How high can the 2009 Slam Dunk contestants—J.R. Smith, Nate Robinson, Rudy Fernandez, and Dwight Howard—jump?
Truth is, it’s hard to say because it is difficult to believe any vertical jump / vertical leap data that's out there. But let’s pretend that all the vert data we find on the net is true. Here are the standing vertical leaps of the 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk contestants:
Rudy Fernandez’s vertical leap: 120 cm
What does 120 centimeters mean to you inch-lovers? Well, it converts to 47 inches. Do I believe it? Not really. (That picture feature in the link above isn't helping his case.) I mean, his draft profile said that he needed to “work on his vertical leap.” So unless he really worked on it, I’m guessing it isn’t 47 inches (note: other pre-draft sites said he had a "nice" vertical, so clearly the information is conflicting). But maybe he surprises us during the contest and and makes some "so so awesome dunks." Sort of like how he surprised Dwight Howard on this play.
J.R. Smith's vertical leap: 44 inches
He’s a very good in-game dunker, and he supposedly had a 44 inch vertical coming out of high school.
Nate Robinson’s vertical leap: 43.5 inches
This is, of course, according to wikipedia. Incidentally, he also set the Washington state record in the 110 hurdles, keeping up his trend of playing sports that most short people avoid. Nate Robinson's official height (and I believe these numbers) is only 5 feet, 7.75 inches, and his standing reach is only 7 feet, 7.5 inches. So he has to jump almost three feet just to dunk the ball in a non-fancy way.
Dwight Howard’s vertical leap: 38 - 40 inches (and a standing reach of 9'3 1/2)
Fast forward to the 2:39 mark of this video to see Baby Dwight touching 80% of the way up the backboard.
Click here for more vertical leap information, as well video of some of the dunks Dwight Howard didn't get to use in the Slam Dunk Contest last year.