Given that he was undrafted and doesn't have much of a skill set to speak of beyond his phenomenal aerial talent (though he is shooting 51.4 percent from the floor this season and averaging a career-best 8.9 points per game), it's unclear how much longer Jones will stick in the league. Hawkins could probably be higher and honestly if you wanted to place him inside the top 10, I wouldn't begrudge you for it. For this list, we’re looking at the greatest NBA dunks of all-time! Drexler was given the nickname The Glide while at the University of Houston, and somehow, it always seemed appropriate. Vince Carter is the greatest dunker ever and honestly... it's not close. The linked dunk on Gatling is perhaps the shining example of that in recent NBA history. Blake Griffin won the dunk competition in 2011 and is one of the best dunkers in the NBA today One of the few modern-day NBA stars who relishes a good ol’ dunk, Blake Griffin was one of the most dynamic players of his generation when he burst onto the scene. Our countdown includes Vince Carter, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and more! As you can see in the above clip, Dawkins threw down his dunks with an unprecedented level of force, breaking two backboards and making many others shake throughout his tenure in the NBA. Here was a guy who could make a complicated layup look as easy as breathing, and now he's going to dunk, too? Check out the best dunks & posterizes from the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season! The Magic made the Finals in his age-23 season and were perfectly constructed around him, so their title window seemed open for the foreseeable future. The rule about no hanging on rims? His dunk over Michael Olow0kandi in 2003 is one the nastiest dunks ever seen. Critics of Shaq, both during his heyday and in hindsight, point to his lackadaisical attitude as a reason to downplay his achievements. In the inaugural competition in 1984, Nance went toe-to-toe with legend Erving, one of the top five greatest dunkers to ever grace the game. Isaiah Rider, Steve Francis, DeMar DeRozan, Nate Robinson, Desmond Mason, Gerald Green, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr, Cedric Ceballos, Kenny Walker, Terrence Ross, J.R. Smith, George Gervin and Wilt Chamberlain. Unless you're literally dunking OVER someone on said fastbreak. Share. Orlando Magic Shaq running the floor and dunking in transition was truly a sight to behold. But again... we're not here to talk about dunk contests! Let's hope Westbrook continues to snarl his way to the hole for years to come. There are 10-minute reels of his best in-game dunks with the Raptors and Nets. But make no mistake, when it comes to power dunking, Kemp reigns as one of the best to ever do it. Even this. Vince Carter is the single best dunk contest participant in the event’s history. That's why, on his most famous dunk, Pippen tried to shove Ewing and stood over him for a moment. It's there! Granted, LeBron would soon surpass Tracy McGrady in just about every way, but the point remains. How do you compare the vicious power dunkers with the acrobatic aerial wizards? During his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron was arguably the greatest athlete in NBA history. 10 dunk on this clip might be No. The New York Knicks were at the mercy of the Bulls, and though that particular matchup carried significant animosity, Pippen and the Bulls also metaphorically dunked on every one of the other 28 teams. We review the best dunks we have seen throughout week 7 in the best basketball league in the world. All rights reserved. When not fluttering like a helicopter, Jones Jr. just kind of … If you don't think Francis is an all-time dunker, watch the slam on Jahidi White or his off-balance jam on Quentin Richardson, and you will then. Tomahawks in traffic. Of course, that window closed quickly for myriad reasons, but Howard's peak remains among the most exciting and groundbreaking periods for a star in recent history. If I'm being completely honest, after watching scores of YouTube videos in an effort to finalize this list, there were several snubs from recent years that are unequivocally better dunkers than many who made the cut from past generations. Tokyvideo Trends 6.1k 25:00. Let us know in the comments! Subscribe to our new sports channe The WaterBoys Podcastl! Additionally, much like O'Neal before him and, Of course, that window closed quickly for myriad reasons, but Howard's peak remains among the most exciting and groundbreaking periods for a star in recent history. It would be annoying if Carter bragged or was wide-eyed about his dunking prowess, though nobody would blame him—we're all in awe too. Want to get lost in a sea on 'Nique highlights? There's a reason why the Dallas Mavericks shut him down in the 2011 NBA Finals: They tried everything to prevent him from reaching