2000 – Tracy McGrady
When Tracy McGrady lost the 2000 slam-dunk contest to Vince Carter, he was not just another victim of Vinsanity. He was the first in what would become a long and proud line of Raptors to lose the NBA’s dunk competition.
McGrady’s dunks are now footnotes to the night that belonged to his cousin, but they were all solid. Had he been in the competition a year later, he may have won with dunks like this one:
2008 – Jamario Moon
As the decade continued, Raptor participation evaporated, despite Toronto’s roster being filled with human highlight reels such as Lamond Murray and Loren Woods. But then, in 2008, Jamario Moon appeared came out of nowhere and started dunking on everybody. The former Globetrotter had the difficult task of being the first dunker in the competition. (Interestingly, McGrady and DeRozan also had to break the ice in their respective years.) But in 2008, Moon broke the ice with a gorgeous dunk:
(Note: The 2008 contest also featured two familiar faces teaming up for this dunk.)
2010-2011 – DeMar DeRozan
Next up was DeMar DeRozan, who turned losing the dunk contest into an art form. He lost to sentimental favourite Nate Robinson in 2010, and returned the next year, only to lose again to the prop-heavy theatrics of Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee. In 2011, rumours circulated that the contest was rigged, and DeRozan swore he was done with the whole thing. Only a Raptor could put together such an impressive repertoire of dunks and come home empty-handed two years running:
2013 – Terrence Ross
After last year’s yawn-fest, the 2013 edition boasts an impressive field of former champions, young stars, and international dunking legends. And right in the middle of all this is Terrence Ross, the only person who will be attending All-Star weekend in a Raptors jersey. Here’s the official Holy Craptors prediction for this year’s contest:
- Kenneth Faried will finish 6th. A good in-game dunker, I have a hard time seeing how Half-Man/Half-Hair will impress in this one, especially given the competition.
- Eric Bledsoe will finish 5th. He’s short, but not Spud Webb short. And without Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler making the call, his dunks might not be as impressive.
- Jeremy Evans will finish 4th. Won it last year, but his closest challenger was Chase Budinger. I’m pretty sure John Lucas could beat Chase Budinger in a dunk contest.
- Terrence Ross will finish 3rd. But his dunks will be beautiful. Some players just look good dunking. Vince Carter was one; give him a run-of-the-mill dunk, and he’ll make it look good. Something about Ross’ dunking motion is smoother than most players, and not many people outside of Toronto are familiar with his athleticism.
- James White will finish 2nd, Gerald Green 1st. All eyes will be on these two, who competed in the 2010 Russian league dunk contest, cited by many as the best competition ever to take place outside of the United States. White will be framed as the journeyman, the dunking specialist who, at age 30, is taking his last shot at the spotlight. Green will be framed as the former champ (2007) who has bounced around internationally, and fought his way back to the top.
Never mind that Ross’ dunks will probably be nicer than White’s or Green’s. He will bow out early to give someone else a chance to shine. Because that’s what Raptors do.
Go get ’em, Terrence.