• Greg Alcala

Top 5 In-Game Dunkers

*Photo via Getty Images

There are a variety of ways to score in the game of basketball, but none more exciting than a slam dunk. Tomahawks, windmills, reverse-slams, alley-oops; any and every dunk is a sure guarantee to have crowds on their feet. Throughout the history of the NBA, a number of special players have defied gravity, flushing thunderous dunks and creating unforgettable moments.

Here are the top-five, in-game dunkers.

5. Shawn Kemp

*Photo via Getty Images

In the 90’s, Shawn Kemp wasn’t necessarily a star because of his scoring ability; he averaged 14.6 points andappeared in six All-Star games for his career. However, his aerial assault on every basket in the league made him a house-hold name. At 6’10 and weighing 230 pounds, the Indiana native was the perfect blend of speed, power and athleticism, using it all to pulverize the rim and anyone standing in his way. The most impressive aspect of Kemps dunks was his will to finish around the rim, from close quarters, under duress.

The Reign Man could put multiple players on posters and throw it down through major contact. He also had some of the best post dunk celebrations back when you wouldn’t receive a technical foul for taunting. When the Reign Man is coming down the lane, it’s probably a good idea to get out of the way.

4. Blake Griffin

*Photo via Getty Images

There’s a reason why the Los Angeles Clippers are referred to as “Lob City,” and let’s be honest; DeAndre Jordan is robin, Blake Griffin is batman. Since his entrance into the Association, the perennial All-Star has made a habit of adding posters to all basketball fan bedrooms. Some of his victims include: Pau Gasol, Danilo Gallinari, Kendrick Perkins, Timofey Mozgov and Kris Humphries…Kardashian West?

When we talk about the best in-game dunkers, the level of difficulty is key, and that’s where Griffin shines. The former Oklahoma Sooner often put his body at risk, flying through the air for our approval and it’s the reason why Griffin, himself is box-office material. In many of his dunks, Griffin often takes off just below the free-throw line near the launch pad. With a reckless mentality in finishing near the rim, coupled with the athleticism and power to leap over defenders, Griffin, a 5-year vet, has earned his spot on this list.

3. Michael Jordan

*Photo via USA Today

This might be a little low on the list for his “Airness” but it’s fitting. Michael Jordan is regarded as the greatest basketball player to ever play and throwing it down was just another weapon in his arsenal. It’s why everybody, even in today’s world, still wants to be like Mike. The best to ever do it flew through the air like a bird, effortlessly and has had his fair share of iconic dunks. The dunk over “Mount Dikembe Mutumbo” comes to mind, Alonzo Mourning, the famous dunk over Patrick Ewing during the 1991 NBA playoffs and others against guys you probably couldn’t name, featured in the video below.

Jordan was the kind of guy that would perform the “rock-the-cradle” dunk on one end and on the next possession, make a fool out of your tallest defender, doing it all with his tongue out and such, you know the story. Innovative, style, power, flair and explosive are just a few adjectives that describe what took place when Jordan took to the skies. In any list ranking the top NBA dunkers of all-time, MJ must be listed from the range of 1-3 and if not, it’s just criminal. Back in Jordan’s day, the Dunk Contest was actually must-see TV opposed to what we have been subjected to over the last couple of years, outside of Zach Lavine’s performance this past season.

2. Dominique Wilkins

*Photo via USA Today

Atlanta Hawks legend, Dominique Wilkins takes the crown as the most powerful dunker in the history of the NBA. When Wilkins went up for a dunk, you almost got the feeling that he was going to bring the rim down with him as he jogged back on defense. There was power, velocity, a reckless nature and a disregard for any life near the rim at all. Wilkins attacked the rim like it stole something from him and the proof serves as the evidence. Just check out his top-10 list below courtesy of the NBA.

Wilkins often finished over multiple defenders and did so using a variety of dunks, in windmills, reverses and powerful tomahawk slams. Whether it was two hands or one, Wilkins punished many defenders, making a b-line to the rim and the word fear was absent from his vocabulary. Along with Jordan, Wilkins would produce some of the best battles in NBA dunk contests to date. Aside from rattling rims, Wilkins made 11 consecutive All-Star teams, averaging 24.8 points for his career.

1.Vince Carter

*Photo via NBC

Game over. Vince Carter is the best dunker of all-time, bar-none. Carter executed dunks that shouldn’t be attempted in game action, but did so without breaking a sweat. When you are the proud owner of possibly the greatest two dunks in NBA history, both completed in the same year, (2000’s NBA Dunk Contest and Frederic Weis in the Olympics in Sydney) it’s safe to say that Carter is worthy of the crown.

Carters dunks defied logic, gravity and all things that made sense in the world. His athleticism is unmatched and the only current NBA player who could rival Vinsanity in athletic ability is Minnesota’s own, Lavine but even then, no one’s dunk resume compares to Carter’s. The dunk over Weis was popularly termed the “Dunk of Death” by the French media and limited Weis professional opportunities following the play. Weis was released by the Knicks who drafted the center with the 15th pick in the 1999 NBA draft shortly after, and never recovered. The simple act of a dunk ruined a potential NBA career and that’s what Carter brought to the table when he launched himself into the air. Carter is Jordan, Wilkins and Kemp all rolled into one in terms of taking flight and if you could craft the perfect dunker, Carter would be the definition. Half-Man, Half-Amazing.

Please forgive me for leaving out one of the best to ever do it in Julius “Dr. J”, Erving. Erving is indeed one of the best dunkers to ever do it. He was Jordan before Jordan touched the hardwood, but I have a hard time believing Erving was a better finisher than the players listed above when it comes to the art of dunking. Just an opinion.

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