There aren’t many forms of entertainment that I prefer in this world more than the art of the slam dunk. Growing up I had a fascination with dunks and dunkers which is the derivation of this blog. I hope I don’t come off as a Mr. Knowitall with this list because I honestly do believe that I know more about dunks and dunkers over the last 15 years than most people. It makes my skin crawl when announcer misname a dunk in a game or give someone a “10” for a dunk that I have done on an 8 ft. hoop since I was 16.
Now that I have vented, let’s get down to business. A lot of you will be shocked at my list and the order in particular. This list was put through a computer software program much more technologically advanced than the BCS software to produce the results. Keep in mind that this is my list and while yours may differ I have many reason as to why the players are rated accordingly. Enjoy.
10. David Lee: It was the McDonald’s All American High School Dunk Contest that first debuted David Lee on the national scene. While people are just now beginning to notice his talents, I have been watching wop on fools for almost 10 years. His best dunk of all time was in that dunk contest where he threw a one bounce self alley oop, took his shirt off revealing his glowing white epidermis (the only white guy on the list mind you), brought the ball down between his legs and finished with the reverse flush. Pure beauty.
9. Nique: Most old school fans would gasp seeing Dominique Wilkins at #9 on the list but in my opinion he wasn’t even the best dunker on his team. I feel as though his biggest flaw was his lack of creativity. But he is on the list for his authoritative dunks. He won contests with power, he was able to get fouled and finish the dunk with his power. He was a big strong dude that I believe perfected the “Tomahawk.” The “tomahawk” is a one handed dunk usually off of both feet and often off of alley oops and rebounds.
8. Andre Iguodala: He is the sleeper of the bunch but please do not underrate him. If you look at his highlights on youtube you will be astonished. He has been able to pull off both game dunks and contest dunks that most people cannot even fathom. My favorite dunk of his was a few years back in the Dunk Contest where he stood behind the basket, threw the ball off the backside of the backboard, jumped and caught the ball on the backside of the backboard, had to duck under the backboard mid-air while switch the ball to his right hand for the jam. This dunk is close to impossible. It requires the right height, the right speed on the toss, and big hands to switch the ball.
7. Dr. J.: Dr. J was the first and I think that is why sometimes classify him as the best. Not taking anything away from the Dr. but people took what he did 30 years ago and are doing it faster, harder, and with more accessories. But he did do it first and I’m going mainstream with my favorite dunk of his with the “rock the cradle.” It was the best game dunk of all time. It was flashy, from outside the lane, over a player, and completed. All dunkers can do it but it took balls to do it in a game and especially over then Laker, Michael Cooper. People still associate Michael Cooper with being the guy Dr. J rocked.
6. Spud Webb: He was the first little dude to ever do sick dunks. Dunks look so much better when done by smaller players because they have to make up for so much more length and it is all done in the air. The best dunk Spud had was in the 1986 Dunk Contest where he did a 360. But this wasn’t your average 360 it was a 360 off one foot. To demonstrate how tough this is, I want everyone step away from the computer, get a running start, jump and spin a complete 360 degrees, and if you land facing exactly where you started facing (which you probably didn’t) imagine doing it with a ball, finding the basket, and then making the dunk. That is difficult on so many levels it’s ridiculous.
5. Jordan: I know I know, booooo! Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, but not the best dunker of all time. He is known for best for his dunk from the free throw line but this dunk is actually fairly easy for most long players and lacks luster because it is more like doing a long jump instead of the high jump. It doesn’t look as cool when you’re only 8 inches off the ground. My favorite Jordan dunk was against my Knicks, where he went baseline on John Starks, faked the spin back, and then posterized both Starks and Patrick Ewing. So dirty.
4. Nate-Rob: There are few people in this world who can do what Nate-Rob can do and it is due to his uncanny athletic ability. Not only did he play basketball at U-Dub but he was also a shutdown corner and possible NFL 3rd round or higher draft pick. My favorite dunk of his he was criticized a lot for because of the multiple attempts. But if he were to complete it on the first try it easily would have been one of the top 3 dunks of all time. He started about 5 feet beyond the 3 point line, jumped, put the ball between the legs once, then twice, all while throwing the ball of the backboard in the same motion. Most people cannot even do the pass. Then he has to race to the basket, he gets there late because of fatigue but then makes up for it in vertical, and then to top it all off, he windmills it. Absolutely ridiculous. Re-diculous.
3. LeBron James: It is nothing but a shame that he hasn’t competed in a NBA Dunk Contest and that is the only reason why he is not #1 because he can simply do dunks that no one else can. He has the perfect formula for creativity, charisma, athletic ability, and power to complete dunks only done in NBA Jam. It is hard for me to even think of a favorite dunk of his but my favorite resembles many of his dunks. It was in the 2003 High School Dunk Contest, he was pretty much the same player then and only about 15 lbs lighter. At first glance it is a typical of the backboard one handed power dunk but he put a little twist on it. Instead of cocking it back like most, upon the catch he stretched his arm out to the side as to show the his air time. His head was a good six inches above the top of the rim. And I will leave it at that because I feel like a pushy Father who had a son with unbelievable skills but gave it up to play the piano.
2. Vinsanity: Please do not let VC’s recent abilities fool you for what he once was. He is reported to have maxed out with a vert of 48 inches, that is 4 feet from the ground to the bottom of his feet for you math majors. Not only is that unheard of but he coupled it with being able to do some of the most jaw-dropping dunks ever. He maybe most known for the his dunk over the Frenchman in the Olympics but mine is from when he took the 360 and the windmill and combined it for dunk that still makes me act like an old black man by jumping up out of my seat, putting my fist to my mouth, and run around yelping in a high pitched voice “oh shit son, oh shit son, oh shit son.” No one had ever thought of the dunks that he did and while they are still done today, Half Man Half Amazing (not the And 1 version) completed changed the landscape for future dunkers.
1. J-Rich: Even though J-Rich is a NBA journeyman and mediocre at best, his first few years in the league were nothing short of electric. He also completed many dunks that are being done today by lesser athletes but the thing about him is that he jumps with both feet. Most flashy dunkers jump off 1 giving them an edge. But he makes the dunks they do so much more by forgetting about running starts and momentum he just elevates. The standout for me is the baseline self-alley oop, between the legs, one handed reverse. Watch it, then watch it again for the intricacies involved. There are so many elements involved in this dunk that are harder than most that make this dunk mind bottling.