No one would argue that the NBA is the pinnacle for the game of basketball. It is the league where all the best of the best players from around the world play. It can be said, no matter how good a player you are, nothing can draw out the crowd’s excitement, cheer, and attention than the slam dunk. While a three-pointer shot involves strength calculation, angle, and accuracy, it always looks the same no matter where the shot is taken from or who makes the shot. However, with a slam dunk, it looks different from each angle it is taken and depending on who makes it, especially since there are different variations to take. Throughout the existence of the NBA, it has produced a lot of great slam dunkers who have made an impact with this highly-entertaining scoring technique. They have developed it through imagination, innovation, finesse, and most of all – air time.
Top 10 All-time Best Slam Dunker of the NBA
1. Vince Carter – it can easily be said that Vince Carter is the best slam dunker in the world as he was very creative when executing his dunks. He is what you can call the closest thing to flying for us humans. The truth is VC is alongside Michael Jordan when it comes to creativity. However, what keeps them apart is the explosiveness of the dunks executed by VC. In short, VC executes explosive 2-footed jumpers, while MJ is more of a glider-type. When it comes to beauty, especially on slow-motions, MJ’s dunks are simply beautiful, smooth, and polished. However, when it comes to an in-your-face type of slam dunk, VC does it better than anyone.
2. Michael Jordan – there is no doubt the MJ is a great slam dunk artist as his air-time will speak for itself. The finesse of MJ’s dunks are mostly related to the execution of another great slam dunk artist, Dr. Julius Erving, as he is considered as the one of the first, if not the first, great slam dunk artist. When MJ first played in the mid-80s, he brought a new level of intensity and hype to the shot that was missing during those days. One of the most notable dunk shots that MJ made was in 1987 against the Utah Jazz. MJ low posted against the small point guard, John Stockton, received the pass, made a turn around and made a slam dunk. This action made the General Manager of the Utah Jazz state to MJ to pick someone his own size – something which MJ happily complied with their next possession as MJ pulled out a leaner in-his-face slam dunk against the 6-feet-11-inches tall Mel Turpin, which, MJ side commented on back to the General manager, “was he big enough?”
3. Julius Erving – whenever the discussion arises on whom the past great slam dunkers were, you can’t help but mention the Dr. J as he is greatly associated with it. In fact, many consider him to be the frontrunner of the slam dunk mainstream. While it is true that he was not the first player to perform dunk shots, it was he who developed (or more like executed) dunk shots into an elegant art. His aerial finesse and motion has brought the slam dunk into the wider consciousness of the masses and players alike. Doc was also the first one to jump off the free throw line to make a dunk shot.
4. Dominique Wilkins – Dom is considered one of the best dunkers in the league which in turn has earned him the nickname “The Human Highlight Film.” This is mostly because Dom was such a creative and powerful finisher as he was able to execute amazing showtime slam dunks during game time that others only dared do during slam dunk contests. He participated in five NBA slam dunk competition and managed to bag 2 titles, one of which, in 1985, he beat Michael Jordan in the contest. In 1988, both had a rematch with which was bagged by MJ. Both Dom and MJ have 2 slam dunk titles.
5. Spud Webb – at only 5 feet 7 inches in height, Spud was able to slam dunk the ball with so much air under him. His vertical leap of 43 inches allowed him to grab the 1986 NBA slam dunk contest beating his teammate and slam dunk winner of the previous year Dominique Wilkins.
6. David Thompson – he was one of the finalist, along with Dr. J, on the first NBA slam dunk contest. During the contest, it was said that, although he executed very difficult dunks during practice, he never did them during the competition itself, to which Erving won as he executed a foul-line dunk shot. During the 70’s, David was one of the highflyers and is the originally nicknamed “Skywalker.”
7. Shawn Kemp – called the “Reign Man,” at 6 feet 7 inches, Shawn was an explosive dunker among the big men. Kemp started to play in the NBA at the age of 19. Although he struggled at first, he was mentored by his teammate Xavier McDaniel, to which, Kemp finally found his place in the NBA. Although he never participated in any slam dunk contest, Kemp has such destructive force during his slams that makes him difficult to contend with.
8. Jason Richardson – he is an all-around player that has the brilliance to execute fine slam dunks. He won back-to-back NBA slam dunk contest 2002 and 2003. During the 2003 contest, he performed a reverse in-between the leg dunk shot that secured him the title.
9. Nate Robinson – despite having a height of only 5 feet 9 inches, Nate can slam dunk just about on anybody. He managed to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest three times making his slam dunk prowess undeniable. Many of Nate’s amazing slam dunk happens during game time when his teammates gives him the alley-oop or when he follows-up a missed shot with a slam.
10. Kobe Bryant – love him or hate him, Kobe is one of the brightest stars playing in the NBA today. His brilliance in the sport is undeniable as has managed to lead his team to 5 NBA Championship titles. The truth is, not only is Kobe a remarkable player, but he is also great slam dunk artist as he won the 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.