NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest History

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This season will be the 33rd NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. The first was held in Denver, Colorado, on Jan. 28, 1984. Larry Nance of the Phoenix Suns ultimately defeated Julius “Dr. J” Erving of the 76ers in the final round. In the beginning, the contest was held with eight competitors and five judges. Each player had three chances to dunk with only 24 seconds to make their shot. Each dunk was judged on a scale of one to 10. Only the four highest-scoring players moved on to the semifinals and, after three more dunks, the last two highest-scoring players faced off in the finals. After the final three dunks, the player who scored the highest out of a total 150 points was the winner.

This year, four players will get three chances to complete each of their two dunks. The five judges will score each dunk on a scale of six to 10, with the two highest-scoring players moving on to the final round. These two players will again have three chances to complete each of their two dunks and, at the end of the round, the highest-scoring player will be the champion.

In the past 30 years of All-Star Slam Dunk Contest history, fans and players have seen some of the most epic moments in the history of the NBA. In 2011, we saw Blake Griffin jump over the hood of a car to complete his dunk as a choir behind him sang R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” Griffin went on to win the competition. Although this was a feat, it doesn’t compare to 5-foot-7-inch Nate Robinson’s three wins in 2006, 2009, and 2010, making him the winningest All-Star Slam Dunk Contest participant. In 2009, he dunked over 6-foot-11-inch Dwight Howard, who had returned to defend his title from the previous year. Robinson was representing the Knicks with each of those wins, who are now tied with the Hawks for most wins at four each.

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Top Dunkers

Last year’s champion, Glenn Robinson III, was the second Pacers champion in the history of the contest. His winning dunk earned him 50 points after he leaped over the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George, Indiana Pacers Kayla Noel, and Pacers mascot Boomer to defeat Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns.

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This year’s participants include Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Larry Nance Jr. (Cavs), Dennis Smith Jr. (Mavericks), and Donovan Mitchell (Jazz).

Oladipo is ranked 13th in the NBA in scoring with a career-high 23.9 points per game. He previously made an appearance in the slam dunk contest in 2015 but fell short to Zach Lavine. Oladipo was voted fan-favorite Dunk of the Year for the 2016-17 season and will become the second consecutive champion from the Pacers if he wins this year’s contest.

Nance Jr. is the son of the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest’s original winner, Larry Nance. Representing the Cavaliers, he is posting career highs in scoring with 8.8 points per game.

Smith Jr. is a rookie in his first year with the Mavericks. With 14.8 points per game, he ranks fifth of all the rookies this season. In addition to the Slam Dunk Contest, fans can find Smith Jr. competing for the U.S. Team in Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars during the NBA All-Star weekend beginning Feb. 16, 2018.

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Donovan Mitchell is also a rookie who will be joining the competition last minute after Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic was forced to withdraw due to injury. He’s leading all NBA rookies this season in scoring, with 19.7 points per game and will earn the Jazz their second win since 2012 if he comes in first.

Be a Part of the Action

The annual competition takes place each NBA All-Star weekend, with this year’s event to be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb.17, 2018, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (it’s scheduled to air on TNT). Make sure you’re ready to cheer your favorite player on for the contest and the second half of the season by stopping by Fanatics today.

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NBA City Edition Jerseys: Northwest Division

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Nearly midway through the 2017-18 season, the Northwest Division is red hot. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, and Denver Nuggets each hold a top 8 seed in the conference, while the Utah Jazz remain competitive for a playoff spot as well. Let’s take a look at the region-specific cultures Nike’s City Edition jerseys celebrate within this thriving group of teams.

Mile High Jerseys

 

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These special Denver jerseys are not drastically different from the team’s other jersey choices. The Nuggets already have jerseys that are primarily navy with accents of gold and blue, but these jerseys replace the Nuggets’ team name across the chest with a mountain and two crossed axes. These images symbolize Denver’s nickname, Mile High City, which was given due to the city’s altitude of roughly a mile above sea level.

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

 

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Nike chose to go with gray for these Minnesota jerseys to mimic the shade of fur on a real-life wolf. Fans may hope Karl Anthony-Towns and the Timberwolves’ game mirrors the ferociousness of these animals on the court as well.

Thunder and Lightning

 

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The Portland Trail Blazers’ City Edition jerseys are jam-packed with local sports history. The plaid pattern was selected to honor the late Blazers coach Dr. Jack Ramsay, who was known for his signature plaid suits. The torso proudly displays a “rip city” logo, which is now the mantra of Portland sports team. This phrase originated in the Blazers’ 1970-71 inaugural season, as the then play-by-play announcer, Bill Schonely, excitedly yelled the phrase during a live game broadcast.

