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2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Participants




| Feb. 19, 2006

Slam Dunk preview first. Scroll down for the recap, as well as an interview with the winner after the contest.


Josh Smith in 2006 nba slam dunk contestJosh Smith already had NBA experience under his belt, but he didn't truly arrive until he put on a show at the 2005 Sprite Rising Stars Dunk Contest. A quick recap: Jamming from the free throw line; slamming over a seated Kenyon Martin; throwing it down in a Dominique Wilkins jersey; a 360 windmill. Smith returns tonight as the favorite.

Well, sort of. Not since Spud Webb has a competitor stood so low yet jumped so high with the inclusion of Knicks guard Nate Robinson. The 5-9 jitterbug can flat-out sky. He may not be the favorite, but he could be the sentimental favorite, given he's got the "little-guy" thing going for him.

Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala has been a highlight reel for the Sixers this season, ranking sixth in the league in NBA TV Top 10 Plays of the Night appearances. He enters the competition with the prototypical dunk artist size. At 6-6, he's sure to get high in the sky, but he's not too long to the point where it doesn't look as if he's not getting far from the ground.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Hakim Warrick rounds out the field. He can fly as well.


The 2005 Slam Dunk champion, Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks, will return to defend his crown in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition to be held on NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by AOL, Feb. 18 at the Toyota Center in Houston. In addition to the reigning champion, the 21st Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition will feature Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers, and rookies Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks and Hakim Warrick of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The contestants in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will be competing for $60,000 in prize money, with $35,000 going to the winner. Second place is worth $22,500, third place and fourth place will receive $16,125 each.

The judges of this year’s Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition will include Hall of Famer and former Rockets star Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, who helped lead his hometown team to the NBA title in 1995; Hall of Famer and former Rockets and University of Houston star Elvin Hayes; Hall of Famer and former Houston Rockets star Moses Malone, the third-leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer in NBA history; former Rockets star and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith; and former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

The Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will be broadcast live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by AOL, which will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, RadioShack Shooting Stars and PlayStation® Skills Challenge. NBA All-Star Saturday Night will be televised live nationally on TNT in the United States and on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada at 8 p.m. ET.

The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19, will air live on TNT, Rogers Sportsnet and ESPN Radio at 8 p.m. EST. The game will also be telecast in 215 countries and broadcast on

NBA All-Star brings together the top NBA players and performers for a week of competition, community service and world-class entertainment. Among the many events that reach more than 3.1 billion people in over 200 countries are the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge; Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk; Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout; PlayStation Skills Challenge; RadioShack Shooting Stars; NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Nokia, the league's interactive event that attracts more than 100,000 fans each year; and, the 55th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19.


Hakim Warrick went first, drove baseline down the right side, went unde the basket for a two-handed, behind-the-head slam, for a 44. Nice one... Andre Iguodala went second. He threw the ball in the air, let it bounce, jumped, caught in the air, swung it around and slammed, for a 45. The contest is off to a great start! ... Nate Robinson went third. He started on the left side, drove, bounced the ball while he was in the paint, caught it in the air while backwards, and spun for a beautiful 180. He got a 49 -- almost perfect! ... A white piece of tape was placed down on the court to the left of the foul line and a few feet behind it, leading everyone to think he was going to jump from there -- which seemed impossible. Smith drove the full length of the floor, and took off from just inside the foul line for a beautiful dunk. But it had nothing to do with the white tape, which seemed to confuse everyone in the building. What's the tape there for? Smith was only given a 41, which doesn't seem fair, because it was a terrific dunk. The confusion over the tape hurt his scores.

In the second round, Hakim Warrick was first. Teammate Dahntay Jones was sitting in a chair in the paint, to the left side. Warrick drove from the left, caught a pass from the sitting Jones, and finished nicely, getting a 42... Iguodala's up for his second dunk, and he's using Allen Iverson for something. Iverson is holding a basketball. Iguodala, meanwhile, is out of bounds on the baseline, clearing photographers away so he can run from the baseline seats. Iverson bounced hte ball off the right side of the backboard. Iguodala drove at a sharp angle from behind the basket, catching the pass, came up under the reverse side of the rim, for an INCREDIBLE dunk! He got a 50. Awesome! ... Nate Robinson's up for his second dunk. Quentin Richardson is on the floor, helping. Q stood in the paint under the rim holding the ball and as Nate drove, Q threw it basically straight up. Nate caught it with two hands, swing it back a little with a nice leg kick, and finished hard with one hand. It was terrific and he got a 44. The dunk would have been appreciated more had Iguodala not done his amazing dunk a minute earlier... Josh Smith is up, but unfortuanately for him, he's already mathmatically eliminated. He knows it and his facial expression is sad. He came down from the right side, caught an alleyoop from a helper, and as the helper ducked, Smith jumped over the helper for a nice finish... End of two rounds: Iguodala 95, Robinson 93 -- those are the finalists, just as readers predicted in the front page poll.