the paint. There's not much to say about Michael Jordan that either hasn't already been said or presumably won't be covered in the upcoming 10-part ESPN documentary. The entire top 25. Game-winning putbacks at the buzzer. So apologies to the Slam Dunk artists, if you weren't throwing down spectacularly in games, this isn't the list for you. Jones' placement here is a nod to those dunk-first players—because he's so darn good at it. The dunks spoke for themselves, and the lack of response from the GOAT signaled that he was laser-focused on destruction. Nance gets in out of respect. After the UCLA alum tore his ACL, one of the main concerns was whether he'd recover his athleticism. There's a reason All-Star Weekend's Slam Dunk Contest has been the last and most-hyped competition on Saturday night for as long as it's existed. Here's a look back back through the years at some of his best dunks from every year up until joining the Los Angeles Lakers. But there's no question he was one of the best dunkers in history. Durant would use his once-in-a-generation scoring talent to make the Oklahoma City Thunder competitive, and Westbrook's ferocity and explosiveness would put teams away in equal measure. Epic SLAM DUNKS in contest. If anybody else did these three dunks in one game, it would be talked about for weeks, but for Griffin, it was just another day at the office. NCAA Tournament 2012: BEST DUNKS 1. View later. However, that only makes his portfolio of dunks even more impressive. Who is YOUR favorite NBA player? Example Dunk: Giving Larry Bird an Existential Crisis. It's a simple question yet one fraught with complexity. When Francis jumped to dunk, it seemed like he was always attempting an impossible task. We'll never see a player (or a dunker) like him again. Pippen consistently humiliated opponents at the rim, and he posterized an unparalleled collection of stars, including Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Alonzo Mourning and Manute Bol. You always knew he was just having fun playing the game he loved and wanted others to share in that love. He has won two dunk contests, but one is widely considered fraudulent. While he, of course, was not even close to Jordan on a talent basis, Drexler was nevertheless spectacular, especially in the air. Dunking is an art. One of the most underrated players of the 21st century, Jason Richardson burst onto the scene as a dynamic athlete, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan to win back-to-back dunk contests. It's impossible to separate Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine who are the peanut butter and jelly of the dunking conversation. THEREBOUNDKING 430 View later. In November, he threw down a. over a million dollars yearly on his body, but at a certain point, he's also a little lucky. If you started following the NBA in the back half of the 2010s, you likely know Blake Griffin primarily as a floor-spacing, ball-handling big man. Of course, it's silly to say that Bryant, who won the Slam Dunk Contest in his rookie year, was an unheralded dunker. If we celebrate LeBron James and Russell Westbrook for continuing to remain superathletes as they age, we owe Drexler the same retroactive appreciation. You could argue that given Jordan's competitiveness, his general approach to basketball was malicious, but it especially extends to his aerial activities. This dunk contest has been revered by some as the best dunk contest ever, so the fact that it comes in at third on this list shows just how great numbers two and one are. 0 of 6. Example Dunk: Messing Around and Ending Alex Len's Whole Career. We've also attached a video of each player's most exemplary in-game dunk to illustrate their prowess in the art of the slam. With the pandemic ending the season prematurely for the bottom eight NBA teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, that means Carter won’t be […] Vince Carter's best dunks ever, ranked from seven to one But standing out in a crowd and shepherding in a new wave as a pioneer matters even if in today's game it wouldn't come close to resonating as much. There are entire documentaries about him jumping over Frederic Weis at the Olympics. But with the omnipresence of YouTube and Twitter, Francis' resume as an electric dunker should be common knowledge among fans young and old. He's averaging over 25 points per game this season yet is not considered a star. Is the 2020 Slam Dunk champion Derrick Jones Jr. might be the most unassuming great in-game dunker in NBA history. Just because we don't typically think of LeBron James as an all-time dunker - in part because he's famously never done the dunk contest - doesn't mean he isn't one of the best to ever do it. Regardless, all of these dunks are perfect examples of the best parts of basketball. It doesn't seem impressive at game speed, but slow motion reveals Drexler starts jumping before the hoop is even in the frame. LaVine looks unbothered in the face of a 7-footer and never even seems to consider the possibility he might get stuffed. Long before his son dunked on Brook Lopez for the LA Lakers, Larry Sr. put on the original dunk show. In 2018, the NBA posted a YouTube video of Carter ranking his 10 best dunks, and it is a fascinating five minutes. So yeah... if you want to move him higher, by all means be my guest. 