They sat in a row, organized by height so the tallest — Yao Ming — was in the center and the smallest were on the edges.

Small is a relative term, though, for the slam dunk judging panel that included figurative giants from the Rockets’ past: Yao Ming, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Dikembe Mutombo and coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

“The contest was great,” Mutombo said. “I enjoyed it. I’m glad they brought back the old format and they gave the fans the opportunity to decide who was the best. It was great.”

The early rounds of the contest featured several misses by the contestants, though the finished product often was thrilling.

“It’s disappointing when there’s the misses,” Tomjanovich said. “I wish they could do it somewhere else and we just saw the end product, you know. I think guys have got to get their buddy or their teammate to sort of, because there’s a lot of pressure and you’re thinking about making it, and maybe somebody could say ‘Hey, maybe we should go to Plan B.’ These guys could dunk the ball a lot of different ways.”