Jazzy Jersey

 

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Utah’s city jerseys feature strips of warm colors, slowly darkening from the top down. Nike chose such a distinct pattern to represent the breathtaking red rock formations and canyons within the state.

Best of the West

The teams of the Northwestern Division have played a stellar first half of the 2017-18 season. Even if a couple of these squads tail off toward the end of the season, these jerseys will be going strong for years to come. Join the players in celebrating Northwestern pride and get your official Nike City Edition jerseys from Fanatics.

 

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The Evolution of the Utah Jazz Logo

The Utah Jazz were established in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the New Orleans Jazz in 1974. As history goes, a contest was held to name the expansion team, which received more than 6,500 entries. After much consideration, team officials announced the team’s name as the “Jazz” on June 7, 1974. With New Orleans being the “Jazz Capital of the World,” you can see how that name would be a widely popular one to choose.

The Jazz stayed in New Orleans until they posted the NBA’s worst record in the 1978-79 season, after which ownership decided to move the team to Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah wasn’t the capital of jazz, but they kept the name, and that’s where it all began.

Historical Seasons

The Utah Jazz are no strangers to the playoffs. They made the NBA Western Conference playoffs 20 straight seasons from 1983 to 2003. The Jazz have made two NBA Finals appearances in team history, both back-to-back years in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, the Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 3-0, the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1, and the Houston Rockets 4-2, all leading up to the meeting of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in what would be their first NBA Finals appearance. Unfortunately, the Jazz lost to the Bulls 2-4.

Although the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the finals, the team received another opportunity to bring home a championship the next year. In the 1998 playoffs, the Jazz beat the Houston Rockets 3-2, as well as the San Antonio Spurs 4-1. Utah advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the third time, returning with a stocked roster of Karl Malone, Jeff Hornacek, and John Stockton. The Jazz faced the Los Angeles Lakers, led by Shaquille O’Neal, Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, and Kobe Bryant. The Jazz won the first game of the series with a score of 112-77. In game two, the Jazz took another victory with a score of 99-95. The third and fourth games in Los Angeles were decided by an average of 7.5 points. Utah swept the Lakers and had another chance to redeem themselves in the NBA Finals.

In the 1998 NBA Finals (against the Chicago Bulls, again), the Jazz had a home win in overtime in game one with a score of 88-85. The Bulls fought back and won game two with a score of 93-88. The Bulls also won game three and game four. However, the Jazz came back and won game five on the road 83-81. The Jazz then led most of game six, but the Bulls pulled through in the final seconds of the game. The Jazz lost to the Bulls in the NBA Finals once more.

Historical Players

John Stockton played for 19 years with the Jazz from 1984 to 2003. Stockton led the NBA in assists for nine straight seasons from 1987 to 1996. He was a 10-time All-Star during those same years, as well as in 1999. Stockton was the 1993 All-Star Game MVP and is the NBA all-time leader in assists.

Karl Malone also played for 18 years with the Jazz and was a 14-time All-Star. He was even the NBA MVP in 1996 and 1998. He’s a 19-time All-League selection and two-time All-Star Game MVP.

The Logo

1979–1995: The Utah Jazz’s (then known as the New Orleans Jazz) original logo is purple, yellow, and green, which can be associated with Mardi Gras. The logo has a basketball with a music note connected to it, which also acts as the “J” in “Jazz” (written in purple). “Utah” is written at the top in purple as well.

1996–2003: The Jazz decide to go with a logo that is more true to Utah. The team changes the logo entirely to have a basketball with mountains in the background and “Utah” written at the top, with “Jazz” written across the circle. The logo colors are now blue, purple, and maroon.

2004–2009: The logo remains relatively the same, but the colors change to navy, blue, and purple.

2010–2015: The team goes with a completely different color scheme. The logo remains the same, but the colors are now dark green, dark yellow, gray, and navy.

2016–2017: The Jazz do away with the mountain for the logo and go back to the original jazz note, but this time with the same colors: dark green, dark yellow, gray, and navy.

Represent the Utah Jazz

There have been a lot of changes to the Utah Jazz logo, but you can bet we’ve got them all. Go visit Fanatics.com to look your best in your favorite Utah Jazz gear!

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