As I mentioned in my half-season Raptors’ review on the weekend, this was the first time in the franchise’s 17-year history that they did not have a player taking part in any of the All Star weekend events. One of the events that Raptors players have been prominent in is the dunk contest, where between 2000-to-2011, four different Raptors took part in the event.
Scott wrote a great piece for TBJ on his memories of Vince Carter’s epic triumph to get it all started in 2000, which included video of Vince’s five memorable dunks from that competition, and it got me thinking of doing a fun, retrospective post on all of the Raptors dunks the contest has ever seen.
So without further ado, here is Toronto’s dunk contest history.
Not much to say about Vince in 2000 that hasn’t already been said. If you’re a Canadian sports fan, or a basketball fan anywhere in the world, you’ll never forget watching this spectacle.
You could easily make the argument that the second best dunk contest performance by a Raptor happened on the same night that Vince Carter was turning the basketball world upside down. If you sometimes forget how good Tracy McGrady was already at that stage of his career or how many flashes of brilliance and potential he showed us while a member of the Raptors, just watch his performance in the 2000 dunk contest. In almost any other year (pre corny props), this is a winning performance.
If there is one thing the NBA quickly realized Jamario Moon could do, it was jump. I don’t know if anyone had Moon beating Dwight Howard in their predictions for the 2008 contest, but I think it’s safe to say the Meridian Community College product was the darkhorse pick for a lot of people. Moon’s first dunk was underrated if you ask me, but Jamario screwed himself on his second dunk by placing the tape too far back and by selecting Jason Kapono to make the pass.
Whether it was his “Air Canada’s back” tweet on the night he was drafted or his reputation as an undefeated dunk contest participant, a lot of Raptors fans envisioned DeMar DeRozan being the first Raptor since Vince to bring the dunk title North of the border. His second dunk in 2010 was great, his first dunk and third dunk were nice (and like Moon’s, were probably underrated) but his finishing dunk was way too simple to impress anyone. While it’s definitely fair to say DeRozan disappointed in his first NBA dunk contest (which might go down as the worst one ever), I still believe he deserved the win (over Nate Robinson) as the best of a bad crop.
DeMar returned to the contest in 2011 by replacing an injured Brandon Jennings in his hometown of L.A. While the expectations on him weren’t as high as the previous year, we all still thought DeRozan would redeem himself, and he did. I thought DeMar was robbed of what should have been an unimpressive victory in 2010, but in 2011, I was downright angry with the way it all played out, and won’t ever blame DeRozan for boycotting the all props contests. It started with him getting a low 44 for his “East Bay Funk Remix” despite high scores being given to worse dunks all night.
That unreasonably low score on his first dunk would be the deciding factor in sending DeRozan packing after the first round, because he followed up with what I maintain is one of the greatest dunks I’ve ever seen. No props, not a lot of crazy movement, but a pure, difficult, incredible dunk. Call me crazy, but I think you can put DeMar’s “Show Stopper” in the same ranks as any of McGrady’s dunks and even a couple of Carter’s jams. It was that good.