While the Phoenix Suns don’t have an NBA championship to their name or a recent playoff appearance, they have always made some noise in the dunk contest.
Six different Suns players since 1984 have appeared in the NBA Dunk Contest on All-Star weekend, totaling nine different appearances.
Derrick Jones Jr. will make it 10 for the franchise and to get ready, we count down the top five dunks by Suns players in the dunk contest.
5. 1996: Michael Finley’s windmill
The worst thing about the dunk contest is the misses, or in some cases depending on the various rule changes over the course of the event’s history, the amount of misses.
Dunkers deserve credit when they make their dunk on the first attempt, and Finley cracks the top five here for his execution.
He builds up the dunk with a walk, takes his time and on one toss delivers a clean and powerful windmill dunk.
It’s not a dunk that will win anyone a contest, but it put in a good showing for a rookie, who finished second to Brent Barry and went on to have a 15-year career.
4. 2003: Amare Stoudemire’s in-between the legs
Stoudemire’s first of two appearances in the dunk contest was a learning experience.
He had the tools to win the event, but missing dunks ended up costing him.
Still, don’t discount how quick and vicious his in-between the legs finish was, particularly for a man of his size. While the dunk doesn’t seem impressive now, the 49 score at the time backs up how good it was.
Stoudemire wasn’t a showman quite yet, but never fear, because Stephon Marbury was here, armed with a scoresheet to flip through to find a 10 for his teammate.
Stoudemire failed to make it to the finals.
3. 1984: Larry Nance’s cradle dunk
Hot take: Nance’s cradle dunk makes a fair share of dunk montages due to Nance being the winner of the first-ever contest, not because how great the dunk is.
It doesn’t make No. 1, but don’t sleep on the way in which Nance fully goes through his cradling motion, bringing the ball from one side of his body to the other.
I’ve got to say, it’s also not a particularly clean finish through the basket.
2. 1992: Cedric Ceballos’ blindfold dunk
One of the most controversial dunks in dunk contest history, Ceballos was perhaps a little too perfect on his blindfold two-handed finish.
While this screams fake and that Ceballos could see, his three steps inside the three-point line end with one directly on the free-throw line followed by the take-off taking place right on the dotted line, suggesting it was well-choreographed. That makes somewhat of a case for how easy he made it look.
Ceballos claimed he practiced the dunk for two months. Where Ceballos failed was the theatrics. He could have had a teammate — Dan Majerle hugs him after — come out and prove the legitimacy of the blindfold, or at least act like it was.
Even if it’s fake, Ceballos earns serious points for creativity and having a dunk that is still talked about a quarter of a century later.
1. Stoudemire and Steve Nash soccer alley-oop
From this one writer’s standpoint, the dunk contest is at its best when everyone has the most fun.
I am the person who claims Aaron Gordon’s dunk featuring a spinning mascot on a hoverboard was better than his iconic jumping over the mascot and putting the ball under his legs dunk.
Every fan was smiling when Stoudemire brought out his point guard Steve Nash and it was clear what they were going to do. Nash’s well-documented soccer background was put on display.
While they didn’t get it on the first attempt and it was far from a difficult finish, the duo gets maximum points for creativity and most of all, fun. If you need any further proof of this, listen to the joy from the announcers when Stoudemire throws it down.
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