Making It Look Too Easy

The only time basketball players don't want to be taller
February 23, 2015

ZACH LAVINE put on a mean performance when he won the NBA Dunk Contest last Saturday: At 6'5", the T-Wolves' guard matches the average height of the 30 winners since the event was revived in 1984. (It wasn't held in '98 or '99.) Only three previous champions were 6'5", but 16 have been either 6'5", 6'6" or 6'7". A mere three champs have been 6'10" or taller, topped by 6'11" Dwight Howard, while 5'9" Nate Robinson, a three-time winner, has led the 6'1" and under crowd to five victories.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

7'0"

THE SWEET SPOT

6'5"--6'7"

6'6"

6'0"

5'6"

'84 Larry Nance Suns

'85 Dominique Wilkins Hawks

'86 Spud Webb Hawks

'87 Michael Jordan Bulls

'88 Michael Jordan Bulls

'89 Kenny Walker Knicks

'90 Dominique Wilkins Hawks

'91 Dee Brown Celtics

'92 Cedric Ceballos Suns

'93 Harold Miner Heat

'94 Isaiah Rider T-Wolves

'95 Harold Miner Heat

'96 Brent Barry Clippers

'97 Kobe Bryant Lakers

'00 Vince Carter Raptors

'01 Desmond Mason SuperSonics

'02 Jason Richardson Warriors

'03 Jason Richardson Warriors

'04 Fred Jones Pacers

'05 Josh Smith Hawks

'06 Nate Robinson Knicks

'07 Gerald Green Celtics

'08 Dwight Howard Magic

'09 Nate Robinson Knicks

'10 Nate Robinson Knicks

'11 Blake Griffin Clippers

'12 Jeremy Evans Jazz

'13 Terrence Ross Raptors

'14 John Wall Wizards

'15 Zach LaVine T-Wolves

PHOTOSTEPHEN DUNN/GETTY IMAGES (WEBB) PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JORDAN) PHOTOMANNY MILLAN/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MINER) PHOTOJEFF HAYNES/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (BARRY) PHOTOANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (ROBINSON) PHOTOGREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HOWARD) PHOTONOAH GRAHAM/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (WALL) CHART

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)