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MJ & Dominique Wilkins put on a dunking show for the ages

Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan

On this date in 1988, the ultimate face-off between MJ and Dominique Wilkins took place in the Slam Dunk contest in Chicago Stadium.

In the eyes of the many, this is still to this day the greatest display of high-flying slam dunks in NBA history or merely the most competitive. There’s no questioning the show Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins put on in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest.

Three years have passed since Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins squared off in the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. In the first matchup of the high-flying duo in 1985, Dominique edged out the Bulls rookie to win his first dunk title. Injuries prohibited the rematch of the two superstars in 1986 (Jordan) and 1987 (Wilkins).

This time around, MJ had the home-court advantage in front of 18 thousand fans in a packed Chicago Stadium arena so you can imagine the pressure both players had before their epic high-flying battle.

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Wilkins and Jordan matched the 50s on the first of their three final round dunks. 'Nique, going first, used a power windmill jam for his second try. Another 50. Jordan then got his 47. So Wilkins, amid the boos, swung his arms like he was using a sledgehammer. He got a 45.

After a solid first round, Jordan kicked off the semi-finals with one of his most famous moments. With the crowd rising to their feet, his Airness used a full-court runway to take off from just inside the free-throw line, double-clutching his right arm and kicking his legs for the length of the 15 feet between the charity stripe and the rim.

The judges gave him another 50, crowning Jordan a back-to-back dunk contest champion.

"It's always tough to win in someone else's hometown," said Wilkins. "When you're in somebody's hometown, it's always tough," Wilkins said. "But he had a great dunk, you have to admit. If anybody's going to beat me, I'd rather have it be him.”

In what would be the last year the two would meet in the dunk contest, the hometown favorite prevailed in the most dramatic and controversial ending to the All-Star Saturday classic showdown with a 147-145 final-round victory. The All-Star Game also belonged to Jordan. He poured in 40 points, earning MVP honors.

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