The top 6 dunkers to have ever graced the NBA
Dunking is one of the most exciting skills in basketball, and there is no bigger crowd pleaser than a well-executed, high-flying dunk.
Over the years, many NBA stars have made their mark as dunk specialists, whether in the annual Slam Dunk Contest or in games.
Below is our take on the 6 greatest dunkers in the history of the NBA and what makes them that special.
1. Vince Carter
Vince Carter had an amazing NBA career spanning 22 seasons. He was an 8-time All-Star and 2-time All-NBA team selection. However, fans will mostly remember him for the powerful and entertaining dunks he entertained them with during his career.
Nicknamed Half-Man-Half Amazing, Carter is widely regarded as the best dunker in NBA history by many journalists and fans, thanks to his incredible athleticism.
His most famous dunk was when he dunked over 7-foot tall Fredric Weis in the Olympics. Carter recovered the ball near the halfway line before making a solo run to pull out the once-in-a-lifetime dunk.
2. Michael Jordan
The man, the myth, and the legend: Michael Jordan. Widely hailed as the greatest of all time, you can guess that his dunking was only one of his many attributes.
Defenders bowed whenever he rose to dunk as his hangtime often allowed him to change hands mid-air.
He faced many of the greatest defenders in the game, but none of them could counter his skills and flair. Jordan also won the Slam Dunk contest in 1987 and 1988.
So good was Michael Jordan at dunking in his heyday that top bookmakers on betting sites like liontips.com/tips/baseball provided punters with exciting odds for Michael to complete a dunk in a game.
In the Slam Dunk contest, he performed his most famous dunk, where he jumped from the free throw line to slam the ball into the basket. Simply put, Jordan was a jumping wizard in his playing days.
3. Kobe Bryant
Apart from being one of the game's best all-around players, Kobe Bryant's dunking ability was second to none. Kobe was already a Slam Dunk champion when he was 18 years old.
Like Jordan, Kobe wasn't only a dunking beast among average defenders, as he was responsible for dunking on renowned defenders like Ben Wallace, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, and several others.
4. Dominique Wilkins
Dominique Wilkins spent 11 seasons of his playing career with the Hawks and was known as "The Human Highlight Film" thanks to his dunking prowess.
Wilkins was a Slam Dunk specialist who formed a rivalry with Michael Jordan in the contest.
He won against Jordan in 1985 but lost controversially to him in the 1987 Slam Dunk Championship held in Chicago. Many pundits and sports lovers believe Wilkins was cheated as his last dunk should've got a 50 and not 45.
5. Julius Erving
If dunking is an art, Julius Erving is its Picasso. One of the most fascinating aspects about Erving is how he revolutionized the dunking game.
Although many players have been doing the dunk before him, he was credited with bringing the practice mainstream.
Many other top dunkers who came after him have all been influenced by how Erving performed his outrageous dunks. Apart from his influence on the skill, he was also involved in legitimating the ABA and was the best player in the league when it merged into the NBA.
6. Shawn Kemp
Kemp was every defender's nightmare during his playing days. He could throw powerful dunks on anyone in and around the hoop; no wonder he formed a formidable in-court dunking relationship with point guard Gary Payton in Seattle.
One of his most famous dunks was when he dunked on Alton Lister in a match between Golden State Warriors and Seattle. Apart from his dunking prowess, "Reign Man" was also a six-time NBA All-Star and three-time All-NBA Second Team member.
While there are other honorable mentions like Shaquille O'Neil, Nate Robinson, LeBron James, and numerous others, these six are arguably the best in the dunking game.