Orlando's Howard soars to spectacular dunk contest title - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Orlando's Howard soars to spectacular dunk contest title

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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2008 12:31 am | Updated: 10:18 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

NEW ORLEANS - Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Dwight Howard - super slam dunk champion.

A red cape trailing behind him, Orlando's man of steel made like Superman and won perhaps the best dunk contest, definitely the most creative, in NBA history to close a memorable All-Star Saturday.

Using a variety of props as well as teammate Jameer Nelson, Howard scored perfect 50s from judges on his first two dunks before the contest was turned over to fan voting for the first time in the final round.

Fans, too, picked the 6-foot-11 Howard, who dispelled an old dunking myth: Big men can fly high.

In any other year, Minnesota's Gerald Green would have easily walked away with his second straight dunking crown, but he was upstaged by the amazingly athletic Howard, whose performance has to rank up there with anything Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter or even tiny Spud Webb ever did above the basket.

The dunk contest, bland for so many years as the game's high risers seemed to run out of ideas, was freshened up by some of the most creative aerial assaults in memory.

Howard, Green, Toronto's Jamario Moon and Memphis' Rudy Gay all used tape, ladders, teammates and even a tasty dessert to show their stuff.

Howard started things off with a see-through dunk. Standing on the baseline, he tossed the ball off the reverse side of the backboard, caught it with both hands, and after peering through the glass at the rim, dunked left-handed.

The crowd roared and a celebrity panel of judges including Magic Johnson, Karl Malone as well as Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and Darryl Dawkins - three of the game's most famed dunkers - all gave him perfect 10s.

Not to be outdone, Green tried to blow the field away. Literally.

After Timberwolves teammate Rashad McCants climbed up and placed a cupcake with a single candle in it on the back of the rim, Green soared in and puffed out the flame before throwing down a nasty left-hander.

Earlier, Jason Kapono showed nobody's close to him from long distance.

The NBA's best 3-point shooter this season, the Toronto forward with the silky touch won his second straight 3-point Shootout, tying a 22-year-old record with a final round of 25.

Kapono missed his first two shots in the last round before dropping 10 straight. By the time he approached the last rack of balls, Kapono had already clinched the win and didn't have to fire up another shot.

In the Skills Challenge, Utah's Deron Williams was flawless and fast.

In the night's first event, San Antonio's Becky Hammon, David Robinson and Tim Duncan won the Shooting Stars competition.

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