Time machine: Slam Dunk Contest 2006


 By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly Staff

"Iguodala should have won this thing." That was Charles Barkley's reaction after Andre Iguodala was declared the runner-up to Nate Robinson in the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest.

Allen Iverson was quick to shout "he got robbed!"

The faces of the players and celebrities around the court told the rest of the story.

In 2006, Andre Iguodala was just in his second NBA season. He was a young athletic player who could dunk basketballs extremely well and just a shell of the player who would lead the Sixers through the late 2000s and early 2010s and later become the NBA Finals MVP.

2006 was a transition period for the Sixers, so the only trophy that fans were looking forward to was a Slam Dunk Contest championship. 

Iguodala entered without much fanfare, competing with defending champion Josh Smith and Nate Robinson who was the sub-six-foot underdog that fans gravitated to.

Side note: Iguodala is the only player to compete in this Dunk Contest who is still in the NBA.

Andre Iguodala soon won the crowd over with his second dunk, a reverse jam caught from behind the backboard off of a pass from Allen Iverson. This is the dunk that rocketed him to the finals earning a perfect score and the highest combined score of round one. 

To begin the second round, the pressure was on Nate Robinson. He responded by missing 14 consecutive attempts. When he finally connected, the judges shockingly opted to not penalize him and gave him a score of 44. 

Iguodala answered with another perfect score, when he lobbed the ball, caught it off of the floor while in the air, went around his back, and deposited the ball into the basket. 

Nate Robinson brought the house down with his second dunk of round two, leaping over 1986 Slam Dunk Contest champion, and the only sub-six-foot player to win the title at the time. Robinson deserved a perfect score of 50 and that is what he received.

Iguodala's final dunk of round two was a between the legs jam that was a safe dunk, but he missed his first few attempts. Unlike Robinson, it appeared as though Iguodala was punished for his misses and he received a 44, tying Robinson and sending the contest into a dunk-off, the first in the history of the contest.

Robinson went first, and he again prefaced his attempt with a deflating string of misses before finally catching a pass to himself off of the backboard and earning a score of 47 after the judges yet again did not punish him for an ample amount of misses.

Andre Iguodala dunked last, starting from the baseline and leaping past the basket while putting the ball through his legs and slamming it in on the other side of the hoop. Iguodala missed his first attempt, and again seemed to be penalized. 

Iguodala received a 46, and lost the dunk contest. 

It seemed as though Nate Robinson was being graded on a different scale because of his height, receiving much more forgiveness for failed attempts than Iguodala appeared to. 

Was Iguodala robbed? Watch the clips below and decide for yourself.


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