HOUSTON -- The 2013 Slam Dunk contest started slow. But it finished very strong.
In an entertaining final round showdown between Jeremy Evans and Terrence Ross, two ridiculous flushes from Ross earned him the win, sending visions of Vince Carter out everywhere.
There were 16 dunks total, some duds, some delicious. Here are grades for all of them:
|Gerald Green: Off-the-backboard reverse||Opening the contest with the first dunk, it seemed that Green set a tremendous tone. His first dunk might've been the best of the night, quite honestly. He just has that look while gliding through the air. Head at the rim, effortless but powerful finish. A thing of beauty.|
|James White: Take Off||Nicknamed James "Flight" White, I loved the idea of opening with flight attendants making a make-shift runway as White took off from the free throw line. With the arena standing, White failed on his first attempt, but connected on his second -- with two hands. Subtract though for taking off with a foot inside the charity stripe though.|
|Terrence Ross: Sixth time's the charm||It took six tries for Terrence Ross to make his first dunk and while the intrigue was totally spoiled, it was still a pretty solid slam. A 360 behind-the-back crush that had an insanely high degree of difficulty. One of those dunks had he made it on the first try, it would've been maybe the best of the night.|
|Kenneth Faried: Ho-hum 360||Off the backboard, mid-air pirouette and in. Kind of an average, run-of-the-mill dunk though. Funny that 10 years ago we all lost our minds over a 360 and now it's "run-of-the-mill." We're so spoiled by athleticism.|
|Jeremy Evans The Mark Eaton||Dunking over one of the biggest men in NBA history would be hard, so Evans had him sit down. Eaton held a ball over his head, Evans snatched it and dunked on the other side of the rim, reversed. A very difficult dunk, but not anything overly special. He missed it four times though, but maybe the most impressive thing is that not once while jumping over a seated Eaton, did he make contact with him.|
|Eric Bledsoe: The Failure|
He couldn't finish the between-the-legs 360 so altered to a check-the-backboard flush. A backup dunk that was very much a backup dunk.
|Ross: Off the bounce 360||Very good, not very great. It was slick, but not anything that made you really freak.|
|White: Take Off, Part II||White is a world-famous dunker, known for his incredible ability to finish from the free throw line. He tried another one from there, first trying to switch hands, then doing to a windmill. He wasn't able to punch it through though. After the contest, White said he had trouble gripping the balls and said they were "terrible."|
|Green: The Final Four||A great concept with poor execution. Green brought out a ladder and snipped off the net like he was headed to the Final Four. His plan was to dunk on one side of the rim and then gather and dunk again with the other hand. But like Green's college career, it didn't exist.|
|Evans: Two Balls, One Dunk||He only needed 43 points to make the finals, so he went with a pretty simple dunk, a callback to one he had last season. Two basketballs, a 360 spin and throw both through. Meh-ish.|
|Faried: Through the legs||For a big guy, very impressive. Not visually stunning and it didn't pass the make-you-instinctively-say-ohhhhh test, but it was good.|
|Bledsoe: Little Guy Flying||Simple, yet excellent. Sometimes you can overthink dunks. Bledsoe just jumped super high and dunked. It was great.|
|Evans: The Picasso||Really the only pure prop dunk of the contest, Evans brought out a covered eisel and placed it in front of the basket. He jumped over it with a nice little windmill, setting up the big reveal: Evans pulled off the cover which had a painting of his exact dunk underneath. And then he signed it. I liked it. Creative and something we haven't seen before. Most prop dunks make you gag, but this was clever.|
|Ross: The Half Man, Half Amazing||Mama. Best dunk of the night in my mind. Wearing Vince Carter's Raptor No. 15, Ross went throwback with an off-the-side-of-the-backboard 360 that had a seriously pullback on it. Fantastic.|
|Evans: Levitation, Holmes||Subtle, but terrific. Evans went over Dahntay Jones and literally hovered mid-air. It truly looked like someone hit a pause button before he flushed it down.|
|Ross: Child's Play||As we all feared for the small child Ross brought out to jump over, the Toronto guard elevated over the kid and powered in a through-the-legs smash. No props, just right. And your winner.|