1988 dunk contest
Back in the 1980s, the dunk contest on All-Star weekend was actually worth watching (rather than today’s showcase for mediocre players who can jump). Heading into the ’88 slam show in Chicago, Jordan and Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks — nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film” — had each claimed victory in previous contests. This was the much anticipated rubber match between the game’s highest flyers, on Jordan’s home turf. For his final dunk, Jordan needed the judges to give him a 49-point score (on a scale of 50) to beat ‘Nique. He walked to the opposite end of the court, ran the length of the floor and took off from the foul line. The flashbulbs lit up the old Chicago Stadium as Jordan walked on air and slammed it home. Jordan won the title with a perfect score; the iconic image of Michael in flight was trademarked on Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, a product that made the company millions.