A Recap Of The Funkiest Dunk Contest Ever: #EastbayFunkDunk

A Recap Of The Funkiest Dunk Contest Ever: #EastbayFunkDunk

Imagine the dunk that made this kid make this face.

Eastbay Funk Dunk Reaction

Dunk contests have been going on for decades, and frankly, it has gotten a bit stale in recent years. They used to represent everything that was exciting about the game of basketball – the best athletes in the game performing remarkably creative high-flying acts that most of us couldn’t even imagine. That’s what Isaiah “J.R.” Rider did in the ’94 dunk contest when he shocked the basketball world with the first-ever, between-the-legs dunk, dubbed the East Bay Funk dunk. And that’s what we celebrated at the inaugural #EastbayFunkDunk Contest – the best dunkers in the world, showing off the most outrageous hang time, athletic creativity, and originality on the court.

Eastbay Funk Dunk

The head-to-head, 3-round competition showcased a unique format unlike any dunk contest before it. The first round consisted of a 10-minute session, during which the two teams went back and forth to see which team would win the judges’ vote and gain an edge going into round 2.

Team 1, led by world-renowned dunker Kenny Dobbs, took Round 1 in a landslide.

Round 2 took us through a familiar basketball game of P.I.G., but instead spelled D.U.N.K. I’m sure you’ve all played a game of P.I.G. where your opponent is pulling out these ridiculous shots that you have no chance of replicating. Well, this was taken to a whole other level as the dunkers were forced to step out of their comfort zones and match the dunks performed by members of the other team. Keep in mind that these guys are some of the most athletic high flyers in the world, and it takes a lot to make them look clumsy, but that’s exactly what this round did. I mean, how are you supposed to mimic ‘JusFly’ when he does a cartwheel-style dunk?

The shortest dunker in the world, the normally high-flying Mr. Porter, attempted the same dunk, but it did not go well. Thanks to some ridiculously acrobatic and creative dunks, Team 2 was able to take Round 2.

So it came down to the third round. And for that we have to go back to J.R. Rider, one of our celebrity judges. In the third round, contestants would have to perform their best variation of the dunk that Rider made famous over 20 years ago, the Eastbay Funk Dunk. Watch all the highlights below to see who did it best and took home the $10,000 cash prize.


Remember, you can get in on the action, too. We want to see your version of the Eastbay Funk Dunk, so show us what you’ve got (on an 8’ hoop or taller), share it on Twitter or Instagram, tag Eastbay, and use #EastbayFunkDunk. The winner will win basketball shoes for his or her entire team. More details.


By Ben Schumacher

Eastbay Memory Lane: Converse Basketball 1994

Eastbay Memory Lane: Converse Basketball 1994

words // Nick Engvall

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were the definitive bad boys of college basketball. Watching them play growing up, it was clear that they weren’t only one of the best teams to ever play together, but they had a good time doing it. As a kid trying to find his way in the world, that was almost as appealing to me as the skill they displayed on court. Although, nowadays it’s rumored that their fun might not have exactly been “legal,” it can’t really take away from the fun it was to watch Jerry Tarkanian lead UNLV past the Duke Blue Devils for a national title.

The on-court star of the team in those few years, was Larry Johnson. Not only was Johnson officially “cool” with his gold front tooth, he was inspiring in other ways. Johnson wasn’t just an instant star out of high school straight to a major college. His path led him through Odessa Junior College in Texas, where two years of hard work and success launched him into the Las Vegas spotlight as the Rebels became NCAA champions. A success story like that is inspiration to all aspiring athletes, and to add a solid NBA career to his list of accomplishments, along with some of the most memorable Converse basketball shoes of all time, Johnson was the face of the brand through the 90’s, and the face of this Eastbay Catalog page in 1994.

Another player that took a similar path through junior college teams, and eventually landed on the Converse roster also shared the limelight back in 1994. Isaiah Rider, or J.R. Rider depending on how he was feeling that day, landed a signature model from Converse. The Sky Rider Mid was worn by Rider as he brought his “East Bay Funk,” a nickname attributed to his Oakland, California roots, to the Slam Dunk Contest in 1994. Rider defeated names like Shawn Kemp, Robert Pack and Allan Houston (who had one of the worst dunks in history), with a between the legs dunk that back then, was pretty much unbelievable, even at the Slam Dunk Contest.

Also showing up in this Eastbay Memory Lane visit are two other memorable Converse silhouettes. The Converse Backjam, remembered for the crazy print and strap system, and the Destroyer Mid, a rugged outdoor design that is a perfect representation of the early 90’s basketball shoe designs. Back then, almost all of the Converse shoes used React Juice cushioning, because well, there isn’t anything more responsive than liquid, right?

You think that React Juice is still functional cushioning all these years later? There’s probably plenty of sneakerheads that would love to see it return, functional or not.

Eastbay Memory Lane: Converse Basketball 1994