The 5 Most Iconic Dunks of LeBron James’ Career
The 5 most iconic dunks of LeBron James’ career
LeBron James will be remembered for a dizzying number of things. His incredible basketball mind. His eight consecutive Finals appearances. His game-winning shots, his multiple rings.
Somewhere on that list will be his iconic, unforgettable dunking prowess.
Few players combine such raw power with such incredible grace. In his career, LeBron has had dozens of prodigious moments at the rim. A handful, however, go beyond the astounding - some of LeBron’s dunks are simply iconic.
5. LeBron dunks OVER John Lucas III
There’s something hilariously impressive about this dunk. John Lucas III got caught napping on defense, which, you know, happens. But boy did he pay the price.
Lucas is 5’ 11. Jumping over him so effortlessly is quite the special feet. Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy don’t even notice what has happened until the fourth replay!
A small, but wonderful aspect of this dunk is how good it sounds. That will be a consistent theme on this list.
4. LeBron ends Jason Terry
To appreciate this dunk, we need a quick little history lesson. In the 2011 Finals, Jason Terry was a foil for LeBron’s Miami Heat from the get-go. This included a big dunk over James in the opening period of Game 1.
Terry would go on to outscore James in the series. LeBron clearly did not forget.
Fast-forward to our dunk two seasons later, and suddenly everything makes sense. LeBron brutalizes Terry, who was admittedly playing reasonably good defense against a three-on-one.
At face-value, this dunk is monstrous. Weaving in the historic context and flair of revenge really makes it all-time.
3. LeBron honors Kobe
James’ incredible basketball IQ includes his robust command of the moment. This extends far beyond vengefully embarrassing Jason Terry.
LeBron would later claim the above dunk wasn’t planned. That it happened organically. If true, sheesh.
During the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals LeBron passed Michael Jordan in postseason scoring. The game was in Boston, and in a packed press room, I remember being so struck by how painstakingly specific LeBron was in reflecting on the moment.
It’s that unrelenting respect and admiration to those that came before that makes this dunk so special. It isn’t just a creative, neat little moment. It’s a tribute that only LeBron could offer.
2. With no regard for human life
Kevin Garnett won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008. He was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team nine times in his career. And LeBron dunked all over him.
Kevin Harlan deserves big props for the call, one that is in and of itself iconic. But that ignores the moment LeBron orchestrated, to say nothing of how unbelievably devastating the dunk itself was. Few plays in sports are packaged so neatly the way this one is.
1. The oop
The Miami Heatles were so enjoyable to watch. Amid the basketball purity, there was so much fun and charisma on the team. Who knows what would happen if LeBron stayed with the Heat.
The above play came in December of 2010. In many ways it kicked off the party in South Beach. We all knew the trio of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh was going to be scary. Those fears were seemingly confirmed in one brilliant play.
LeBron’s dunks are so great because they’re always larger than life. They’re always an event, always something to remember. NBA basketball is the marriage of entertainment and raw athleticism - best captured by a LeBron James slam.