Today, we were tasked with choosing the greatest Dunkers in NBA history. After looking at the clip of each dunk, we looked up the player’s statistics. We then examined the video again, and chose the dunk that we thought was most impressive. We also looked at who the dunk was most impressive of, and ranked them accordingly. Check out the results of our research, and see if any of those top contenders made the final cut.
Jordan’s Airness is the only player to have two slam dunk contests win the NBA slam dunk championship (1984 and 1988), and was the first player to dunk over 50 times in a season. However, the record for most dunks in a game was set in 2009, by LeBron James. The dunker who jump the highest, and dunk the ball the farthest in a game, is still debated by the basketball community, but we do know that the two Dunk Contest winners are in the discussion.
In the nearly 20 years Michael Jordan has been playing professional basketball, he’s taken the game’s dunk contests to new heights. From an unprecedented 12-foot tomahawk dunk in the dunk contest in the 1991 All-Star game to his iconic “Space Jam” dunk in 1995’s contest, Jordan has become a dunking legend. These days, he’s the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, and he’s still going to dunk contests.. Read more about jazz 76ers game and let us know what you think.
A dunk is only worth two points, but the world’s greatest dunkers always find a way to make it seem like more.
Players from generations past and present have left an indelible imprint on the game with their ability to finish at the rim, from iconic in-game slams to legendary posterizations to you-had-to-be-there dunk contest heroics.
But who is the most successful player in each franchise? We asked our panel of NBA experts to vote for the most famous dunker for each club, with the slam dunk contest scheduled for halftime of Sunday’s All-Star Game this season. Let the discussion begin.
Note: In-game dunks, participation in the slam dunk contest, creativity, and trademark moments were among the criteria utilized to identify legendary dunkers for each team.
At the 1988 NBA slam dunk contest in Chicago, Michael Jordan recovered his crown by edging Dominique Wilkins in a battle for the ages.
Wilkins’ double-handed windmill in the 1988 dunk contest finals, which he lost (controversially? dubiously? Nique’s most famous dunk (according to Hawks fans) to Michael Jordan may be his most well-known dunk, but his most lethal weapons was unleashed in live games. Wilkins’ trademark double pump while leaping off two feet amid the trees was a wonder of body control, and few could deliver an explosive dunk in traffic like him. Is this the real deal? He gussied up the double pump with the reverse when he gained a running start. Kevin Arnovitz, Ph.D.
Spud Webb received 4.2 percent of the vote.
Getty Images/Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE
Brown’s win against another famous dunker, Shawn Kemp, in the 1991 dunk contest became legendary for two reasons: Brown “pumping up” his Reeboks and his no-look last smash to seal the deal. Brown had a respectable but unspectacular NBA career with the Celtics, Raptors, and Magic, but his dunk contest performance as a rookie in 1991 will guarantee his place in NBA history. Tim Bontemps is a writer.
Gerald Green was among those who received votes. 30.2%
Vince Carter continued to slam the ball down with more unbelievable and head-shaking dunks. Kenyon Martin has the most power dunks on the Net. And Jason Kidd gave Richard Jefferson his fair share of high-flying alley-oops. Despite only playing with the Nets for three ABA seasons, Erving was a legend. Dr. J’s style, flair, and originality were revolutionary, inspiring a new generation of dunkers. — Youngmisuk Ohm
Vince Carter received 12.5 percent of the vote, Richard Jefferson 4.2 percent, and Kenyon Martin 4.2 percent.
When it came to putting down devastating dunks early in his career, Johnson was the guy. Johnson was a walking highlight during his early days with the Hornets, until a back injury robbed him of some of his high-flying skills. Coming down the path, Johnson, who stood 6-foot-6 and weighed 250 pounds, was a terrifying sight — much worse if he was dressed as Grandma. Lopez, Andrew
Others that received votes were Baron Davis (16.7%) and Jason Richardson (12.5%).
His Airness was one of just three players to earn 100% of a team’s total votes, which is understandable. Jordan always rose to the occasion, whether it was in a game or a dunk contest. In the 1988 dunk contest, MJ’s most famous dunk occurred when he took off from just inside the free throw line to win a perfect score in front of a boisterous Chicago Stadium. The times he would stand up to posterize big guys like Dikembe Mutombo and Patrick Ewing are also notable. Because of his flair, grace, and strength in the air, he is the gold standard in this area. Nick Friedell’s remark
None of the others received votes.
