In terms of hype, I think James White is the dunker that left me the most disappointed since I began watching the event live in 1994. I wasn't even mad though. I was just really bummed out.
I've been an underground fan of White since 2002-ish, slightly before the internet and YouTube allowed everyone to see everything all the time. I had a HoopsTV.com Ball Above All VHS with a White feature that I used to show my friends. So after all these years, I was really pulling for him on the big stage. Of course, similar to his college dunk contest experience, it didn't quite work out. And it sucked.
After White, I guess the next choice would be Shannon Brown with all the hype he had that year (LetShannonDunk).
Otherwise, most of the big names have at least sort of
lived up to any dunk contest hype. Though on second thought, I always used to find it a little disappointing that Shawn Kemp would always lose in his dunk contests.
Edit: On second thought, I was extremely disappointed with Josh Smith's defending contest in 2006, mostly because he built up his own hype with these theatrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwVpAVWfBxo
Originally Posted by CavaliersFTW
I actually thought he had a pretty good contest outside of the mediocre final dunk. I was hoping he'd windmill over the car or anything
besides just a standard finish.
But yes, the theatrics were corny. That said, if you've never been more embarrassed for the NBA after that slam, I must wonder where the following year's contest ranks with you, featuring standard reverse dunks while wearing head cameras, dunking in the dark, jumping over motorcycles and everything Chase Budinger ever did.
Say what you will about Blake Griffin's dunk contest, but at least it didn't include awful, awful