13:45. There's a reason why the Dallas Mavericks shut him down in the 2011 NBA Finals: They, In the ensuing near decade, LeBron's dealt with minor injuries and major minutes, yet he remains one of the league's premiere dunkers. But the way he's so casual about these breathtaking feats of athleticism is chilling. But it would be a dereliction of duty to not mention him. But what made him so special was his unique physique. McGrady famously had trouble achieving playoff success with the Magic, but every time he'd fight through three defenders and posterize a big man or brilliantly speed past a wing en route to a breakaway dunk, everything seemed possible. Want more sports? for 10 years. Terrence Jones, Kentucky NCAA best dunk 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 4. New week and new plays in the NBA. Of course, the dunks themselves were always spectacular too. It's impossible to mention the first generation of high flyers without mentioning Thompson, who would have gone down as perhaps the greatest dunker in college basketball history had he not played during the time when dunking was outlawed. Translating your skills as a dunker in space, where mistakes are allowed, to a dunker in a team context, where those mistakes can add up, is difficult, and only the best of the best can be elite in-game dunkers. Basketball Reference says Steve Francis is 6'3", but you can really tell how tall somebody is when you see them in the air, and there is no way Stevie Franchise is any bigger than 6'1". And I'll admit, the only reason he's not two spots higher is out of respect for two legends from the 70s and 80s that simply mean more to the art of the dunk. Theoretically, a torn meniscus and several offseason knee procedures should have taken their toll on the 31-year-old's explosiveness, but if you've watched the Houston Rockets this season, you know he's as good as ever. Erving was one of the league's first above-the-rim stars, and he paved the way for Michael, Dominique, LeBron and so many others to feel comfortable showcasing their hops in live action. It's a shame that Michael Jordan neutralized Clyde Drexler's career as a star with the Shrug Game. He remembers each dunk and breaks down his thought process, revealing a player who's supremely confident in his game-breaking athleticism, almost to the point of fearing it. While D-Rose has some A+ dunks, he never came close to regularly inviting and attacking like Westbrook. You can pooh-pooh Bradley's lack of athleticism or Wallace's not directly blocking Richardson's path on that particular play, but the fact is, plays such as those are incredibly difficult to pull off. His head regularly went above the rim on dunks, and he threw down consistently violent slams both in space and in traffic. 8) Is the player’s best asset his athleticism and leaping ability? In recent years, there's been a groundswell of support for the idea that Shaquille O'Neal is underrated. Dwyane Wade will rightly be remembered for incredible clutch moments and a mastery of mid-range and at-rim finishing, but it would be wrong to discuss his play without talking about the dunks. In the 1970s, the dunk held a strange place in competitive basketball. Without question the most famous play of Kemp's career is the vicious dunk and point over Lister during a 1992 playoff game between the Seattle SuperSonics and Golden State Warriors. At his peak, Howard's deity-esque physique combined with guard-like explosiveness made him virtually unstoppable. "When you throw one down, especially over a bigger man, you get a psychological advantage," Thompson recalled in an old story for ESPN's Page 2. And none of that even includes his performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk contest, which - again - we're not even considering for the purposes of this exercise. I'll wait. Here's 10 minutes of him dunking. In fact, he won the first NBA Dunk Contest. He got his start in the fun-loving ABA, which showed basketball could be looser and more aesthetically interesting than the staid Knicks or Boston Celtics would have you think. The dunk is one of the most impressive plays in sports. He has won two dunk contests, but one is widely considered, Look at that dunk above. Click through this slideshow for a look at the 70 greatest dunkers in NBA history. Two of his most famous slams came against the 7'6" Shawn Bradley and on a reverse baseline jam on defensive legend Ben