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NBA Slam Dunk Contest Tonight

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul George
Indiana Pacers guard Paul George (24) goes up for a dunk over Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, front and forward LeBron James in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The Heat defeated the Pacers 105-90. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
paul george
Indiana Pacers guard Paul George (24) goes up for a dunk over Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, front and forward LeBron James in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The Heat defeated the Pacers 105-90. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The NBA’s “best” dunkers will take flight Saturday night in this year’s slam dunk contest.

And while some people have grown frustrated with amounts to a glorified talent show, the dunk contest is still popular among young NBA viewers, and to some who still remember when the game’s best dunkers actually took part in the contest.

In an effort to try to spice up the contest the NBA changed around the format of the contest this year.

The event will have four first-time participants.

The four men looking to be declared dunk champion are Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz and Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets. Evans replaced New York Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert who had to bow out of the dunk contest because of an injury.

No Shumpert also means no Linsanity for one night. The Knicks 23-year-old point guard was supposed to lob a pass to Shumpert while lying down on a couch (Lin slept on his brother’s couch before he was able to get his own place).

The NBA said the dunk contest will take place in a single-round format in which the winner will be chosen by fan vote. The league also announced that fans will be able to vote through Twitter.

Here’s how the rules are going to work:

Each contestant will get an opportunity to perform three rim-rocking dunks.

Fan voting will begin after all four competitors complete their first dunk.

The new rules replaces the two-round format, in which dunkers were issued scores from a panel of judges.

Some fans may be disappointed, however, because thunderous slam dunk man, Blake Griffin will not be performing for the crowd.
Griffin took home the title last year after jumping over a car for his final dunk.

Formers Knicks guard Nate Robinson won back-to-back titles from 2009-2010 and Dwight Howard was victorious in 2008.
The dunk contest is scheduled to take place at 8:30 on TNT.

Below is a list of previous winners:
2011 — Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
2010 — Nate Robinson, New York
2009 — Nate Robinson, New York
2008 — Dwight Howard, Orlando
2007 — Gerald Green, Boston
2006 — Nate Robinson, New York
2005 — Josh Smith, Atlanta
2004 — Fred Jones, Indiana
2003 — Jason Richardson, Golden State
2002 — Jason Richardson, Golden State
2001 — Desmond Mason, Seattle
2000 — Vince Carter, Toronto
1997 — Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
1996 — Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers
1995 — Harold Miner, Miami
1994 — Isaiah Rider, Minnesota
1993 — Harold Miner, Miami
1992 — Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix
1991 — Dee Brown, Boston
1990 — Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1989 — Kenny Walker, New York
1988 — Michael Jordan, Chicago
1987 — Michael Jordan, Chicago
1986 — Spud Webb, Atlanta
1985 — Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1984 — Larry Nance, Phoenix

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