It’s difficult to find a category in Cavaliers history that LeBron doesn’t own. His “no regard for human life” dunk on Kevin Garnett in the 2008 finals and the Jusuf Nurkic poster in Portland in 2018 are arguably the two most spectacular dunks in Cavs history. We wondered what LeBron might accomplish on All-Star Saturday night after his continuous teasing of participation in the slam dunk contest, but his trademark tomahawk dunks and a lengthy line of posters made up for it. Brian Windhorst (Brian Windhorst)
Larry Nance received 20.8 percent of the vote, while Ricky Davis received 8.3 percent.
When Finley was a member of the Mavericks in 1997, he had one of the craziest dunk tries ever seen in a dunk contest. He performed a (very awful) cartwheel after tossing himself a lob off the floor and missed the two-hand jam, amusing both the audience and himself. Finley, who finished second in the competition as a rookie with the Suns the year before, has a highlight tape consisting of vicious dunks over big guys, usually one-handed tomahawks after two-foot takeoffs in traffic. Tim MacMahon (Tim MacMahon)
Others that received votes were Josh Howard (12.5%) and Dennis Smith Jr. (12.5%).
Thompson’s most notable achievement was popularizing the alley-oop while in college, at a time when dunking was prohibited by the NCAA. His greatest dunk achievement, though, is that he was the one who inspired Michael Jordan. Jordan looked up to the former NC State star as a kid growing up in Wilmington. The high-flying guard was a showman once he arrived in Denver. Over the course of seven seasons in Denver, he caught a lot of bodies, soaring in for dunks over bigger opponents and, of course, tossing down alley-oops. — Youngmisuk Ohm
JR Smith received 16.7% of the vote, Antonio McDyess 8.3%, and Robert Pack 4.2 percent.
NBAE/Getty Images/Sam Forencich
Barry Sanders and Hill were the two biggest names in Detroit in the 1990s. While Sanders was crossing up opponents on the football field, “G-Money” was crossing up great defenders like Scottie Pippen in his trademark Filas to execute brutal two-handed jams. Hill’s most egregious dunk was in Miami, when he crossed over Dan Majerle and drove to the basket to finish over Alonzo Mourning. Hill’s tenure in Detroit hasn’t yet earned him a place in the rafters, but his reputation as the greatest dunker in club history is undisputed. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Darvin Ham received 34.8 percent of the vote, while Jerry Stackhouse received 17.4 percent.
The “We Believe” Golden State Warriors’ Baron Davis dunk against Andre Kirilenko is the best in club history. Richardson, on the other hand, is the best dunker in club history. As a member of the Warriors, “J-Rich” won two NBA slam dunk titles, making him the first player in club history to do so. During his six-year stint with the Warriors, Richardson was one of the few reasons Warriors supporters felt they received their money’s value. Spears, Marc
Others that received votes were Baron Davis (12.5%), Latrell Sprewell (4.2%), and Chris Webber (4.2%).
NBAE/Getty Images/Garrett Ellwood
You may not remember Francis’ performance as the runner-up in Vince Carter’s famous dunk contest, but he put on a nice show that night as well. Stevie Franchise had a 40-inch vertical and a lot of style, and his dunking resume barely edges out T-as Mac’s the greatest Rocket dunker of all time. The three-time All-Star was a merciless rim attacker off the dribble, but alley-oop dunks, which are uncommon for a 6-3 guard, were among his greatest in-game dunks. Tim MacMahon (Tim MacMahon)
Tracy McGrady received 40% of the vote, while Clyde Drexler received 12%.
George’s dunk contest performances are criminally underappreciated (don’t sleep on his reverse through-the-legs slam in 2014), but the Birdman poster cements his status as the Pacers’ all-time dunker. Under 10 seconds remain in the third quarter in a two-point game in Game 2 of the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. George out-dribbles LeBron, and to say he destroyed Chris Andersen is an understatement. He transported Andersen to an other world. Royce Young Royce Young
Victor Oladipo received 37.5 percent of the vote, Fred Jones 12.5 percent, and Glenn Robinson III 4.2 percent.