Wallace. If Darryl Dawkins made people fear the dunk, then Julius Erving made people gape at it. He's averaging over 25 points per game this season yet is not considered a star. After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's overwhelming dominance at UCLA, the NCAA. He, along with David Thompson and Julius Erving, helped fans and other players realize that the dunk is one of the most exciting ways to score two points, though only Shaquille O'Neal would ever come close to breaking a backboard again. Afterward, he shrugs and says, "It was just all instinct that took over.". "When you can dunk on somebody, on somebody's head, those are the ones you like.". It's a shame that Michael Jordan neutralized Clyde Drexler's career as a star with the. Whenever people dismiss him as a Hall of Famer, you need only show them highlights of his Orlando Magic years. Kemp is part of a trio of power dunkers. Shaq locked in when necessary, and when he did, there was no tougher cover. Zach LaVine's reputation is in a strangely negative place. Dawkins is clearly one of the least accomplished players named, but this list wouldn't exist without his contributions. But you know the rules. Nique never cared who was in his way—just that if you stood between him and the basket, you'd be hurting in the morning (physically or psychologically). More than any other player on this list, Jordan understood dunks as an act of malice. It's now well known that LeBron spends over a million dollars yearly on his body, but at a certain point, he's also a little lucky. MORE: Ranking the best Vince and MJ dunks. This all changed when Dawkins achieved prominence. The more cavalier his attitude, the more vicious the dunk, and the greater the humiliation. Some more truth serum? Even this in-traffic slam over Jonas Valanciunas, casual as it may seem, started way closer to the free-throw line than it seemed on first viewing. Nowadays, Russell Westbrook is often criticized for his erratic style of play, but when he came on the scene in 2008, his athleticism was a sight to behold. The man was a master of nearly every facet of basketball, and that includes the dunk. King James' reign over the NBA will eventually end. At one point, Carter says he didn't know where Jason Kidd would throw the ball on a particular play but that he'd figure it out mid-air. Top10Dunks is all about bringing great content on the latest NBA highlights, latest stories, live updates, cool videos and much MORE!! Thankfully for LaVine's longevity as an NBA player, he returned to the court in a year and has since improved as a scorer and ball-handler, and thankfully for fans, he has also regained his effortless bounce. In addition, the dunk was called the "stuff shot" and was almost never performed with any sort of flash or ceremony. Questions about his skill level aside, we can at least agree that LaVine is a master dunker. He did it all. And to be clear... this is no exhibition. Facials on centres. During his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron was arguably the greatest athlete in NBA history. But perhaps that was all part of his grander plan too. He's a sneaky candidate for the Mt. But Vince Carter is the best in-game dunker ever, and it's not close. For these NBA players, dunking is an art form. Top 10 Greatest NBA Dunks Ever – Watch Mojo. Example Dunk: The Baptism of Dwight Howard. It also seems ludicrous to leave out Chamberlain, though for as powerful and athletic as he was - especially compared to his contemporaries - he was actually more well known for his deft touch and endless array of flip shots, lay ins and floaters. Though he didn't say it outright, it seems he's still somewhat mystified by his gifts, too. The aforementioned windmills in traffic. Wilkins burst onto the dunking scene with a shocking win at the stacked 1985 Slam Dunk Contest, defeating Jordan, Julius Erving, Larry Nance, Clyde Drexler and Darrell Griffith. The possibility and thrill of watching a dunk that seems to defy the laws of physics is ever present. Many … Put Derrick Jones Jr. in the 1970s and your 70-year-old Grandfather would still be raving about his otherworldly dunking ability. LaVine looks unbothered in the face of a 7-footer and never even seems to consider the possibility he might get stuffed. Rushmore of perimeter dunkers. Baron Davis and Harold Miner are my two favourite "little" dunkers ever. I belong to the Church of Dunking Showmanship. The team failed to reach its championship potential, but those Lob City highlights are a sufficient consolation prize. Fact of the matter is that he sometimes makes it look so effortless that we take for granted just how high he jumps and how hard he throws it down. Two of his most famous slams came against the 7'6" Shawn Bradley and on a reverse baseline jam on defensive legend Ben Wallace. Erving was almost born to be the Father of the