Well, now we know Michael Jordan won at least two slam dunk contests in 1988.
You might have heard of the first one. It took place at Chicago Stadium on All-Star Weekend. A free throw-line dunk…a perfect 50…Dominique Wilkins, etc. Ring a bell?
The other one is a little more under-the-radar. Thanks to some resurfaced VHS-caliber tape, we found that Jordan won a second contest in August of that year:
According to a report from The Post and Courier, Air Jordan visited the University of South Carolina campus that summer to judge a youth basketball exhibit put on by director George Glymph. The competition, which featured a three-point and dunk contest, featured an 18-year-old Jo Jo English. He would later star as a Gamecock in Columbia. And yes, it’s the same player who would play with the Bulls in parts of three seasons from 1992-95.
English thought he would be the only star to take the court. But there was a twist.
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Glymph told Jordan and English that they would compete against each other in a dunk contest after the exhibition ended. How did it go? Vintage MJ.
Jordan had to borrow shoes from a high school student. He also didn’t have his No. 23 jersey. And he hit the court in warm-up pants that resembled blue jeans.
According to David Cloninger’s report, Jordan followed English’s dunk routine in a bizarre game of HORSE— a sort of, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
It culminated with Jordan doing his trademark free-throw line takeoff —yes, in those blue pants— and landed the same dunk that brought the house down in Chicago six months prior. The crowd of 12,000-plus went bedlam. Jordan won again.
And if Jordan had actually donned blue jeans, would there have been any doubt he would have won?