By Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)
Boy, it would be nice to see the video above be extended with dunks from the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Unfortunately, this current NBA season coming to a proper close is something that’s very much up in the air now, much like the most athletic ballers as they smash down on the hoop and a helpless defender below.
As sports fans are reduced to watching classic games, movies and the like until the return of live events (and other such things where more than a handful of people can get together at once), yours truly has decided to compile a list that should definitely get basketball fans talking and debating.
Yes, there’s nothing like a good old fashion debate — from who’s the greatest team ever to who’s the greatest player of all time, some of the best exist in regards to the NBA. The slam dunk has long been the most exciting play in the game of basketball, getting fans out of their seats with excitement and joy and providing athletic feats of legend on the highlight reels of many of the GOAT-level players in the league.
Compiling a list like this wasn’t easy, but it sparked a lot of pleasant nostalgia while tripping down memory lane.
I’m sure that I’ve left some memorable dunks off this list, perhaps even some of your favorite all-time dunks. Feel free to offer any dunk you feel rocked your world in the comments below. That said, remember I got another 10 memorable facial dunks coming in the next week. First, here’s dunks 20 through 11.
20) 1995 – Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway over Patrick Ewing: The Orlando Magic were on their way to becoming an elite team in the NBA in what seemed to be a post-Michael Jordan era. In his second year, Hardaway was a clear phenom and emerging as one of the most popular players in the league. This dunk helped his early legend during a nationally televised game against the New York Knicks over one of the most intimidating post players in the league, but as both MJ and Scottie could tell you, he’s not impossible to dunk on.
19) 1982 – Dominique Wilkins over Larry Bird: The Boston Celtics became the class of the Eastern Conference again in the early ’80s behind Bird, but a rookie forward named Dominique Wilkins made a statement on the emerging Larry Legend with a earth-shaking that announced to the basketball world that he was to be reckoned with as one of the best dunkers in the league and one of its most impressive singular talents.
18) 1994 – Robert Pack over Shawn Kemp: The top-seeded Seattle Supersonics were expected to roll over the No. 8 seed Denver Nuggets in the first round of the ’94 playoffs but the inexperienced squad from the Rockies didn’t get the memo that they were just supposed to be poster boys for one of the league’s most exciting teams.
Exemplifying how the Nugs felt was the small but explosive Pack, who in Game 3 at Denver electrified the crowd with a fast break dunk on Kemp — who posterized many in this breakthrough season for him and the Gary Payton-led Sonics.
17) 1990 – Clyde Drexler over Isaiah Thomas: Battling for a NBA title is a highlight within itself but in Game 2 of the ’90 Finals, Clyde Drexler made Isaiah Thomas a part of his highlight reel with a graceful facial dunk that showed why Clyde was called “The Glide” by so many.
Listen to a new episode of “2nd City Sports” with Sid and Lakeena McGee (WARR on Anchor)
16) 2005 – Vince Carter over Alonzo Mourning: Vince Carter received new life in his career when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets in late 2004. On one night in November of ’05, Carter made an example of an opponent like only he could with a show-stopping cock-back dunk on Heat center Alonzo Mourning that almost ruined Carter’s friendship with the big man as he told ESPN’s The Jump in 2018.
15) 1994 – Shaquille O’Neal over Hakeem Olajuwon: The 1994 All-Star Game would be remembered primarily for Scottie Pippen’s red Nikes along with his brilliant MVP performance. Shaquille O’Neal would join Pip’s party by catching an alley oop from Pippen left handed and slamming down on Hakeem Olajuwon in one of the early memorable plays from O’Neal’s highlight-filled all-star career.
14) 2013 – Paul George over Chris Anderson: On his way to becoming one of the NBA’s top players and an MVP candidate, George would introduce himself to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a show-stopping dunk on Chris “Birdman” Anderson. This dunk would become the signature play of the series despite the Heat holding off the upset-minded Indiana Pacers on their way to winning a second-straight NBA championship.
13) 2013 – DeAndre Jordan
over ends Brandon Knight: The Clippers were famously known as Lob City while Jordan was there and on this night in 2013 the agile big-man defined this unprecedented Clipper era with a devastating dunk off an oop that in many ways ended Knight’s time as a credible pro player and transformed him into a long-lasting social media meme.
DeAndre Jordan, Brandon Knight and the dunk heard ’round the world (SB Nation)
12) 1992 – Clyde Drexler over Bill Cartwright: After being embarrassed in Game 1 of ’92 NBA Finals, the Portland Trail Blazers were looking to even the series. As part of their desperate effort Drexler would again make a statement in front of the world with a posterizing dunk on Bulls center Bill Cartwright showing his power and excitement there afterwards.
11) 2003 – Amare Stoudamire over Michael Olowokandi: On his way towards winning Rookie of the Year, Phoenix Suns big man Amare Stoudamire would make a name for himself on a national stage against the Clippers with a statement dunk on poor Michael Olowokandi, leaving fans in amazement. Stoudamire would become a force to be recognized with as one of the best dunkers in the league during the early years in his career.
Sidney Brown is WARR Media's resident Chicago sports historian