Dunking is one of the most exciting parts of modern-day basketball. A good dunk can be remembered for decades and define the legacy of a basketballer. Today we look at some of the best-ever dunkers of all time.
All the best dunkers tend to have superb athleticism and fitness. Dunking on someone is also known as 'posterizing' them, as many photos of dunks are put on NBA promotional posters. This is a list of 20 of the best dunkers of all time.
20. Ja Morant
The Memphis Grizzlies star only joined the league in 2019 but has already built a reputation as one of the most stylish dunkers the game has ever seen. He won NBA rookie of the year after the 2019-2020 season.
19. Zion Williamson
Zion is another young NBA star that made the list. Throughout his high school and college career, Zion's dunks impressed many, and when he joined the league in 2019, he continued to enhance that reputation further.
18. Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon is considered the greatest NBA player never to win the NBA All-Star weekend slam dunk contest. He finished 2nd in two editions, losing to Zach Lavine in 2015 and Derrick Jones Junior in 2020.
17. Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing was one of the most dominant NBA centres in the 90s. He used his huge physique to dominate players on the rim and dunk on them.
16. Dwight Howard
2008 slam dunk Champion Dwight Howard is one of the most prolific dunkers in the history of the NBA. Howard is also a two times NBA defensive player of the year.
15. Zach Lavine
Chicago Bulls guard Zach Lavine is known for his incredible jumping range and dunking technique. He won the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend slam dunk contest.
14. Kobe Bryant
Kobe is widely regarded as one of the best players in NBA history. A big part of his appeal to fans was his effortless dunking. He won the 1997 NBA dunk contest.
13. Jason Richardson
Jason Richardson won the dunk contest in 2002 and 2003. He was well known for his in-game dunks while playing for the Golden State Warriors.
12. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is considered one of the game's most elite modern scorers. He won the league's most valuable player award in the 2016/17 season.
11. Daryl Dawkins
The late Daryl Dawkins is widely considered the league's pioneering dunk specialist. He is remembered for breaking the backboard while dunking on Sacramento's Bill Robinzine in 1979. This incident led the NBA to institute a fine on any player who broke the backboard while dunking. He passed away in 2015.
10. Blake Griffin
Blake is considered the best dunker of the 2010s. He won the 2011 slam dunk contest after dunking over a car.
9. Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille's considerable size and power enabled him to dunk at will during his playing career. Like Dawkins, Shaq also broke a backboard while dunking on an opponent during his time with the Orlando Magic.
8. Tracy Mcgrady
Also known as T-Mac, Mcgrady was a multidimensional scorer who led the league in points on two separate occasions. He was featured in the dunk content in the year 2000.
7. Lebron James
As of February 2023, no one has scored more points in the NBA than Lebron James. Dunking is one of his key weapons as defenders struggle to handle his speed and explosiveness.
6. Julius Erving
Affectionately referred to as 'Dr J' by fans, Julius Erving was one of the NBA's earliest dunk specialists. He was known for dunking from the free-throw line.
5. Dominique Wilkins
Atlanta Hawks Dominique Wilkins was known for his aggressive dunking. He was nicknamed 'The human highlight reel". Wilkins won the dunk contest in 1985 and 1990.
4. Scottie Pippen
Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen was one of the top specialists in a golden era of dunking. His 1994 dunk over Patrick Ewing is considered one of the best ever.
3. Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp made a point of dunking and taunting his opponents, much to the amusement of fans. His dunks over Alton Liston and Hakeem Olajuwon are still considered iconic.
2. Michael Jordan
Jordan is widely considered the best player in the history of the NBA. Aside from winning the NBA title 6 times, Jordan also won the dunk contest twice in 1987 and 1988.
1. Vince Carter
Vince Carter is undisputably the best dunker in the history of the NBA. His win at the 2000 NBA slam dunk contest got him nicknames such as 'half man, half amazing' and 'Vinsanity'. He currently works as a basketball analyst for ESPN.
Only a few elite and athletic basketball players perfect the art of dunking. It is important to celebrate these great dunkers who bring great joy to fans all over the world.
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