The NBA Slam Dunk Contest takes place Saturday night in Houston. Although tight end Jimmy Graham is the most famous New Orleans Saints dunker, former defensive back Curtis Deloatch executed the most memorable dunk in team history.
On Sept. 25, 2006, during the Saints' first game in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina, Deloatch recovered safety Steve Gleason's memorable blocked punt and returned it for a touchdown, capped off by a thunderous dunk over the goalpost that set off arguably the loudest cheer in the facility's then 31-year history.
Speaking at the Team Gleason vs. Wounded Warrior Amputees Super Bowl Challenge at Newman High School last month, Deloatch reflected on the historic play.
"If it wasn't for Steve, my name wouldn't be carved in history," said Deloatch. "Thinking back on that night, it was one of the most electrifying events I have ever been a part of. Everywhere I go, people remember that one play. If I am remembered for just that one play for the rest of my life, you can't be mad at that."
As Gleason once helped Deloatch make an impact, Deloatch is returning the favor in supporting Gleason's fight against ALS.
"Steve is a good friend of mine and I haven't seen him in a while," said Deloatch. "I understand what is at stake and I just wanted to come here and be here for Steve. What he is doing now, is more important than anything we did on the field."
Deloatch says the Saints will always have a special place in his heart and that he tries to catch as many games as he can.
"Anytime I come in town or travel to another city to see them play I do," said Deloatch. "I still stay in touch with some of the guys and I will always root for the Black and Gold."
There is one current member of the Black and Gold that Deloatch has a message for.
"Next time you see Jimmy Graham tell him I am the one who initiated that dunk in the Dome," joked Deloatch. "I am a fan of Jimmy Graham but let's not forget the difference is I am only 6-3 and he is like 6-7. So it's easier for him."