NBA All-Star Saturday Night is a night that I do not miss. The three-point shootout is always one of my favorite events and, sadly, the Dunk Contest has become a complete joke over the last few years.
James Harden is entering his first ever three-point contest tonight in probably the most loaded year in the history of the event. He has to go against the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Kyrie Irving, J.J. Redick and defending champion, Marco Belinelli.
This is the first time a Rocket has been represented in the competition since Cuttino Mobley back in 2004. That's 11 years! Before that it was 11 years previous and Kenny Smith back in 1993.
Patrick Beverley is the Rockets' first participant in the Skills Competition, which started in 2003 (Steve Francis would have participated, I feel, if it were started three years earlier).
Back in the 1993 edition of the shootout, Smith was also in a very loaded field that year. Reggie Miller, Mark Price, Dana Barros, Terry Porter and Dan Majerle. Smith was only able to score 12 points in the first round and was eliminated.
Mobley did not fare much better in 2004, also being eliminated in the first round with 13 points, along with Houston native Rashard Lewis. Voshon Leonard, Peja Stojakovic and Korver were the finalist that year.
How will Harden do? You can hit the poll at the end and leave your predictions in the comments.
There is no Rocket in the Slam Dunk Contest this year, but the Rockets have had plenty of players in the event over the years.
Ralph Sampson was a participant in the original (modern) contest all the way back in 1984. Kenny Smith participated in 1991, a year after finishing second to Dominique Wilkins as a member of the Sacramento Kings. He would also participate for the final time in 1993.
It would be seven years before another Rocket would appear in the contest, that man would be Steve Francis aka Stevie Franchise (#GoTerps) in 2000 and 2002. Chase Budinger would be the last Rocket to appear in the contest in 2012.
In 1984 Sampson couldn't get out of the first round, but he also had to go against guys like Larry Nance (the eventual winner), THE Julius Irving, Dominique Wilkins and Darrell Griffith. For you young kids out there that don't know your NBA history, those dudes could throw down with the best of them.
In 1991, Smith made it into the semis against Dee Brown, Shawn Kemp and Rex Chapman (really?), but he couldn't outdunk the eventual finalists in Brown and Kemp, with Brown winning thanks to the famous pump-up shoes dunk. In 1993 Smith ran into the buzzsaw that was known as Harold Miner (Ed. Note: Baby Jordan!).
The Franchise had the pleasure of going toe-to-toe with probably the best dunker of the last 15 years in Vince Carter. In any other year, Francis would have taken the crown, posting perhaps the greatest non-winning display in the dunk contest.
(Cuttino Mobley cameo! I miss these guys, but not those uniforms)
Stevie would lose by 7 points to Vince in that contest, but Vince put on a display for the ages. Some guy named Tracy McGrady was also a finalist that year as well.
Finally, Budinger finished 1 percent from tying eventual champion Jeremy Evans in the 2012 contest. He brought out P. Diddy for some reason and jumped over him, then did a Cedric Ceballos tribute with a blindfolded dunk that very few people believed was blindfolded (if it was it's fucking insane).