- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TUESDAY’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

There’s only one game in town: the MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis. 8 p.m., Chs. 5, 45

TAKE YOUR PICK WHAT’S MORE IMPRESSIVE: WINNING THE NBA’S SLAM DUNK CONTEST OR BASEBALL’S HOME RUN DERBY?

Slam dunk contest — This event has had many defining moments since it debuted in the ABA in 1976. Basketball greats Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan all have participated. Unlike the home run derby, the fans determine the winner. And to prevail, participants need to display athleticism, originality and execution.

Home run derby — Since its inception in 1985 — ESPN first aired it in 1993 — Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr. have won. The architecture of the host ballpark can play to the advantage of certain batters: In 2006, left-hander Ryan Howard won at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, which has a short porch in right field.

Our take — Both events require skill and power, but winning the slam dunk contest requires creativity, making it a more impressive accomplishment. While a hitter can win the home run derby by repeating the same swing over and over, participants in the slam dunk contest must be original. And it has spawned some of basketball’s most inventive moves, including Vince Carter’s windmill and Jordan’s double-clutch jam.

TWT FIVE SLAM DUNK CONTEST WINNERS SINCE 2005

1. Nate Robinson, Knicks — In 2009, Robinson beat out Dwight Howard to win his second title.

2. Dwight Howard, Magic — Howard won in 2008 in the first competition decided by fans.

3. Gerald Green, Celtics — In 2007, Green prevented Robinson from repeating by topping him in the final.

4. Nate Robinson, Knicks — Robinson defeated Andre Iguodala in a tiebreaker to win in 2006.

5. Josh Smith, Hawks — Smith posted a perfect score of 100 in the finals to beat Amare Stoudemire in 2005.


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