Sorry, DeAndre Jordan, but “Lob City” would not exist without Griffin. Griffin terrified rims and opponents with his power and agility for 712 seasons with the Lakers. Griffin was on highlight programs every night, either with his newest poster victim or a spectacular alley-oop finish. Not only were large guys vulnerable to the paint, but automobiles were as well, as demonstrated by his winning jam in the 2011 slam dunk competition. — Youngmisuk Ohm
Brent Barry (4%), DeAndre Jordan (4%), and Darius Miles (4%) were among those that received votes.
Bryant’s dunking reputation as one of the best started the moment he grabbed Ben Wallace’s soul, taking off just inside the foul line to dunk over a future all-world defender in a 1997 preseason game. Sure, he won the slam dunk competition with an Isaiah “J.R.” Rider-inspired between-the-legs dunk, but his greatest dunks came when it meant the most. Steve Nash and Emeka Okafor’s playoff posters. Latrell Sprewell at the Mecca and Kevin Garnett at the Target Center eluded the baseline reverse jams. Dwight Howard was baptized by him. And the beautiful footwork, inventiveness, and command he displayed against Denver while collecting a full-court outlet pass and placing the ball behind his back while corkscrewing his body to unleash a 180 slam may have been his finest. He’s a dunking legend. — McMenamin, Dave
Shaquille O’Neal received 28% of the vote, while Eddie Jones received 4%.
The most memorable moment for Ja Morant may have been a missed dunk after jumping over 6-10. “Ja nearly ended my professional career with this dunk,” Kevin Love joked on Twitter. Morant has previously dunked on a number of big men, including former Suns center Aron Baynes, who was the recipient of a devastating off-the-dribble tomahawk dagger in a tight game. Morant, who is just in his second season, has a rare mix of explosiveness and recklessness, making him the league’s most exciting pound-for-pound dunker. Tim MacMahon (Tim MacMahon)
Rudy Gay received 25% of the vote, while Stromile Swift received 25%.
NBAE/Getty Images/Andrew D. Bernstein
Miner was named the Heat’s greatest dunker mostly as a result of his dominance in two slam dunk contests. Miner, dubbed “Baby Jordan,” utilized his remarkable jumping ability and strength to defeat Cedric Ceballos, the 1993 reigning champion, and Isaiah “J.R.” Rider, the 1995 defending champion. His trademark dunk, a reverse double pump dunk, became a go-to technique for the competition’s future dunkers. Miner only played in the NBA for four seasons, but his in-game dunks, including a putback slam over Hakeem Olajuwon, are worthy of a highlight clip. — Sedano, Jorge
Dwyane Wade received 29.2 percent of the vote, LeBron James 25 percent, and Derrick Jones, Jr. 8.3 percent.
Antetokounmpo is at his finest when he’s going downhill, Eurostepping his way past opponents to unleash a massive jam, which he finishes with his trademark nasty mug. Dunking isn’t so much an art form as it is a reminder of how dominating and powerful the two-time MVP can be against his opponents. Sure, the Bucks have had rim rockers like Desmond Mason and Ray Allen in the past, but none quite like Antetokounmpo. One poster dunk at a time, he personifies the team’s “Fear the Deer” motto. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Desmond Mason (36%), Ray Allen (8%), and others received votes.
LaVine, a two-time slam dunk champion, has worked hard to prove that he’s more than a dunker, earning his first All-Star selection in his eighth season. LaVine’s run in the dunk contest, on the other hand, is probably the best in NBA history. In 2016, his slam dunk contest matchup with Aaron Gordon was reminiscent of Jordan vs. Wilkins in 1988. When your name can go down in dunk contest history with Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and Julius Erving, you’ve accomplished something remarkable. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Isaiah Rider received 25% of the vote, Kevin Garnett 12.5 percent, and Gerald Green 4.2 percent.
