30 years of NBA slam dunk champions

Story highlights

  • The NBA's Slam Dunk Contest dates back to January 1984
  • The contest takes place the day before Sunday's NBA All-Star Game

(CNN)Over the past three decades, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest has provided some of the most memorable moments in league history.

Who can forget the epic 1988 showdown between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, two of the greatest dunkers ever?
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Who can forget Dwight Howard donning a Superman cape to win in 2008, only to be dethroned the next year by 5-foot-7 Nate Robinson, who leapt over the 6-11 Howard with a "Kryptonite"-green basketball?
Remember when Blake Griffin jumped over the hood of a car? As a choir behind him sang R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly"?
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And then there's of course, "Vinsanity": when Vince Carter's legendary performance in 2000 injected new life into a contest that had been dormant for two years.
Not all of the dunk contests have been one for the ages, but history has proved there's always a chance to see something that you've never seen before.
Just look at 2015, when 19-year-old rookie Zach LaVine electrified the crowd with a handful of innovative dunks. He opened with two perfect 50s and finished by catching the ball off the stanchion -- that's the support bar behind the backboard -- on his way to a between-the-legs dunk.
"He was born for this contest," commentator Kenny Smith said during the broadcast.
LaVine joined some rarefied air when he successfully defended his title at the festivities last year in Toronto. Only five other players have won multiple Slam Dunk Contests: Jordan, Wilkins, Robinson, Harold Miner and Jason Richardson.
The four players tapped for 2017's dunk show include: Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Phoenix Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr., Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Indiana Pacers guard Glenn Robinson III.