Dunk. And while Griffin made the All-NBA third team last year and remains a star when healthy, he was a phenomenon in his younger years. over Jonas Valanciunas, casual as it may seem, started way closer to the free-throw line than it seemed on first viewing. In November, he threw down a dunk of the year candidate on Nemanja Bjelica, and he put home a similarly awe-inspiring finish on Jusuf Nurkic in 2018. In large part, it was because of his, There's something about Wade's particular flair when finishing a dunk that got people even more excited. Kobe wouldn't forgive, though. Carter played an integral role in reinjecting excitement back into the NBA in the immediate aftermath of Michael Jordan's second retirement with the Chicago Bulls. He's not the best in-game dunker ever, but he's the most important one. Now, maybe that's a dig at Len specifically, but how many people in the world can do a 360 this casually? He may not only have performed arguably one of the best NBA Slam Dunk Contests in nba history, but he is also known to be one of the greatest in-game dunkers in the NBA. 223 talking about this. If you're going to complain about why someone should be in, you have to take someone out. However, the degree of difficulty multiplies exponentially when comparing an open gym to the intensity of a live NBA game. If we celebrate LeBron James and Russell Westbrook for continuing to remain superathletes as they age, we owe Drexler the same retroactive appreciation. A collection of injuries sapped McGrady's explosiveness, and he was past his prime before the age of 30. The four hardest for me here were Rider, Francis, Green and Howard who all did it differently. Quincy Acy, Baylor NCAA best dunk 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 NCAA Tournament… In addition to being a versatile offensive player and one of the best perimeter defenders ever, Scottie Pippen had another particularly special talent: dunking. Only gluttons for punishment would endeavor to rank the NBA's best dunks of the 2019-20 season (so far)(we hope). For constantly balancing the joyful with the ferocious, Wade lands on this illustrious list. Unlike many players on this list or otherwise, The Glide remained both productive and limber. His dunking ability helped the NBA move on from MJ and into a world in which a new wave of fans often consume popcorn highlights instead of entire games. In that vein, Wade earned extra points for the now-iconic, Messing Around and Ending Alex Len's Whole Career, Zach LaVine's reputation is in a strangely negative place. Some of the best dunking power forwards are all about power and tenacity. His opponents had lost before they even knew it. The man nicknamed Airplane Mode is either actively trying to make dunks more difficult or doesn't even realize how far and high he's jumping. Example Dunk: The Most Disrespectful Dunk in NBA History. From here on out, there are legitimate cases to be made for each to be number one. It's a memento of a superteam that knew it was super, but it's also a picture of a young man being excited as his friend made an awesome play. Nobody - and I mean NOBODY - throws down a tomahawk quite like LeBron. And who knows, if Wilkins walked away with the 1988 Slam Dunk title instead of Jordan, perhaps the Hall of Famer is remembered even more fondly than he already is. Here, we've put together the definitive list of the top 20 in-game dunkers of all time, which is sure to cause no debate at all. Zion. No player of his era enjoyed putting people on posters as much as Kemp, who seemingly enjoyed contact and would routinely partake in above the rim demolition derbies with wannabe shot blockers. But say that in front of most Seattle SuperSonics fans, and they'll set you straight. You always knew he was just having fun playing the game he loved and wanted others to share in that love. He should be way higher than he is, but for now the rook can be happy to simply crack the list. Unlike many players on this list or otherwise, The Glide remained both productive and limber until his retirement, winning that elusive title in 1994-95 with the Rockets. Implemented because of Dawkins. The first-ever dunk contest in the ABA featured Thompson and Julius Erving (along with George Gervin, Artis Gilmore and Larry Kenon). Based solely on reliving the best of the best through YouTube, it's hard to fathom five better in-game dunkers than Griffin, who at times appeared as if his entire existence was for the sole purpose of dunking anything and everything. Here was a guy who could make a, Interestingly enough, there's not much footage of Jordan showboating after a dunk, something that would make sense given his uber-sensitivity to. History matters. I defy anyone to present a more perfect nickname that encapsulates the entirety of a player's persona. Dominique Wilkins had an unfulfilled NBA career. The first preps to