If you ask this question again at the conclusion of the season, Zion Williamson will almost certainly be the answer. However, B-Diddy now retains the dunk title in the Big Easy by a razor-thin margin. Davis put on a show in the 2001 slam dunk competition with his tribute to Harold Miner and a comical display of dunk genius with a headband covering his eyes on a failed slam, despite some of his most famous smashes coming in other outfits. It’s worth noting that Davis accomplished all of this despite injuring his ACL at UCLA in 1998. While in Westwood, do yourself a favor and check out his dunks. Lopez, Andrew
Others who received votes were Zion Williamson (28%), JR Smith (16%), and Anthony Davis (16%).
AFP/Getty Images/JEWEL SAMAD
Kenny Walker and Nate Robinson have 37.5 percent ownership of the New York Knicks (tie)
“Sky” Walker was the slam dunk champion in 1989, succeeding back-to-back winner Michael Jordan. He was known for his power dunks, high-top fade, and gold chains. Robinson, on the other hand, wins this tiebreaker for me since he is the first three-time dunk champion — and he did it while standing 5-9. Only Robinson can brag of dunking over previous dunk champions 5-7 Spud Webb and 6-10 Dwight Howard, despite the fact that they both competed in the dunk competitions. Robinson’s proclivity for putback dunks at Madison Square Garden also earned him a spot in SportsCenter’s Top 10. — Youngmisuk Ohm
Patrick Ewing (16.7%) and John Starks (8.3%) also received votes.
Getty Images/Harry How
Westbrook attempted to compete in the dunk contest, but he was disqualified. He was just turned down by the crowd. In the 2009 All-Star Game, he was part of a vote that gave Rudy Fernandez the nod. Since then, one of the best players in NBA history has refused to compete in dunk contests because it no longer aligns with his philosophy: “I only dunk on people,” he stated in 2015. A valid argument, since if you search YouTube for “Russell Westbrook dunk,” you’ll discover a plethora of posters. Westbrook’s dunk style is similar to his whole game: They are unyielding, ambitious, forceful, and sometimes perplexing. Even his botched efforts are impressive. You can see the instant he realizes he’s about to attack if you pay careful attention. And that moment is one of the most thrilling because you never know what will happen next. Royce Young Royce Young
Kevin Durant, among others, received votes. 4.5 percentage point
Gordon’s dunk reputation as one of the all-time greats is certain even if he never wins a competition. His dunks over and around team mascots produced for amazing moments in the 2016 and 2020 slam dunk competitions, and his willingness to dunk over and around team mascots made for incredible moments. Gordon’s athleticism and fury at the rim have always been a part of his dunk arsenal, whether in games or not, but his ability to soar through the air while grabbing the ball from Stuff spinning on a hoverboard may be his greatest accomplishment. Nick Friedell’s remark
Dwight Howard received 34.8 percent of the vote, Shaquille O’Neal 17.4 percent, and Tracy McGrady 4.3 percent.
Erving’s win in the first-ever dunk contest, held at halftime of the 1976 ABA Those-Star Game, set the bar for all who came after. Michael Jordan subsequently replicated Erving’s slam from the free throw line. And players for decades to follow, including LeBron James, who wore Dr. J’s No. 6 in Miami, cite his on-court flair as an influence for how they attempted to play the game, especially his amazing mix of athleticism and elegance soaring into the air.
It’s worth noting that Erving is the only player on this list who has played for two different teams. Tim Bontemps is a writer.
Others who received votes: Darryl Dawkins (37.5%) –
Amar’e Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns has a 54.2 percent shooting percentage.
Stoudemire tried to dunk on everyone and anything in his way during his tenure with Phoenix. Don’t believe me? Just ask Anthony Tolliver. Michael Olowokandi, for example. S.T.A.T.’s fury was felt by a slew of former NBA players throughout his eight years with the Suns. Only Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard had more dunks during that time period than Stoudemire. In addition, his slam dunk contest cooperation with Steve Nash in the manner of soccer culminated in a spectacular runner-up finish in 2005. — Lopez, Andrew
Larry Nance received 20.8 percent of the vote, Tom Chambers 16.7 percent, and Kevin Johnson 8.3 percent.
