When Corey Maggette hit the NBA, he instantly became known as one of the most athletic players in the league. After having a standout career at the high school level in Chicago, he exploded onto the scene for the Duke Blue Devils. It only took him one year to show off his athleticism that turned him into a lottery pick, and although he was a bit raw early in his career, his size and jumping ability helped him quickly evolve.
While he was still evolving as a player in the NBA, it was no surprise to anyone that he was picked to participate in the 2001 NBA Slam Dunk Competition. It was only the second season of his professional career, and the first with the Los Angeles Clippers. As a rising star, many wanted to see what he was capable of.
Renewed interest in the NBA slam dunk competition
After Kobe Bryant won the Slam Dunk Contest in 1997 (#kobeinthecommunity), the NBA opted to cancel the Dunk Contest the following year. After that season, there was a lockout that canceled All-Star Weekend altogether in 1999. There were those saying that the dunk contest was dead altogether, but a performance for the ages by Vince Carter proved otherwise.
Thanks to the highflyer from the Toronto Raptors, many players were eager to get the opportunity to participate in 2001. The NBA actively sought young, promising players in the league who routinely threw down outstanding dunks and games.
Corey Maggette was having a solid season as a role player for the Los Angeles Clippers. He average right around 10 points per game at the All-Star break, and he was always good for a highlight or two in each contest. Expectations were high for him going into the dunk contest, and he didn’t disappoint with some pretty impressive dunks.
In the first dunk, Magette did a front flip during his approach to the rim. He then caught an alley-oop and threw it down with two hands to score a 46.
The score tied him for first place after the first dunk in the competition. With a very close competition, he knew that something impressive was necessary for his second and final dunk of the round.
Magette approached the second dunk looking for a massive windmill to get the crowd going. Although he pulled off the dunk, he was disappointed with the level of height and power he achieved. People could visibly see him frustrated that the ball slipped out of his hands after the dunk, which took away points in the scoring.
With a respectable 42 as a score for the second dunk, he found himself on the outside looking in to reach the finals. He only needed three more points to reach the finals, but it just wasn’t meant to be. He got plenty of recognition for his performance, but ultimately came short of the top price.
Today he’s sponsoring kids toy drives and being there for youth basketball players in Southern California. Despite not winning a Slam Dunk competition, the dunks in 2001, as well as in his career, caught the attention of many. He will always be remembered as a great dunker not only in competitions, but in games as well. Even later in his career, he still had the athleticism to pull off a fantastic dunk once in a while corey maggette.