When Terrence Ross was selected with the 8th overall pick in 2012 NBA Draft, it was safe to say that the world didn’t envision the words, “Slam Dunk Champion”, but when Ross jumped over the son of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (random?) and flushed a through-the-legs dunk, it was over and done with. For the first time since Vince Carter owned the dunking universe (circa 2000), a Toronto Raptor seemed to levitate, and with Ross even donning a throwback #15 jersey, it all seemed very fitting.
Coming into the night, Ross was a distant 3rd (or lower) on the “hype” scale surrounding the competition. Youtube sensation James “Flight” White had seemingly been built for this competition, and Gerald Green, the 2007 champion, garnered the rest of the buzz. Both of the “favorites”, however, came up flat in the first-round, missing repeatedly on their 2nd dunk attempts, and earning bare minimum totals. At the same time, Ross used his “prop-less” approach, converted two solid dunks in the opening round, and then put the West champion (2012 champ Jeremy Evans) away in the Finals.
The dunk of night (for me, anyway) was the opener from Gerald Green, but there’s a strong argument that Ross made four of the most impressive dunks of the night, and because he did so with consistency and flare, he was more than deserving of the crown. 58% of America agreed via fan voting, and Ross overcame the self-serving Jeremy Evans dunk (it featured a portrait… of himself).
As dunk contests go, it wasn’t “one of the greats”, but the final round featured two high-level dunkers going head-to-head and you can’t ask for much more. Many will remember this night for the failures of White and Green, but Ross shined on the biggest stage, and his no-props approach brought the contest back to its roots. Big-ups to Terrence Ross (and Canada, and the University of Washington) for a fun night.