Top 5 costumes worn in the NBA dunk contest


Every year, the NBA’s best ‘dunkers’ come together for the NBA Dunk Contest, and spectators flock to see the outfits on the court. Started in 1976, the NBA Dunk Contest is a crowd pleasing event and an impressive show of athleticism, with a few gimmicks thrown in. From stylish outfits to hilarious costumes, here are the five best outfits won in the NBA Dunk Contest over the years.

  1. Victor Oladipo in a Black Panther Mask in 2018

Oladipo started the competition with a fairly low scoring 31/50 dunk, then everything changed. He strutted over to the bench where Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman sat, and was handed a Black Panther mask by the celeb. In true style, mask on, Oladipo moved in for his second attempt, earning a 40/50. While he didn’t progress to the next round, the rehearsed exchange and masked attempt were pretty suave.

  1. Hamidou Diallo as hidden Superman, dunking over Shaq in 2019

This year’s dunk winner stole the show with his incredible, seemingly impossible dunk as well as his subtly clever costume. On his second dunk attempt, Diallo jumped over the seven foot Shaquille O’Neal, earning a perfect score. Not only did he make it over Shaq, but he hung by his elbow in the basket, and pulled open his shirt to reveal the Superman ’S’ underneath.


Dwight Howard as Superman in 2008

Superman is a recurring theme in the contest because it’s all about flying, and Dwight Howard was one of the first to mix the two together. Most endearing was his attitude towards the costume: “Just take off as far as I could,” he said were his thoughts on the night, “I decided to put the cape on and found one on the street.”

  1. John Collins as a vintage pilot in 2019

Another man keen to associate flying with the contest was John Collins in this year’s dunk contest. With the plan to jump over a model airplane, the Atlanta Hawk’s forward wrapped a scarf around his neck and placed a leather flying cap on his head for his dunk attempts. Unfortunately he ended up breaking off two sections of the plane, but the theatrics added fun to the evening.

  1. Dennis Smith in J. Coles high school Jersey in 2019

Wearing retro sports gear is fun, and while J. Cole may not be old enough to call his high school basketball jersey retro, it can be considered vintage. In this year’s competition, Dennis Smith dunked by jumping over J. Cole while wearing the recording artist’s high school basketball jersey.

Whether channeling a super hero with a subtle nod to their notorious emblem, or donning a hat to become a pilot, the NBA dunk contestants love a few gimmicks. While they have to be minimal to allow for superb dunking ability, they still generate a few laughs every time a player hits the court in dress up.

If you want to be the ultimate New York hero, we have Avengers costumes to suit everyone.

Mick Pacholli

Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.        

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