Let’s talk about the NBA greatest dunks. Man where do I begin. First off, you need to differentiate between dunks in a game and dunks in a dunk contest.
There’s a huge difference. Both are spectacular and beautiful in different ways.
NBA greatest dunks, whether in a game or a dunk contest are often showed on the same highlight reel. For example, a lot of people think the Jordan dunk from the free throw line was done in a game. Wrong, it was a dunk contest.
The dunk was amazing; a true show of one man’s amazing jumping ability. But that same dunk is almost impossible to pull off in a game. For one you would need a wide open fast break.
NBA greatest dunks in dunk contest also allow the contestant to essentially travel (hey nobody ever said dunk contests were for fundamentals). It’s a lot easier to dunk when you don’t have to worry about dribbling or a defender in your face.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to only focus on NBA greatest dunks in a game. Sorry dunk contest fans, we’ll save that debate for another time.
We are talking about a guy who once completely shattered a glass backboard in the middle of a game. And I mean completely shattered the backboard. Nothing was left of it.
The amazing feat happened in 1979 against the San Antonio Spurs. Dawkins wasn’t the only player ever to shatter a backboard with a dunk, but certainly one of the more memorable and raw power dunks I have ever seen.
For a white guy, Chambers could sure get up. And in 1989, Chambers had one of the more nasty dunks of all-time. On a fastbreak, Chambers essentially climbed over a helpless defender hoping to take a charge. The ultimate point in the highlight is when Chambers’ knee is directly in the face of the poor defender.
In his prime, Shawn Kemp could really get up. One of the more explosive and powerful dunker I have ever witnessed. In 1993 against Golden State, Kemp drove hard to the right side of the lane and devoured a defender late trying to take a charge. What ensured was a poster like dunk for Kemp and added insult with two pointed fingers at the helpless defender laying flat on the ground.
Think Jordan stole all the highlight reels in Chicago? Think again. Pippen’s phenomenal dunk over Patrick Ewing is even more meaningful, because A) it was Patrick Ewing and B) it was Patrick Ewing. I mean we are talking about one of the greatest shot blockers and low post defenders ever. And Pippen just embarrassed him.
But…Jordan had to one up Pippen.
You cannot do a greatest NBA dunks article, without a Jordan mention. It’s hard to just pick one, but I must go with the one he pulled off on Dikembe Mutombo. Talk about another great shot blocker, maybe the greatest ever. And what made it so sweet. The famous finger wave Mutombo did after so many swats were reversed, with Jordan doing the waving at a shocked Mutombo.
Talk about a man who could really fly through the air. No doubt about it, the rock the baby dunk against the Lakers is single handedly one of the greatest moments in NBA history. Not just for dunks, the Dr. J rock the baby dunk is one of the greatest moments ever. Erving took a dunk you would see in a dunk contest and put it into a game.