Howard didn't take home the trophy, but he may just have gotten the fans' vote for injecting the most creativity into this year's contest.
Howard brought a second hoop out for one of his dunks, then disappeared into a phone booth (as promised) on the stage to change into the Superman costume that we now associate with Dwight and his dunks. Once geared up, the second goal (which was positioned on a forklift) was raised up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 feet, and Howard made it look easy when he threw down the memorable slam.
Nate Robinson enlisted Howard's help for his show-stopper, and jumped over Howard just as Gerald Green had done to him in the 2007 event in Las Vegas. Why in the world would Howard agree to be a prop that might help his competition beat him?
"It's all about having fun," Howard said. "Hey, he won fair and square. The fans loved it. We tried to put on a good show. That's what it's all about at All-Star weekend. It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's all about having fun."
Howard seemed to know the final result before it was announced, as he was pointing to Robinson before the envelope was opened. Did he know?
"I saw it already," Howard joked. "He did a good job. I'm not mad or anything. I guess the shorter man will always win in a dunk contest, because it looks real hard for him, it looks easy for me."
In the earlier round, of course, there were other dunkers. Rudy Fernandez enlisted the help of fellow Spaniard Pau Gasol, but Gasol was really no help at all. He was attempting a difficult pass from behind the backboard, off the backboard, which Rudy was attempting to grab with one hand in the air and dunk on the other side of the rim. He ran out of time without completing it, and then nailed it on the next of his final two tries -- but it got a tepid reaction from the crowd after all the failed attempts.
J.R. Smith had power, but not much else. He went to the old gag of having another player pass it to him from the stands, which I believe was a Fred Jones joint from back in 2004. Ultimately, he couldn't score enough favor from the judges to surpass either Robinson's or Howard's first round attempts.
In the end, the night belonged to Nate Robinson. Clad in a green Knicks uniform and green shoes, his Kryptonite gimmick -- and the leap over Howard -- were enough to earn him the title. If it were up to Nate though, he'd be sharing his trophy with Dwight Howard.
"I would love to share the championship with him, cut the trophy right down the half with him for helping me with the dunk for the championship," Robinson said.