Kobe Bryant dunking is akin to watching poetry in motion. His fluid style and graceful ease is nothing short of divine, some would say angelic.
Like newly fallen snow the majestic beauty of his execution put him in a class all by himself. Kobe’s dunking style has matured as he has grown as a player.Coming into the league in 1996, straight fromhigh school he immediately made a splash with his highflying, rim banging antics.
Kobe fist dunked at the age of 14, he was only 6’3’ tall. He was selected to participate in the 1996 All-American High School slam-dunk contest, with Tim Thomas, Corey Benjamin and Lester Earl. Lester Earl eventually won the contest, but Kobe made his mark coming in second place. The world was put on notice that Kobe was coming.
Even at the tender age of 17, it was easy to predict that he was going to be a special player and a great, sky-walking dunker. In the contest he emulated two of his idols Dominique Wilkins with a two handed tomahawk slam and Michael Jordan with a windmill and 360 jamalot.
One year after participating in the High School slam-dunk contest, Kobe Bryant entered the 1997 NBA slam-dunk contest. Kobe Bryant won the crown with a between the legs dunk that awed the crowd.
It was a dunk first performed in 1994 by Orlando Woolridge, Kobe stamped his own signature on the dunk and made it his own. Some of Kobe Bryant’s most famous dunks occur in games. Dunking on Mark Gasol, his teammate Pau Gasol’s brother, after spinning by OJ Mayo was off the hook. Dunking over Tim Duncan, on September 7, 2009 is one for the ages.
Duncan wanted nothing to do with the highflying Kobe and hung his head and admitted defeat. He has victimized Tim Duncan on several other occasions. He also has another 7 footer on his dunked over resume in Yao Ming. In his earlier years Kobe Bryant lit up Rik Smits of the Indiana Pacers.
Granted Smits was nearing the end of his career but Kobe showed no mercy as he threw it down on the Dunking Dutchmen. During the 2000 NBA final Kobe abused the great Reggie Miller blowing by him, he eyed the rim and takes off like a rocket when Rik Smits feebly tried to rotate to block the shot but Kobe went through him like a wet paper bag.
His talent to get to the rim is in the league of Jordan, Dr. J and Lebron and when he gets there, there is no other option than to finish, regardless that is in front of him. He has left a trail of players he has posterized and the list will grow the longer he plays.
He has also taken his wares onto the international stage. He played on the 2006 United States national team and was a member of the 2007 USA Men’s Senior National Team. He was named to the 2008 Olympic team where he put a show on for the Chinese fans. Three of his top tens plays were skyscraping, rafter-hugging dunks.
Kobe Bryant has been in the league for 14 years and is only 31 years old. The list of wards and accolades is unfathomable and he will continue to add to it. He realistically can play at a high level for 6 more years.
The number of players he will have embarrassed, juked, broke down and dunked on may be endless.
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