None of the midseason All-Star breaks in other sports showcase background players as prominently as the NBA's weekend. Since the novelty of the Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout faded in the late '80s, the league's superstars have deferred to lesser-known NBA players for the annual made-for-TV exhibitions -- many whose entire careers are remembered for their All-Star Saturday Night exploits. Here's our list of the five most prominent participants from All-Star weekends over the years, the footnotes in history who shot or dunked their way into 15 minutes of fame.
1. Craig Hodges: Most remember Hodges, a deep reserve on Chicago's first two NBA title teams, as the one-dimensional sniper who won three consecutive Three-Point Shootouts from 1990 through '92. But Hodges actually performed admirably in the first eight competitions, twice earning runner-up finishes, before breaking through for victories in Miami, Charlotte and Orlando. When the '93 All-Star weekend came around, Hodges was still an unsigned free agent (having been waived by the Bulls following the '91-92 season), but the NBA permitted the Illinois native to defend his title -- wearing a generic "NBA" jersey since he didn't have a team. His incredible record of 19 consecutive made shots in the semifinals of the '91 event remains still stands.
2. Harold Miner: The '95 Slam Dunk Contest final in Phoenix was a showdown between Miner, the '93 winner, and reigning champ Isaiah Rider. With his emphatic victory, Miner became the third of four two-time winners in the history of the competition, joining Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan and Jason Richardson -- this cementing the high-flying reputation suggested by his "Baby Jordan" moniker.
3. Spud Webb: The diminutive 5-foot-7 guard shocked onlookers by upsetting Wilkins, the defending champion and his teammate on the Hawks, with a pair of perfect scores in the finals of the '86 Slam Dunk Contest. The third-shortest player in NBA history showed off an impressive repertoire, including a two-handed double-clutch dunk, a one-handed slam off the backboard, a 360-degree helicopter jam and a reverse jam off a floor bounce. (Webb is also remembered for aiding and abetting the most shameful miscarraige of justice in Slam Dunk Contest history 20 years after his historic win: when Nate Robinson attempted to dunk while jumping over Webb in a tie-breaker to decide the '06 competition. Robinson won the "dunk-off" over Andre Iguodala despite failing an incredible 14 times before completing the dunk.)
4. Tim Legler: The long-range specialist, best known for his four-year stint in Washington, edged Dennis Scott for the Three-Point Shootout championship in 1996. Legler scored 23, 22 and 20 points in his three rounds, establishing an aggregate record for the competition -- 65 out of a possible 90 points -- which remains intact today. The following year, the La Salle University alum finished a close second to Steve Kerr in the '97 finals.
5. Jason Kapono: On Saturday, the two-time defending champion can match the record of three straight Three-Point Shootout titles, currently shared by Hodges and Larry Bird. Kapono already holds the record for most points in the finals (25, two times including last year's victory) and most points in any round (25, three times).