While plenty of basketball’s all-time greats have partaken in this NBA mid-season special, only one legend captivated our attention more so than anybody else. Read on below to find out which All-Star moment stood above the rest and while you’re at it, you can also check out our special features on the Top 10 Super Bowl games and moments of all-time right after this.
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Top 10 NBA All-Star Weekend Moments
10. What’s Going On, NBA? Marvin Gaye, That’s What
He may not be a basketball player, but he made quite an impact in the 1983 NBA All-Star Game with his soulful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Up to this day, Gaye’s performance remains the benchmark for how the U.S. National Anthem should be sung.
But enough talk, and let’s just listen to this delightful rendition, which proved to be one of the defining cultural moments in American sporting history.
9. Superman Takes Flight
The year was 2008 and Dwight Howard was still a beloved figure in the NBA. His popularity hit its apex in that year’s All-Star Weekend when he wowed the global audience with his tour-de-force performance in the Slam Dunk Contest.
His signature moment came in the finale when he donned his Superman cape to jam the ball down through the net from about 6 feet away. You can relive that amazing performance by watching the video above.
8. ‘Hodge’ You Like That?
Stephen Curry stole the show in last year’s All-Star event with his record-breaking performance in the Three-Point Shootout. The reigning MVP scored 27 points in the final round, which was highlighted by his 13 made shots in a row.
Interestingly enough, though, that mark still pales in comparison to the record set by the great Craig Hodges in the 1991 competition. Hodges was unstoppable in the semifinal round of that event, hitting the bottom of the net in his first 19 attempts. Talk about being on fire! He defeated Jim Les, Terry Porter and even Reggie Miller that year to win his second-consecutive Three-Point Contest title.
7. MJ’s Curtain Call
Michael Jordan’s two-year stint with the Washington Wizards may not have gone according to plan, but His Airness still put on quite a show in his final All-Star Game appearance back in 2003.
Jordan scored 20 points in that contest, including a tough fadeaway jumper in the dying seconds of the first overtime that gave the East a 138-136 lead. Even though the Western All-Stars still pulled off the victory in the only double-overtime All-Star Game in the NBA history, that difficult basket by Jordan reminded everyone that he is still the greatest basketball player of all time indeed.
6. Caught in His Webb
Who said short basketball players can’t dunk? Spud Webb proved that notion wrong with his jaw-dropping performance in the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest.
Webb captivated the fans and the opposition alike with his vast array of dunks. To be specific: he connected with a straight-on double clutch, a reverse with a scissor-kick off the bounce and also a 360 stuff. For your own sake, though, just watch the video and see for your own eyes how this 5-foot-7 specimen defied all odds to pull off the victory against Dominique Wilkins and Co.
5. What Exhibition Game?
Coming in fifth on our list is the East’s miracle comeback in the 2001 NBA All-Star game. With only nine minutes left in that contest, the East All-Stars were down a whopping 21 points. Many players would have called it a night by then knowing that the All-Star game bears no weight in the regular season’s standings, but that’s now what this collection of East superstars had in mind.
Led by Allen Iverson, the East unleashed a back-breaking 37-15 run to pull off the thrilling 111-110 victory. The Answer, who scored 15 of his 25 points in that fateful fourth quarter, was righfully named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
4. Triple ‘Bird’-ie
They don’t call him Larry Legend for nothing. Apart from winning the NBA title three times in his storied career, Bird also made his mark in the league’s All-Star festivities, capturing the Three-Point Shootout crowns from 1986-1988. His performance from that 1988 edition, in particular, was the stuff legends are truly made of. He struggled early in that final-round shootout with Dale Ellis, trailing by eight points heading into his final two racks.
With his reign in peril, Bird delivered one of the greatest shooting performances in this competition’s history. Warming to the task under the pressure, Bird drained all of five of his shots in the left-wing rack to cut the deficit to two points. After missing his first two attempts in the final rack, Bird was faced with the unenviable situation of hitting his last three shots to retain the title.
That wasn’t a problem for the two-time defending champion, though, who calmly sank all three baskets for the unlikeliest of wins. Such was his confidence in his final attempt that Bird already pointed his crooked right index finger aloft while his shot was still in mid-flight. Now that is what we can truly deem as LEGENDARY.
3. Let the Vinsanity Begin
There was a time in the late 1990s when the Slam Dunk contest fell out of relevance. Due to lagging creativity and the NBA lockout, the competition was forced to shut down for a two-year hiatus.
Fortunately for the league and its fans, Vince Carter injected some much-needed excitement to the All-Star event by single-handedly resurrecting the dunk contest at the turn of the millennium. Carter electrified the crowd with his athleticism and showmanship as he bludgeoned the competition with his vast array of innovative dunks, which still stands as arguably the greatest Slam Dunk competition performance by a single player in NBA history. Well, that is until we get to the next item on our list, which is…
2. His Airness vs. The Human Highlight Film
Back in 1988, Michael Jordan was already one of the biggest stars in the NBA. His fame further skyrocketed that year, though, with his tour-de-force performance during the NBA All-Star Weekend. He became the first player in the history of the NBA to own both All-Star Saturday and Sunday, as Jordan won not only the Slam Dunk contest but also claimed MVP honors in the All-Star Game the day after.
Playing in front of a partisan Chicago crowd, Jordan defeated Dominique Wilkins in what some are saying is the greatest Slam Dunk contest of all time. His iconic dunk from the free throw line helped Jordan win his second-consecutive Slam Dunk title. Jordan further added to his greatness with his incredible performance in the All-Star Game wherein he recorded 40 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals. His heroics helped the East snatch a thrilling 138-133 victory against the West.
1. Simply ‘Magic’-al
Magic Johnson captured the imagination of sports fans everywhere with his awe-inspiring performance in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Months after learning he had the dreaded HIV infection and decided to retire, Magic returned and played the game of his life in the league’s showpiece event.
Johnson scored 25 points, dished out nine assists and grabbed five rebounds in 29 minutes of action to lead the Western All-Stars to an emphatic 153-113 victory. He then took home MVP honors with his spellbinding showing against all odds, and this undoubtedly makes Johnson’s performance the greatest moment in the event’s history.
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