Every NBA Slam Dunk Contest Video Visualization

UPDATE: Check out the NEW Slam Dunk History Poster.

We broke down every NBA slam dunk contest (1984 to 2011) by dunk, year, and score. You can see video footage of the actual dunk by clicking on the circles in the graph.

How to Read the Graph:
We tried to keeps things standard by displaying 3 rounds per year and up to 3 dunks per round. Some years there were two rounds and some rounds anywhere from 1 to 3 dunks. Placing the mouse over the circle will reveal the player, year, round, dunk and score. Gray circles mean we are lacking video for that dunk (see below for why some years were more difficult than others).

Our Notes:
The coolest part of the interface is being able to quickly get to any dunk with out having to search through hours of video. Admittedly, the data itself does not change too dramatically year to year, but the dunk contest sure has. In the early years, the dunk contest was less polished. Highlights include candid footage of Dr. J’s kids coaching him on his next dunk and a young, un-coached, Michael Jordan with gold chain and warm-ups casually strutting into his first dunk competition.

Nothing has been sacred in the dunk contest. The format has changed dramatically over the years in terms of number of participants, dunks, and requirements. High points include Vinsanity’s resurrection of the contest after two years of no dunk contest at all (1998/99), with a flurry of never before seen dunks, as well as improved coverage – stop motion photography, improved commentary (Rick Barry read the same script every year). Low points include “The dunk wheel”, Chris Anderson’ s nine attempts at the same dunk and prop dunks run-a-muck

After spending hours of watching every dunk, we tried to think of what could possibly be done that would be entirely new. Best idea so far: Dwight Howard doing a “piggy back dunk” with Nate Robinson deploying like a satellite to dunk a second ball mid flight. You have a better idea? Let us know.

Additional Notes
Once again, the Gordon Brothers (Matt and Jon) were a huge help in gathering the data. Follow both on Twitter @Matogo18 and @JGordo92. They cataloged the footage from the 90′s (arguably the the most painful portion). We also had some technical difficulties with a few of the more recent years. We’re actively working to fix that. In building this we had several conversations about how bummed we would be if the source videos get yanked. It is strange to us that fans sharing something as cool as footage of the dunk contest would be frowned upon by the NBA. Many large corporations spend big money to encourage this level of engagement, why not run with it? Check out the format changes over the years here.