February 14, 2013

Great Moments in the History of All-Star Weekend

By - Tim Swift

Nobody does it better than the National Basketball Association when it comes to All-Star festivities. So now that All-Star Weekend is upon us, let's take a look back at some of the great moments in the history of the event.

- 2000 Dunk Contest

Photo by: Getty Images
The dunk contest lagged in popularity during the mid-to-late 1990s, and the event hit a low point in 1998. After the 1999 lockout, the 2000 dunk contest returned with a vengeance; All-Star Weekend in Oakland, California. Vince Carter had already generated a ton of buzz heading into this contest, putting together a virtual highlight real dunk seemingly every night during the first half of the season. That evening, Carter, Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis put together some of the most ridiculous dunks you'll ever see. McGrady and Francis would have won many a contest with their dunks, but this night belonged to Vince Carter. The elbow-in-the-rim dunk, his reverse 360 spin, and his through-the-legs windmill caught off a lob from McGrady were the highlights of the evening. The reactions from the All-Stars and celebrities were priceless. That night, Carter had the basketball world in the palm of his hand.

- 1988 Dunk Contest: Dominique vs. Jordan

First of all let me start by saying that Michael Jordan won many things in his career. The 1988 dunk contest should not have been one of them. The stage was set in Chicago Stadium; after a couple of years of injuries the two current best dunkers on the planet were set to duel. No props, no other players involved, just two men, a basketball and several nasty dunks. Ex-Chicago Bear Gale Sayers and former NBA player and Chicago native Tom Hawkins were two of the judges, so it was going to be hard for Wilkins to get a fair shot. Wilkins' best dunk was the two-handed windmill on the baseline, which is a dunk that will make you get out of your seat every time you see it. Michael's best dunk was the reverse from the wing where he brings the ball below his hips. Jordan also attempted the free-throw line dunk twice and was inside the line both times. In the end, Dominique was the more creative of the two and should have been awarded the title -- but wasn't.

- 1987 All-Star Game: Last Hurrah For Dr. J

34,275 fans in the Kingdome were witness to a 154-149 OT classic that featured 14 Hall of Famers. Hometown star Tom Chambers was named MVP, going 13-25 from the field and finishing with 34 points. But the weekend belonged to Julius Erving, who finished with 22 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in his final All-Star appearance. Some of the highlights of this game included; James Worthy and Dominique Wilkins having a personal duel in the middle of the 2nd quarter, Magic and Isiah talking a lot of trash throughout the game, Moses Malone rebounding like it was Game 7 of the Finals (he finished with 18), Joe Barry Carroll having the "what the hell am I doing here" look, Tom Chambers being the best player on the floor for the final 10 minutes of the game, and Magic Johnson turning every possession in the 4th quarter and overtime into his own personal fast break. If you can find footage of this one, savor it -- it's one of the three best All-Star Games ever.

- 1986 Dunk Contest: Spud's Night

Anthony "Spud" Webb averaged just under 10 points and 5.3 assists during his career, but for one night in Dallas' Reunion Arena, the center of the basketball universe was focused on the undersized 5'6 guard from the Atlanta Hawks. Webb became an innovator in the ways of dunking, becoming one of the first players to regularly throw the ball off the backboard or lob the ball to himself to set up his dunks. The final dunk where he throws the ball off the backboard to himself is still one of the ten greatest dunks in the history of the contest. Right before that final dunk, defending champ Dominique Wilkins was rumored to have said, "Little fella, if you get this I'm leaving up outta here." Spud nailed it, and vaulted himself into dunk contest lore.

- 2003 All-Star Game

The final All-Star Game for Michael Jordan in Phillips Arena in Atlanta saw the only double-overtime affair in the history of the game, and it turned in some amazing performances. Allen Iverson was at his best, slashing through the lane and hitting floaters all night against guys who were 100 pounds heavier than him. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett playing beautifully off of each other, as the two combined for 56 points and 24 rebounds (Garnett was named MVP with the 37 and 9). It was funny to see the East squad down the stretch defer to Jordan on almost every possession. Well, everyone except for Iverson. One of the things in this game that I was reminded of was how explosive Tracy McGrady was in his prime. Yes, it was an All-Star Game, but McGrady did whatever he wanted on the floor. In the end, there was just too much Garnett and Duncan for the East to handle, and the West pulled away for a 155-145 win.


  1. I love Jordan, but Dominique got robbed in that dunk contest. Jordan got homecoming.

  2. You mentioned some great dunk contests. Those used to be the highlight of every all-star weekend, but not so much now. It would be nice is the star players of the league would get involved again.

  3. How did Magic's performance in the 92 game not make the cut? The one where he came back after retiring due to HIV and put on a show.

  4. Tim your right, the 92 game was on my list but after i watched the game this week it felt like the East squad was purposely deferring to Magic. The game also was a 40 pt blowout, but your right it was a great moment.

  5. That 2000 dunk contest was the last GREAT dunk contest IMO. Nice post.