When Is the NBA Dunk Contest?

Jimmy Remland
By Jimmy Remland 6 Min Read
6 Min Read

The NBA Dunk Contest, an electrifying showcase of gravity-defying athleticism, is a highlight of the annual NBA All-Star Weekend. Fans eagerly anticipate this thrilling event, where players soar through the air, defying physics to deliver jaw-dropping dunks. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the 2024 NBA Dunk Contest, including the schedule, participants, scoring format, and historical context.

Event Details

Date and Time

The 2024 NBA Dunk Contest is scheduled for Saturday, February 17th, 2024. Mark your calendars because this is one event you won’t want to miss!


The high-flying action will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. This iconic venue, home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, provides the perfect stage for showcasing gravity-defying feats of athleticism.


Defending Champion: Mac McClung

Mac McClung, representing the G League’s Osceola Magic, returns as the defending champion. His explosive dunks wowed fans in 2023, and he aims to retain his crown. Keep an eye on McClung—he’s sure to bring innovation and creativity to the contest.


This year’s field features an exciting mix of talent:

  1. Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics): The All-Star guard brings his aerial prowess to the contest. Brown’s athleticism and creativity make him a formidable competitor.
  2. Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Miami Heat): A rookie sensation, Jaquez Jr. has already turned heads with his dunking ability. Expect him to push the limits and deliver memorable slams.
  3. Jacob Toppin (New York Knicks): Toppin, on a two-way contract with the Knicks, aims to make a splash. His lineage (his brother Obi Toppin won the 2020 Dunk Contest) adds intrigue.

Scoring Format

The Dunk Contest consists of two rounds, each with its own set of rules:

  1. Round 1:
    • Each contestant performs two dunks.
    • Judges score each dunk on a scale of six to ten.
    • The highest possible score for a dunk is 50, while the lowest is 30.
    • The two players with the highest combined scores advance to the finals.
  2. Final Round:
    • The two finalists each execute two dunks.
    • The dunker with the highest combined score for both dunks claims the championship.

Historical Context

Unforgettable Moments

The Dunk Contest has produced iconic moments over the years. From Michael Jordan’s free-throw line leap to Vince Carter’s 360 windmill, fans cherish these displays of athleticism. Expect the 2024 edition to add to this storied legacy.

Innovation and Creativity

Both Mac McClung and Jacob Toppin have teased unprecedented dunks. Their commitment to pushing boundaries promises an unforgettable contest.

The Dunk Contest Experience

Atmosphere and Crowd

The Dunk Contest transcends mere basketball—it’s a spectacle that unites fans, players, and legends. As the arena lights dim, anticipation crackles in the air. The crowd collectively holds its breath, waiting for that explosive takeoff. The roar when a dunk connects—the goosebumps—it’s all part of the magic.

Judges and Their Impact

The panel of judges plays a pivotal role. Former dunk champions, NBA legends, and celebrities scrutinize every detail. Their scores determine who advances and who falls short. But judging dunks isn’t straightforward. It’s a delicate balance between creativity, difficulty, and execution.

Memorable Dunk Contest Moments

  1. Michael Jordan’s Free-Throw Line Dunk (1988):
    • The GOAT took flight from the free-throw line, defying gravity. His extended arm, legs tucked, and the ball soaring—it’s etched in basketball lore.
  2. Vince Carter’s 360 Windmill (2000):
    • Vince Carter’s swagger was on full display. A 360-degree spin, followed by a windmill dunk—pure artistry. The crowd erupted, and the judges had no choice but to award a perfect score.
  3. Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon Duel (2016):
    • LaVine and Gordon engaged in an epic showdown. Their repertoire included between-the-legs dunks, reverse slams, and creativity beyond imagination. The contest went into overtime, and fans couldn’t get enough.

The Dunk Contest’s Influence

  1. Inspiring the Next Generation:
    • Young ballers watch the Dunk Contest wide-eyed. They mimic dunks in driveways, dreaming of their moment on the big stage. It’s a catalyst for creativity and innovation.
  2. Shaping NBA Legacies:
    • Winning the Dunk Contest adds a unique chapter to a player’s legacy. It’s not just about rings or stats—it’s about leaving an indelible mark on the game.

Behind the Scenes

Dunk Preparation

Before the spotlight, contestants fine-tune their dunks. They experiment with angles, timing, and props. Some practice in secret gyms, guarding their surprises. Others seek advice from dunk veterans.

Nerves and Adrenaline

Imagine standing at the baseline, adrenaline coursing through your veins. The crowd’s roar, the pressure to deliver—it’s a mental battle. But champions channel nerves into raw energy.

The Dunk Contest’s Evolution

  1. From Simple to Extravagant:
    • Early contests featured basic dunks—two-handed slams, one-handed power jams. But as athleticism grew, so did creativity. Today, we witness windmills, 360s, and even props like hoverboards.
  2. Social Media Impact:
    • Social platforms amplify dunks. A jaw-dropping slam instantly trends worldwide. Players know this—they aim for virality.
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