January 28, 1984 marked the beginning and end of an era, all in one action-packed weekend. NBA Commissioner Larry O’ Brien, who took the position in 1975 and helped bring the NBA to a mainstream audience, would be retiring. His Vice President and lead adviser, David Stern would take the reigns on Feb 1, 1984. At the advisement of Stern, O’Brien extended the All-Star festivities an extra day and included an Old Timers Game as well as a Slam Dunk Championship. The latter proved to be one of the greatest decisions the league has ever made. There had been a previous Slam Dunk Tournament in 1976, at halftime of the ABA All-Star Game in Denver. Julius Erving, wearing the Converse Pro Leather, took the title home with the original dunk from the free throw line. After an eight-year hiatus, the event reemerged back where it began in Denver. It featured nine contestants in a variety of brands, hoping to take home the trophy. Dr. J was back to defend his title, once again wearing the All Star Pro Leather.
Ralph Sampson of the Houston Rockets donned his sig the Puma Ralph Sampson.
Chicago Bulls forward Orlando ‘Obocop’ Woolridge wore the Pony Slam Dunk.
Clyde Drexler the sensational rookie guard for Portland went gliding in his signature Roos.
Dr Dunkenstein Darrell Griffith and Lakers guard Michael Cooper both laced up the Air Force One.
However it was Converse who headlined the event. Like Dr. J, San Antonio forward Edgar Jones put on the timeless Pro Leather.
Second-year phenom Dominique Wilkins, in his first of many Dunk Contests wore the Fast Break.
However, no one could hang with Larry Nance, the young forward from the Phoenix Suns. He slammed home two basketballs while wearing the Converse Pro Star, en route to the first ever NBA Slam Dunk Championship.
This important event 35 years ago paved the way for some unforgettable moments. From Spud Webb in ’86 to Michael Jordan defying gravity in ’88 to Vince Carter making us rethink everything we thought we knew about the greatest dunkers ever. Comment below with your favorite Slam Dunk Contest memory!
Excellent blast from the past article. It’s always so cool to recall these marquee stars / legends who wowed us in years past. Gotta appreciate the timeless legend brand Converse as well. Good entertaining reading. 2 thumbs up Mr. Cattivera!
One of my favorites was the Vince Carter reverse 360. It’s almost as if I didn’t realize you could spin the opposite way until I saw Vince do it.