In all of sports, nothing is quite as mesmerizing for sports fanatics and casual viewers than the slam dunk. Every year the NBA Slam Dunk Contest gives us a glimpse into the other-worldly talents of the best dunkers in the sport.
Whether it’s during the NBA All-Star weekend, or during regular or post-season games, everyone has an affinity for the slam dunk. Just try and watch an ESPN Top 10 during basketball season without one, won’t happen.
Above all, the NBA Slam Dunk contest showcases some of the best NBA players doing what they do best-throwing down the rock. Without further ado, here is a list of our top 5 best dunkers of all time.
Number 5: Shaquille O’Neal
Few people would argue the power Shaq has during a dunk. Whether it is with a mesmerizing alley-oop or a backboard-shattering dunk, Shaq brings the slam in the words SLAM DUNK.
Although Shaq has never won an NBA Slam Dunk contest, his regular season and post-season dunks make him a stand-out on this list of elite dunkers. Year after year, he gave viewers something to wait for every game. This earns him the spot at number 5.
Number 4: Julius Erving
Coming over from the ABA to the NBA, Julius Erving enchanted sports fans with his dunking prowess when he entered the league. A scoring champion, he is most known for his baseline moves and finishing dunks.
Although he never won an NBA Dunk Contest, he is considered one of the pioneers in the sport and art of dunking and to this day is still called “Dr. J” for a reason. As a Hall of Fame inductee, he stands as a legend in the sport, and as one of the fathers of dunking.
Number 3: Dominique Wilkins
We go from one moniker to another in “The Human Highlight Film”. What set Dominick Wilkins from the other dunkers on this list is his ability to pull off amazing dunks, in tight space, over future Hall of Famers.
An NBA Slam Dunk champion in both 1985 and 1990, Wilkins lived up to the hype with impressive dunking skills game in and game out. Perhaps most impressive though is his NBA Slam Dunk wins being five years apart from one another. This earns him our number 3 spot.
Number 2: Vince Carter
In 2000, no one could doubt Vince Carter’s creative and special dunking ability. As the NBA Dunking champion in 2000, sports fans had dubbed him “Vinsanity” after his amazing assortment of dunks and power.
Whether it was during his sensational dunk in the 2000 Olympics against France’s Frederick Weis, or during his NBA action, everyone can attest that 2000 was the year of Vinsanity.
Vince Carter picked up where Dominique Wilkins left off and took the art of dunking to new levels not yet seen in the sport.
Number 1: Michael Jordan
Whether it’s cliche or not, it’s hard to argue with the greatest of all time. To think of Jordan conjures images of taking flight, tongue hanging out, flying through the air from the free-throw line.
If you ask any random person on the street, who is the best dunker of all time, most sports fans and casual watchers would have to agree that Michael Jordan has earned the top spot in the hearts and minds of the public.
The NBA Slam Dunk champion in back-to-back years in 1987 and 1988 makes it all the more impressive. You have to remember this was against some of the best dunkers in history, including some of the players on our list and some players that just missed our list.
A supreme dunker, Jordan flew through the air around Hall of Fame players and dunked his way to dunking royalty. Why else would we call him Air Jordan?
Honorable Mentions: Some of the Other Best NBA Players
Nothing in sports is quite like the slam dunk. It is one part athletic ability and one part art. It is what kids aspire to the moment they look up at the hoop as children, and what mystifies us we grow older and watch others do what seems impossible. The act of dunking is the closest thing to flying, although it looks more like floating. To see the best do what they do brings every hoops fan back wanting more.
Some honorable mentions who just missed our list include Clyde Drexler, Kobe Bryant, Shawn Kemp, and the King himself, Lebron James.
When forming a list like this, it is hard to choose, and these were the players we really fretted over before coming up with our final five of all-time. This could easily have turned into a top ten NBA players of all-time list when it comes to the art of dunking.
Depending on what era you grew up in, your list may look different from ours, but we believe these players may have had a home on your list. Whether you agree or not, it would be great to go back to years past and have some of the NBA All Star game tickets for these players. That alone makes these players relevant to our list in some way.
What Do You Think
Do you agree with our list of best NBA players to ever dunk a ball? Whether you agree or disagree we want to hear from you. Would you have turned this into a top 10 NBA players to ever dunk list?
We understand if you have different opinions on the subject. We all love our hoops and have some serious opinions and feelings about who we feel are the best players of all-time. So don’t be shy, reach out and let us know your thoughts. Maybe they’ll make the list if and when we ever come back to this list and update it.
If you feel the same way about hoops and sports the way we do, make sure to come back and check for more lists and news on the latest and greatest in sports.