Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dwight "Superman" Howard Wins The Memorable 2008 Slam Dunk Contest

Sporting a red cape trailing behind him, Orlando's man of steel Dwight Howard made like Superman and won perhaps the best dunk contest, definitely the most creative, in NBA history to close a memorable All-Star Saturday.

This guy is just a beast. The pure size of him makes it impossible for anyone to match up. Shaquille O'Neal who?

They Are Big Dunkers

Orlando's Dwight Howard stood tall in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night by winning the event. Howard also became the tallest player to take the title since the contest started in 1984.

Tallest Slam Dunk Champions
Year Winner (team) Height
2008 Dwight Howard (Magic) 6-11
1984 Larry Nance (Suns) 6-10
2005 Josh Smith (Hawks) 6-9
2007 Gerald Green (Celtics) 6-8
1989 Kenny Walker (Knicks) 6-8

Using a variety of props as well as teammate Jameer Nelson, Howard scored perfect 50s from judges on his first two dunks before the contest was turned over to fan voting for the first time in the final round.

Fans, too, picked the 6-foot-11 Howard, who dispelled an old dunking myth: Big men can fly high.

"It's really for the big men," Howard said. "Everybody always says, big men can't jump and big men don't look good dunking. I just tried to add a little bit of my personality. With me being so tall, I knew it was going to be tough. I tried to play to the crowd and have fun."

I don't remember anyone ever saying that.

The dunk contest, bland for so many years as the game's high risers seemed to run out of ideas, was freshened up by some of the most creative aerial assaults in memory.

Howard, Green, Toronto's Jamario Moon and Memphis' Rudy Gay all used tape, ladders, teammates and even a tasty dessert to show their stuff.

"I think the dunk contest is back," said Howard, who was disappointed when he failed to make it out of the first round last year. "I don't think people want to see the same old dunks. They want to see something else, see some spice."

Earlier, Jason Kapono showed nobody's close to him from long distance.

The NBA's best 3-point shooter this season, the Toronto forward with the silky touch won his second straight 3-point Shootout, tying a 22-year-old record with a final round of 25.

They should have blindfolded this guy. That's how good of a shooter he is. It just wasn't fair.

In the Skills Challenge, Utah's Deron Williams was flawless and fast.

With a nearly perfect run through an obstacle course of dribbling, passing and shooting, the Jazz point guard defeated New Orleans playmaker Chris Paul in the final round.

In the night's first event, San Antonio's Becky Hammon, David Robinson and Tim Duncan won the Shooting Stars competition. It featured three-person teams consisting of an NBA player, a WNBA player and a former NBA great from the same city. Contestants had to make six shots with the final one a heave from midcourt.

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