18 February 2011
The 2011 NBA All-Star weekend is upon us, and as always, there is plenty to offer for every fan. Beginning with tonight, you can catch the Rookies vs. Sophomores game. It is basically just a younger All-Star game for those new to the league. Rest assured that there will be absolutely no defense played in this game either. You can first watch the Celebrity Game, but how many times in a row can you watch Chris Tucker's waistline expand?
On Saturday, you can check out the Shooting Stars contest, which pits an NBA player with a WNBA player and a retired legend to compete in a horse type of compteition. After that is the Skills competition amongst some of the game's best point guards. Closing it out on Saturday night are the 3-point and Slam Dunk contests. It all concludes with the All-Star game itself on Sunday night.
This weekend, all of the stars will be out - both on and off the court. You get to see the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and countless others. It is a great mix between young stars and future hall of famers who are nearing the end of their illustrious careers. The big names always come out and compete during the NBA All-Star weekend.
But so do some of the obscure ones. Yes, legends such as Larry Bird, Glen Rice and Ray Allen have won the 3-point contest. And sure, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter have captured the Slam Dunk title. Those are the names we all remember, no matter how casual of a fan you are.
But what about some of the one-hit wonders? There are so many of them. And I'm not even talking about some of the participants who failed to perform well at all. I'm going to strictly stick to the players who won either one of these contests, and you tell me how many of them you actually remember.
Without further ado, here is my top 10 list of the most obscure players to ever win a 3-point or Slam Dunk competition:
10. Voshon Leonard - 2004 3 point winner: Leonard won the contest while a member of the Denver Nuggets. Believe it or not, he once averaged 30 points per game - in the CBA. He was a star at the University of Minnesota, and went on to play for a handful of NBA teams. Much to my surprise, he averaged almost 12 points per game in the NBA. Still...
9. Dee Brown - 1991 Slam Dunk winner: He won the contest as a member of the Boston Celtics. Many players still try and mimick his no-look dunk today, but nobody can replicate what Brown did. Even if his eyes were really open.
8. Desmond Mason - 2001 Slam Dunk winner: Mason was a star at Oklahoma State. He was one of the best players in Cowboys' history. That success did not carry over to the NBA. He was still kicking around recently, but Mason was best known for winning the dunk contest at a time where it was a dying art.
7. Jason Kapono - 2007 and 2008 3-point winner: He won the contest twice and did so for two different teams. Without looking at the picture, could you really name either team?
6. Tim Legler - 1996 3-point winner: Aside from being that guy on ESPN, how many of you remember that Legler actually played? He stuck around for awhile, but is still only known for the one season he shot lights out from behind the line and won the competition in San Antonio.
5. Gerald Green - 2007 Slam Dunk winner: Green was highly touted coming out of high school, but never lived up to expectations, which is so often the case. The best thing he did was wear a Dee Bown Celtics jersey when he won the contest while attempting to copy Brown's dunk from 1991. Oh, and the guy he jumped over? Mr. Bown himself.
4. Craig Hodges - 1990, 1991 and 1992 3-point winner: Hodges won three straight - like Larry Bird. He also won a pair of NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. Don't you remember him with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen leading the team every season? I grew up watching the Bulls and I barely remember him ever playing in a game. Yet he won this thing three times.
3. Cedric Ceballos - 1992 Slam Dunk winner: This is somewhat misleading, because Ceballos actually had a couple of decent seasons with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. But he put on a blindfold to win the dunk contest and that jumpstarted his career.
2. Harold Miner - 1993 and 1995 Slam Dunk winner: "Baby Jordan" did win the contest twice - much like the real Jordan. The similarities end there.
1. Fred Jones - 2004 Slam Dunk winner: Who?
Entering this weekend, the two names who could join this list - with no disrespect to either one - would be if Dorrell Wright wins the 3-point contest or if JaVale McGee wins the Slam Dunk contest.
Again, no disrespect.
* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24 for all things obscure in the world of sports...
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