DALLAS – FEBRUARY 8: Terence Stansbury #43 of the Indiana Pacers goes up for a slam dunk during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star weekend at Reunion Arena on February 8, 1986 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1986 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Terence Stansbury – 1985
And speaking of OGs and the 80’s dunk contests: the OG Pacers dunk contest participant is little-known Terence Stansbury. A 6’5″ two-guard (sounds kinda familiar…), Stansbury spent just three years in the league — the first two with the Pacers —and competed in the dunk contest each of those three. He was chosen for the 1985 contest because Charles Barkley backed out. Imagine the Round Mound of Rebound in a dunk contest.
The All-Star festivities were in Indy that year, so the high-flying Stansbury was a solid pick for the replacement. Though some dunks are missing from the video below — somebody pressed the wrong button on the VCR, I guess — let’s take a look at his first go at the contest as a Pacer:
Check out the sweet 360˚ Statue of Liberty – a dunk some credit with him for coming up with, so when Larry Nance Jr busts out a Statue of Liberty in this year’s contest, give a shout out to Terence.
A couple other participants that year were the true Dunk OG, Dr J. and the returning champ, Larry Nance, both of whom received a first-round bye in order to be two of the four players selected to compete in the semifinals round. Dominique Wilkins was the eventual winner, and wowed the judges right away, so of course he slotted into the semifinals easily.
Interestingly, Michael Jordan – budding star at this time – and Stansbury had tying scores in the first round. Only one would go on to the semis after the two had a dunk-off – and Stansbury won! MJ would lose in the first round!
The judges decided to let both guys continue on to the next round, citing a “computer malfunction,” though it’s easy to read between the lines. People were here to see a young MJ in the dunk contest. Not Stansbury.
Stansbury went on to place third, and MJ went second. So it goes.
Stansbury tries it again – 1986
Stansbury came into the 1986 contest with more of a rep – not just a last-minute replacement this time – and put in another third-place performance, losing out to eventual champ, Spud Webb (the Hawks are the true dunk contest kings).
(This video, too, is missing a few of dude’s dunks)
See Terence there jumping over a seated guy? That’s Terence’s brother, and it was the first time a dunker tried jumping over anybody during the contest. Nowadays, it’s a given half the participants will be jumping over people – GRIII did a whole lot of that in last year’s contest.
Stansbury would be on the Sonics in 87, and again place in third in the dunk contest. After that season, he was out of the league and playing overseas. But never fear! In 1988, he was named a Dutch League All-Star. They don’t just give those away.
Kenny Williams – 1991
The NBA has seen its share of Kennys. A fully-follicle’d Kenny Smith was there in the 91 contest, but the Pacers had a Kenny of their own: Kenny Williams, a 6’9″ SF/PF. Once touted as one of the top players of his recruitment class, Williams underwhelmed during his four years in the league – all with Indiana.
His 91 dunk contest performance wasn’t much different. Though he just barely missed out on the semifinals – he was out Kenny’d by fourth-place finisher Kenny Smith – and put down some solid dunks, he likely suffered from a lack of flair and the unfortunate tendency for Tall Guy Dunks to pale in comparison to those same dunks done by Short Guys.
He still looked pretty good, though! But Dee Brown would go on to pump up his Reeboks and win the 91 contest.
Antonio Davis – 1994
Now we’re finally onto some Pacers we recognize: 6’9″ PF Antonio Davis. The NBA was starting to change up how the dunk contest functioned, and in 1994, the first round contestants would have 90 seconds to complete however many dunks they wanted. A little strange, but it makes for a nice YouTube view:
It’s pretty good! But sadly, Davis would place just fifth – Isaiah Rider would win that year. In one dunk, Davis utilizes one of the first backboard-taps in dunk contest history, and personally, I am always stoked for a backboard-tap dunk. Keep it simple.
Jonathan Bender – 2001
First of all, let’s pour out some for Jonathan Bender’sknees.
Okay. Now, a Birdman handrub to get us back to the rundown:
The 2001 contest was the year following Vince Carter’slegendary win; it was always going to be disappointing, and that was no different for Pacers fans.
Bender was a monster seven-footer whose athleticism was wild, but again, the big guys don’t get love in dunk contests. Bender placed fifth, and Desmond Mason took home the trophy.
