So on the 4th of July, NBATV had a Slam Dunk Contest Marathon and I so happened to watch ’88-’93 (I later left the house and enjoyed fireworks, and you know, hanging out with people). Of course, the marathon brought back nostalgic, heartwarming memories of Jordan in Chicago, ‘Nique, and feeling disappointed that Shawn Kemp, somehow, didn’t win a Dunk Contest from ’90-’92.
Social media got involved by posting YouTube videos of some of these dunks, and more, from the 80s and 90s and that’s when one related YouTube video jumped out: Foot Locker Slam Fest: 1992.
Yes, this was a thing.
I was too young to remember it (5 years old in ’92), but not too young to remember the athletes involved. Deion Sanders, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Delino DeShields (love that name), WRs Michael Irvin, Tim Brown, and Cris Carter to name a few. Track and field stars Mike Powell and Mike Conley (yup, Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley’s father) were also favorites heading into the Slam Fest.
That kind of rolled off my tongue, but yes, there were favorites in 1992. Based on the previous three years of Foot Locker Slam Fests! They took this competition seriously; with every round, the athlete would win more prize money. Giving us some great commentary: none other than Dickie V and the late Jim Valvano.
So, for 50 minutes, enjoy the full 1 hour long special that pitted all these athletes (and more) against each other in a March Madness style tournament to crown a champion. I won’t spoil it; I’ll only say the winning dunk is legit. Overall, the Slam Fest is a mix of peak athleticism on display, the intrigue of seeing non-basketball athletes dunk, the best of the worst 90s overlays, graphics, and text, and of course, high unintentional comedy.
Could the NBA take notes? Who would be in the 2014 version of the Foot Locker Slam Fest? Usain Bolt? RGIII? Brandon Marshall? Andrew McCutchen? Jay Bilas & Young Jeezy doing commentary? Drake somehow involved, performing and then dapping up the winner? Kevin Hart doing Kevin Hart things? It’s a pipe dream because no way in this day in age that non-basketball athletes would risk injury dunking a basketball, but this is as fun to think about as it is to watch.