win the Slam Dunk contest. His acrobatic displays of dunks ignited his superstar career in the NBA. An unforgettable performance indeed!