For some reason, both Iguodala and Robinson were quickly interviewed before the start of the finals. Maybe it was to give their legs a quick rest.

Robinson went first in the final round, and tried something incredible. He came down the middle, threw it off the backboard, jumped, caught it and put it through his legs in mid air, but missed. Went again, but didn't like the bounce. And then tried it again and missed again. Again didn't like the bounce. Went again, but missed it. Fans then started chanting "Nate! Nate! Nate!" Robinson changed it, and just tried to go down the middle to put it through his legs for a dunk, without bouncing it off the backboard anymore, but missed. And then missed that again. And then again. He's getting tired. He's 0-for-6. And then finally threw that same dunk down, this time completing it. It was fantastic, and he got a 44... Iguodala, before going, gave a pound to Julius Erving. Iguodala stated a few feet behind the foul line, threw it at the rim, caught it in the air and tried to catch it with his left hand, going behind the back in mid-air to the right hand for an insane dunk. He missed. Then didn't like the bounce. Then tried it again, and nailed it. AWESOME! He got a 50... Robinson, for his second dunk, was handed a red Spud Webb Hawks jersey. ANd Webb came out of the stands, put the jersey on, was handed the ball in the paint on the dotted circle, facing away from the basket. Robinson, at halfcourt, waved the fans, drove at the rim, caught an alleyoop and literally jumped over Webb's head for an AMAZING one-handed finish. UNBELIEVABLE! The crowd goes insane. He went HIGH above Webb's head. And got a 50... Igudoala needs a 45 to win. He went from the right side at an angle at the rim, again trying a reverse-behind-the-back move, without bouncing the ball off anything. He missed. And then changed it, going down for a through the legs reverse, but missed again. And then completed it. The judges gave him a 44. It's a tie! The contest will continue.

In the dunk contest "overtime," Robinson went first, starting behind halfcourt, dribbling and hopping in the air while putting the ball through his legs repeatedly, and then tossing it from halfcourt against the backboard, trying to catch it. He's tried about six times now but the passes have not been good enough for him to catch to try to dunk. He finally saw a pass he liked, but missed. He''ll keep trying. But some of the passes he's throwing off the backboard aren't even close... The crowed is pumped, now chanting "Nate! Nate! Nate!" And finally he caught a good pass, went for the throw-down, but missed. He'll keep trying... He finally caught he one liked, but didn't have the ops he needed and appears to be running out of gas... He's now up to his 13th try. And changed it up a bit, starting slightly closer to the rim. And finally completed it -- a BEAUTIFUL dunk -- hopping, putting the ball through his legs twice while in mid-air around the three-point line at the top of the key, and then throwing the ball off the backboard in that same jump before landing, flying at the rim, catching and putting down a beautiful one-handed finish. He got a 47... Iguodala is up, needing a 48 to win. He went down the right baseline, going through his legs for a reverse. It was nice, but the judges gave him a 46. One judge appeared to give Iguodala a 10, but then changed his vote... NATE THE GREAT WINS. He finished with 141, while Iguodala had 140. It was the first "dunk-off" needed in the history of the contest.

This was a terrific dunk contest.


Q. Yesterday, Nate, you said you were hopeful that he (Spud Webb) would be watching today. You obviously knew he was going to be here, but how long had this been planned in advance and how nervous were you just to get into the finals so you could use it?

NATE ROBINSON: I was extremely nervous because I didn't know what exactly the other guys were going to do, you know. So just with the whole thing of making my dunks, it put me to the next round and the next round and I got to used it. And thank God I made every dunk, but he, Spud was willing to help me out.

