Blog Entry

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 3:45 pm
Posted by Ben GolliverMatt Moore and Royce Young

Earlier this week, Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin treated the NBA worlrd to two of the best dunks you'll ever see.

James completedly hurdled Chicago Bulls point guard John Lucas III to finish a one-handed alley-oop pass from Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Griffin flew up and over Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins to throw down one of his power/speed/brute force specialties.

That got the Eye on Basketball Staff thinking: What are the best dunks of all time? We kicked it around in a panel discussion.

Matt Moore:

So Griffin's abject demolition of Perkins and his dignity has set off a huge discussion of dunks this week. The big debate of course is how this one stacks up against Vince Carter over Frederic Weis. (Via YouTube user Supra2K8)

Everyone keeps coming back to the fact that he cleared a seven footer, which is obviously impressive. But for me, there are a number of things that make Griffin's RIPerkins better. Most importantly, Weis was trying to take the charge. Carter clears him (kind of, with some manipulation of Weis' head with his hand between his legs), but Weis isn't defending. On the other hand, Perkins is full-on trying to block, and if not block, foul Griffin. The dunk is a monumental clash of an elite shot challenger and the offensive player driving straight through his soul.

I always think a dunk being completed through a challenge is better than just dunking over a tall dude. If I wanted props I'd go to the dunk contest. That's why I tend to like this one as my second favorite of all time. (Via YouTube user DJNajeem)  

I mean, come on, now. That's Anderson Varejao, an annual defensive player of the year candidate. Weis was a fine defender... but not at the NBA level. I'd still put Carter as the best dunker of all time (in-game, dunk contest, your mom's house, anywhere). But Griffin's abject annihilation of Perkins has to be considered the best. In a related story, Amar'e Stoudemire over Anthony Tolliver. (Via YouTube user TheBrosBros

Royce Young:

You know what dunk gets criminally overlooked? J.R. Smith's two-handed "We just saw a man fly!" finish over Gary Neal. Three things that make that dunk amazing: 1) It was with two hands 2) It was darn near a buzzer beater and 3) Kevin Harlan's call. (Via YouTube user Huff99)

See, I think that's the type of stuff that can distinguish one great dunk from another -- the little things. Because all dunks over someone are pretty incredible when you think about it. But the details like how good the call of it was, how the ball went through the net (was it a splashing flush or did it rattle in, like Griffin's?), who it was over, the significance of it and stuff like that.  On that, you've got to have Pippen's destruction over Patrick Ewing. It has all of the above. Great call, major significance and it was over a seven-footer. For my money, it's the best ever. I mean, that's a total humiliation of Ewing. Pippen took Ewing's manhood and disrespect his family tree. He didn't just dunk over Ewing, he dunked through him. (Via YouTube user Funk2Dunk)

One more that I have to mention is LeBron's over Kevin Garnett in the 2008 playoffs. "With no regard for human life!" might be the all-time best dunk call. And it was over KG, which is big time. (Via YouTube user Marszall87)
Ben Golliver:

Reading your responses, I basically was just nodding continuously. I guess I'm not wired for the "Best Dunk" debate. I approach YouTube more like a wine collector approaches his cellar: collect all the greats, then keep collecting, then collect some more and then collect even more. I care more about experiencing all the greats than about ranking the cream of the crop.

Similarly, I'm partial to the classics. The first one that comes to mind when I think of a dunk is Michael Jordan over Ewing.(Via YouTube User ESPN)

This one just wraps up Jordan the offensive weapon so perfectly. Incredible handle, vision, instincts, quickness, power, fearlessness and total authority. The physicality at the end is just icing on a flawless cake.

You probably guessed that Julius Erving's cradle dunk over Michael Cooper would be next on my list. (Via YouTube user diegoris23)

It didn't quite have the man-on-man violence of some of these other dunks but the beauty is in how natural and in-the-flow this one came about. It was as if Dr. J was just walking down the street, saw a basketball lying on the ground, didn't even stop to bend over and picked it up, scooped it in rhythm and then tossed it on a very good defender's head in one brilliant, swooping motion. Iconic.

Last but not least, I think Kevin Durant's dunk over Brendan Haywood during the 2011 Playoffs will wind up standing up to the test of time. It's more recent than my other two picks but I predict massive staying powero on this one. (Via YouTube user NBA).

I see this as a future classic because Durant is on track for true greatness and because this dunk shows his amazing length, probably his most obvious stand out physical attribute. It shows his handle, his hops and his swagger. This will be the dunk that Durant enthusiasts point to in 30 years when detractors try to argue that Durant was "just a shooter" or that his slim frame held him back him from becoming a top-20 type of player. The extension on this one was amazing. The replays just make it better and better.

Since: Feb 5, 2012
Posted on: February 5, 2012 6:18 am

What about Ray?

I know Ray Allen is not known for dunks these days, but what about that one?

Drives by Darell Armstrong, slams it right into T-Mac's mug. All that with a two-point deficit, time winding down and in the playoffs. Never gets mentioned. Also there's another one by Ray from his Milwaukee days, a ridiculous two-hander but I do not remember who that was on.

Since: Mar 21, 2007
Posted on: February 4, 2012 10:36 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

I actually prefer Wade's dunk over Perkins last year to the one over Varejeo. I also like Jordan's dunk where he breaks the backboard and it shatters all over three opponents.

Since: Mar 21, 2007
Posted on: February 4, 2012 10:28 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

Which pixel was Pippen in that video?

Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: February 4, 2012 8:03 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

Dr. J's dunk was pure poetry. 

Kevin Johnson's and John Stark's dunks have to right up there.  

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: February 4, 2012 4:01 am

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

I agree on the Baron Davis call. What a dunk...David vs. Goliath type stuff.

But a recent dunk, that exploded the crowd, sent the announcer of fire and rocked the world was Taj gibson over Duane Wade.

It had it all, a no-name dunker, an All-Star that has a nack for making the highlight reels, it was the playoffs. Gibson dunked it with two hands and the everyone went BANANAS!!!!! A facto in the "BEST DUNK OF ALL-TIME" should be shock factor. The "I didn't see that coming..." factor. Look at Wade, he really saw a layup coming, and in his mind he was really going to block this shot, or make him pass it off...

One other point... some of these dunks are momentum dunks. Where the players momentum carries the player thru the defender. Jordan's dunk, was only 2 steps to the facial. No running start. Hence why dunks like Shawn Kemp over Motumbo or his over Alton Lister, are higher degrees of difficulty. To dunk over a shot blocker off the vertical, or of a two step plant is even more impressive.

Since: Jul 20, 2010
Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:45 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

Baron Davis dunk over AK47... The "We Believe" Warriors... easily best dunk of all-time and not on the list... First off, it was in the playoffs... Second, Baron Davis is like 6'3'' and AK47 is at least 6'10"... Third, the crowd went NUTS... how did you forget that dunk

Since: Oct 6, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:25 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

Surprised Tom Chambers dunk wasn't mentioned in the article.

I guess Darryl Dawkins has so many incredible dunks that it is just impossible to come up with his best.

Michael over Ewing is one of the most impressive...

Since: Nov 25, 2009
Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:42 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

This Shaq dunk doesn't exactly belong here either, but it KILLS me everytime I see it.

(Shaq > Chris Dudley)

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:10 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

John Starks over Jordan in 1993 -- even that one made the top dunk videos, highlights, etc. 

Dr. J in 1983 -- beauty!

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:08 pm

EOB Roundtable: Best dunks of all time

No all-time dunk list should be without AI's one handed put-back:

Steve Francis also had a damn good one. I know he fizzled out career-wise but tell me this isn't absolute ownage:

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