NBAE/Getty Images/Andrew D. Bernstein
If your nickname is derived from your jumping abilities, you undoubtedly have a solid dunking resume. Drexler’s dunks had a gracefulness to them, thus “The Glide” was an absolutely fitting nickname. He flew, levitated, and hovered. He was gliding. He was a game highlight reel as well as a contest dunker, displaying both inventiveness and pragmatism. His dunks were even more artistic because of the way he would palm the ball high as he raced into two huge steps. Royce Young Royce Young
Others that received votes were Jerome Kersey (12.5%) and Brandon Roy (4.3%).
Wallace competed in the competition twice, the first time as a member of the Kings in 2002. He had the ability to grab people’s attention with his jumps, but it was his athleticism and ability to twist his body in various directions that led to some spectacular throwdowns throughout the years. Wallace’s talent was the ability to attack from the air at any time, as shown by his fast-break poster and pirouette on Botjan Nachbar. Nick Friedell’s remark
Chris Webber received 29.2 percent of the vote, while Kenny Smith received 25 percent.
Gervin was capable of more than just the finger roll. The “Iceman” participated in the ABA’s historic 1976 dunk contest, with his highlight being a windmill after taking off from the dotted line. Gervin, who wore a gold chain around his neck, used to annoy shot blockers by floating that finger roll above them, but the lanky great also punched it in on occasion. Tim MacMahon (Tim MacMahon)
Manu Ginobili received 26.1 percent of the vote, David Robinson 21.7 percent, and Johnny Dawkins 4.3 percent.
Shawn Kemp, Seattle SuperSonics a hundred percent
Despite having never won a dunk contest (finishing second to Dee Brown in 1991), Kemp was the obvious choice here. Kemp’s dunks have been resurrected on YouTube as a symbol of the Sonics’ great 1990s era. Kemp’s dunks were unrivaled, whether he was catching Gary Payton’s alley-oop lobs or finishing over Alton Lister. Who else could dunk on a player (Chris Gatling) before being dapped up by him? Kevin Pelton (KP)
None of the others received votes.
It’s difficult to deny Carter’s status as the best dunker in NBA history, not just Raptors history. “Vinsanity” had the most dominating and gorgeous dunk contest performance ever in 2000, with elbow-in-the-rim dunks and two-handed free throw finishes standing out. Carter also established a reputation for himself by routinely slamming big guys, most famously with his dunk over France’s 7-2 center, Frederic Weis, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Spears, Marc
None of the others received votes.
More: Vince Carter’s slam dunk contest tale from 2000
Darrell Griffith (Utah Jazz) had 45.8% of the vote.
Nicknames must be earned rather than given. And “Dr. Dunkenstein,” directed by Griffith, is one of the coolest. Before current Utah star Donovan Mitchell relocated from Louisville to Salt Lake City, another high flyer, Griffith, had already set the groundwork. Griffith’s No. 35 is hung in the rafters at Vivint Arena, where he performed numerous dunk performances for the crowd. Griffith, who is 6-4, could dunk with the best of them in the dunk contest and in game action. That’s why the famous Nike image showing him dressed as a doctor, holding two half-basketballs with smoke flowing out of them, will never go out of style. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Donovan Mitchell received 33.3 percent of the vote, Karl Malone 16.7%, and Jeremy Evans 4.2 percent.
In a remarkable slam dunk contest, JaVale McGee not only smashed two balls in separate baskets, but he also slammed three balls in a row on one try. Chris Webber may have had more devastating power dunks against opposition big men in games than any other Wizard. But Wall is the best Wizards dunker of all time (sorry, Michael Jordan played mainly below the rim during his Wizards days). Wall’s quickness and agility made him seem like he had been blasted out of a cannon when he dunks in games. He could dunk with any hand, and the 2014 slam dunk champion could even dribble behind his back on the sprint before launching a nasty dunk. — Youngmisuk Ohm
Others who received votes were JaVale McGee (20.8%) and Chris Webber (16.7%).
LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan. Ever since their first matchup in the 2015 NBA finals, the two superstars have been compared in a sense. According to some ratings, Jordan was the best dunker in NBA history, while others claim James beats him out. However, “Sports Illustrated” has decided to settle the score once and for all. They have created a “Greatest Dunker” bracket to determine who truly was the greatest dunker in NBA history.. Read more about big ben steelers and let us know what you think.
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