pros player, Dawkins was truly ahead of his time as a showman of the highest order. As we prepare for the latest iteration of the Slam Dunk Contest, let's take a look back in the annals at some of the best dunks we've ever seen during … Erving - like Wilt Chamberlain or Stephen Curry - simply played unlike anyone that came before him and it's impossible to overstate what his dunking represented for the evolution of the league. His head regularly went above the rim on dunks, and he threw down consistently violent slams both in space and in traffic. When he rose up, the game would momentarily turn into streetball, especially in Miami. He had a reported 43-inch vertical, which is among the best ever recorded, but in the air, it often looked like he was jumping even higher, almost resembling Calvin Cambridge from Like Mike. If you ever saw Vince Carter running towards you in an attempt to dunk on you, just don’t even try to stop it, honestly just run away. When Richardson dunked, he dunked. You can probably guess who's No. Everyone remembers the dunk over Timofey Mozgov and it's spectacular. Griffin became famous by jumping over a Kia in the Slam Dunk Contest, but he was an absolutely vicious in-game dunker as well. However, the well-earned celebration of Kobe's IQ and work ethic comes at the expense of remembering just how explosive a dunker he was in his prime. When Francis jumped to dunk, it seemed like he was always attempting an impossible task. This may seem biased toward more recent players, but we tried to make it as balanced as possible given that the dunk only achieved its popularity in the last 40 years. Interestingly enough, there's not much footage of Jordan showboating after a dunk, something that would make sense given his uber-sensitivity to even the smallest slights. His talent was obvious from day one, and it remained so in the NBA. Purists and cynics will look at the slam above, one of the most famous plays in history, and call a travel on Dr. J. In addition, the dunk was called the "stuff shot" and was almost never performed with any sort of flash or ceremony. View later. While he was a blistering, furious scorer on. "The If-You-Ain't-Groovin', Best-Get-Movin', Chocolate-Thunder-Flyin', Robinzine-Cryin', Teeth-Shakin', Glass-Breakin', Rump-Roastin', Bun-Toastin', Glass-Still Flyin', Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam.". Shawn Kemp has become a figure of ignominy in the eyes of many since he retired. After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's overwhelming dominance at UCLA, the NCAA banned dunks for 10 years. Although he didn't quite reach the same level of power dunking as either Carter or Wilkins, MJ seemed to hang in a manner that made time stand still and might be the best double clutch dunker ever for his ability to move the ball in the air and around defenders. However, while Shaq was, There were players as big as Shaq, and there were players as quick as Shaq, but nobody was as big, as quick as Superman. As you can tell, a lot of big names were also incredible dunkers. While he was a blistering, furious scorer on terra firma, Drexler was always much more graceful when flying through space. Dominique was one of the most revolutionary dunkers the NBA has seen, but most of his best dunks came in games, not in contests. Several minutes later, he says he improvised a windmill slam on 7-footer Michael Olowokandi. Wilkins always added in a little extra flair even when entirely unnecessary. Therefore, it hasn't taken him long to enter the conversation of the greatest dunkers in NBA history. It's about putting on a show and so yes... emotion, tenacity, anticipation... all of that matters! While Russ and Kevin Durant may not have had the best working relationship, watching the two of them together, especially in their younger days, was mind-blowing. Advertising. The NBA is currently as athletic as it has ever been, meaning fans have been blessed with a variety of highlight slam dunks during the 2018-19 season. The dunk linked above? While he, of course, was not even close to Jordan on a talent basis, Drexler was nevertheless spectacular, especially in the air. For the record, that play was within the rules, but quibbling over it also obscures the point. No one could ever stop a Vince Carter dunk. 360s with ease on fastbreaks. He'd lull opponents into a (relatively) calm state by staying in his comfortable mid-range spots or slicing his way to the rim. Nearly every single one of them is delivered with a unique intensity, and it's a wonder he's never been seriously injured during a throwdown given that wicked combination of explosiveness and passion. Richardson brought an element of excitement to two of his era's most exciting teams, first as a member of the 'We Believe' Warriors and then alongside Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire with the Phoenix Suns.