Still, some impressive stuff here, for sure.
Fred Jones – 2004
Our own Tony East had an excellently thorough breakdown of Fred Jones’ game just a week ago, and included some chatter about Fred’s 2004 dunk contest win – finallya win for a guy in a Pacer jersey.
BUT. Jones was going up against Jason Richardson in the Finals round. J-Rich had himself a very solid career, and like Vince Carter, is known as much more than just a dunker. But in the 2004 slam dunk contest, J-Rich was an all-caps DUNKER. Had he not missed a trillion attempts, he would’ve snatched the trophy from Fred – no doubt. It pains me to say it, but the first Pacers dunk contest win ought to have a tiny asterisk next to it.
Not to say that Fred’s performance didn’t have some super-high highs, but Jason Richardson belongs in the A-class of dunkers. As for Fred? Probably not. Maybe. But probably not.
Paul George – 2012
Now we’re getting pretty modern. You’ll definitely remember these dunk contests.
2012’s dunk contest was voted on largely by the fans; they could vote online, through text, or Twitter — and who’s to say, maybe they got it wrong. Jeremy Evans won with 29 percent of the vote. Chase Budinger was second with 28 percent, and PG was right there with 24 percent of the fan vote. Two of those guys are out of the league. One’s an All-NBA talent.
This contest involved the severely underrated glow-in-the-dark dunk, whose very own glow-ness may have anchored it – it was too dark to really grasp the complexity of the dunk. But as you can see above, it remains a supremely bad-ass whip-around 360°. PG may have been robbed by the fans in 2012. Recent events have me less salty about this L than I was when it happened, but I remain reduced-sodium salty.
Gerald Green – 2013
Here’s a recent one that may have slipped your mind: Gerald Green in 2013. Green won back in 2007 as a 21-year-old with the Celtics, and attempted to win the following year – this was the year of the classic cupcake dunk – but lost to Dwight Howard (whose performances in these things never failed to bore the hell outta me). You could argue Green, at peak athleticism, had the most impressive vertical the league has ever seen. It’s unreal.
But after a 50 on his first dunk – assisted by Lance! – Gerald Green cut off the net for his second attempt, so that he might dunk the ball, corral it in the air, and then dunk again before coming back down. Sounds pretty impressive on paper – and on a computer screen, too, sure – but he was unable to pull it off, and he placed second-to-last. Terrence Ross went home with the trophy.
Paul George, again – 2014
Paul George was back again to try and avenge the Pacers’ last two contest losses, but this was an odd year involving an East vs. West element, plus an opening Freestyle Round where PG, Terrence Ross, and John Wall traded off rapid-fire dunks.
The East won both rounds pretty handily. While you may see pictures of PG holding the trophy, John Wall was voted by the fans as Dunker of the NIght. Weird year. Dissapointing result for Pacers fans. PG’s final dunk – 360° through the legs? Gorgeous.
Glenn Robinson III – 2017
And then there was last year. You’ll remember last year.
This contest might go down as having a tiny asterisk next to it, too. Aaron Gordon came in as the easy favorite, but wasn’t able to complete his attempts and never made it out of the first round. GRIII was able to defeat the springy Derrick Jones Jr, but the whole contest left a bit of a sour taste in fan’s mouths. Plus, GRIII was kinda doing the same dunk each time.
But a Pacers dunk contest win is still very much a Pacers dunk contest win.
Pacers fans are crossing fingers for a Victor Oladipo win in two weeks – a win that leaves no doubt who the true champ is in 2018. While Gordon’s coming in again as the favorite, Oladipo’s thrilling season will give him plenty of momentum to go home with the trophy.
Next: RIP Rasual Butler and wife, Leah LaBelle
Here’s to hoping he’s ready to improve on his 2015 performance, completes his dunks on the first-or-second try, and continues to thrill the league and, most importantly, Pacers fans. Who knows, maybe Vic’s about to bust out the all-time Pacers dunk contest performance.
Vince Carter vs. Paul George Comparison
Head-to-head comparison between the NBA stars Paul George and Vince Carter that includes championships won, honors and awards obtained, regular season and playoffs stats and other data put side by side.
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Head To Head Comparison
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