Q. How long had you talked about it?

NATE ROBINSON: I knew for a while but I didn't want to tell nobody. My teammate Jamal (Crawford), we were on the plane and he was like, "I have the perfect idea, you should jump over Spud Webb." And I was like, "That is a good idea." It's been 20 years and he went over all the statistics and he was like, "We got to get in touch with him." After that, I just practiced my dunks for a week and a half. We came out here and practiced with Spud and everything went great.

Q. Spud, can you just talk about what it was like to be a part of this, and were you obviously hopeful he would make it to the finals?

SPUD WEBB: Yeah, you have a guy inside people doubt would jump anyway, we haven't seen much of Nate, so probably people didn't know the repertoire of dunks that he had. Now we know.

But I wasn't that nervous. Like he said, we practiced it, you know, and he cleared. He was so high, I was telling guys all last night how high he jumped, trying to keep it in that he was going to jump over me.

It's nice to see a guy that's humble and down to earth get to win an award like this because God gives us a gift to jump that we try to use to the best of our abilities and he does.

Q. How nervous were you, recipe for disaster, one more inch and it wouldn't have been good.

SPUD WEBB: Us guys we decided we have to believe in each other, you know that. So I seen him jump and that's all I needed, to see him jump, see how high he jumped, I talked to Herb Williams, his coach, about some of the things he does, and he was like, "Wait till you see."

Now we looking forward to a lot more.

Q. Nate, how did it feel for the first time ever that this Slam Dunk contest goes into tiebreak?

NATE ROBINSON: It's a great honor, a great privilege to be in my shoes right now. I just thank God, because, you know, without Him, nothing would be possible.

But like I say, thank Spud for helping me out, because I think that put me over the hump, just to make it to each round and then have a tiebreaker for the first time in the history, me and Andre, we can go down in history one day.

Q. The crowd afterwards seemed to be not quite as excited as they were after your dunk with Spud and after what Andre did, did you interpret that in any way? Do you think they wanted Andre to win?

SPUD WEBB: Let me answer that. They shouldn't get big guys to judge contests because they don't know good dunks. Tell Moses he should have won it when he dunked over me. It was good. It went to the playoff. It won. The crowd was into it, but this guy was incredible.

Q. Nate, with the struggles the Knicks are having right now, does it do anything for the franchise?

NATE ROBINSON: I mean, just the energy that I brought today, hopefully I can carry it to my team. I mean, God knows, you know, we need help. But besides that, our team, I mean, we're together.

One thing, you know, about our team, even though we're losing, we're losing together and as long as we stick together we're going to get through the storm regardless of how the season turns out. We have so many years ahead of the line.

But now after the All Star Break, I know guys are going to be even more hungry. It's like the season starts all over again. It's 0 0 and everybody has the same record, and we just got to turn it around in the second half of the season and hopefully get a playoff berth and we'll be all right.

Q. How much does this also mean to you, Spud, it being the 20th anniversary of your title?

SPUD WEBB: Oh, it's awesome. Like I said, he's such a nice and humble guy just to sit there and get to know. I met him last week, and watching him in college and some of the games this year. But to me, it means that a guy this size can jump and do those type of things. But what Nate really wants probably in his life is to win a championship and to play for years, and that's what you want to be known for as a good basketball player.

These individual achievements, you take pride in, and I didn't recognize how valuable it was until I retired from the NBA and people appreciate the things you do. He doesn't know the history he made today, but down the road he'll appreciate it with his kids.


1984—Larry Nance, Phoenix
1985—Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1986—Spud Webb, Atlanta
1987—Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988—Michael Jordan, Chicago
1989—Kenny Walker, New York
1990—Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1991—Dee Brown, Boston
1992—Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix
1993—Harold Miner, Miami
1994—Isaiah Rider, Minnesota
1995—Harold Miner, Miami
1996—Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers
1997—Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
2000—Vince Carter, Toronto
2001—Desmond Mason, Seattle
2002—Jason Richardson, Golden State
2003—Jason Richardson, Golden State
2004—Fred Jones, Indiana
2005—Josh Smith, Atlanta
2005—Nate Robinson, New York


Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia F 6’6” 207
Nate Robinson, New York G 5’9” 180
Josh Smith, Atlanta F 6’9” 225
Hakim Warrick, Memphis F 6’9” 219 is the web's best basketball site. Read daily.

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