There is no greater moment in professional sports than when an elite basketball player gets the ball with a clear path to the hoop. Everyone in the arena knows what comes next: a rim shaking dunk. Still, no matter how exciting the basic dunk is there are still tiers of greatness. Today we are going to look at 25 of the greatest, most exciting dunks EVER!
Vince Carter Goes UP
Vince Carter wasn’t always a scrappy, end of the bench veteran. There used to be a time when VC was the highest flier in the NBA. Here we see vintage Carter going up and over a 7’2 defender. Yeah, those are skills that’ll get you sent a gourmet fruit basket or two.
Amare Stoudemire ruins Anthony Tolliver
Another elite athlete who was slowed down by time is Amare Stoudemire. Once upon a time Stoudemire used to be a force down low. One of our favorite dunks with Stoudemire was when he put Anthony Tolliver on notice with a ferocious dunk while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
T-Mac Levels Shawn Bradley
Man, we miss the days when Tracy McGrady was an elite basketball player. McGrady was probably one of the best in game dunkers of his generation and none of those posters were more memorable than this one. T-Mac leveled Shawn Bradley, who was a decent defender at one point in time, during a playoff game between the Rockets and Mavs. Talk about vicious.
Blake Griffin Slams on Mozgov
As far as competitive games go there really is nothing to note about this moment. Griffin and the Clippers have been the antithesis of the Knicks for the better part of the last decade. In this dunk we see Blake Griffin destroy Timofey Mozgov.
Tom Chambers over Mark Jackson
Let’s throw it back a little bit. Tom Chambers may not be a memorable name for most basketball fans but this dunk will have you changing your tune — especially if you dislike Mark Jackson. Chambvers just keeps rising and rising.
Grant Hill on Alonzo Mourning
Grant Hill looked like an all time great before injuries slowed him down. Here’s a flash of what could have been: a killer crossover with a dominating dunk on big Alonzo Mourning.
DeAndre Jordan Memorializes Brandon Knight
Here’s a note to every point guard out there: if a center comes barreling at you — get out of the way. Brandon Knight could do nothing but watch as DeAndre Jordan put him on one of the most memorable posters in the past couple of years.
Gerald Green: Say No More
Whatever happened to Gerald Green, anyway? Green goes up for the huge alley-oop while part of the New Jersey Nets. Green puts his head above the rim and the rest of the team on his back.
King James Seals the Deal
Watching potentially the best player to ever play basketball put another Hall of Fame talent on a poster is something to watch. Oh, yeah, and it also happened during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This is a thing of beauty to behold. This was during the prime ‘Heatles’ era.
Rose: Take Me HIGHER
Remember when Derrick Rose was an MVP level talent? Goran Dragic does. Here Rose goes up and UP over Phoenix’s poor Goran Dragic. Color commentator Stacey King with one of the best calls ever, right here.
Michael Jordan and Alonzo Mourning
You wouldn’t know it from this list but Alonzo Mourning was actually a decent defender. Here Michael Jordan, the unquestioned greatest of all time, reminds ‘Zo of his place in the basketball world.
LeBron James and Tim Duncan
This is basketball royalty in action. Tim Duncan is probably the best power forward to ever play the game and an elite defender, as well. Still, LeBron goes up and throws down right on Duncan’s face.
Stromile Swift Ruins Tyrus Thomas
Swift and Thomas may have fizzled out of the NBA pretty quickly, but we’ll always remember this incredible dunk. Swift was known as one of the strongest dunkers in the game and you can see him actually bending the rim and mechanical support on this throwdown. DPOY candidate Joakim Noah wisely gets out of the way.
Kobe Bryant: With No Regard
Young Kobe Bryant was probably the most exciting in game dunker that we’ve ever seen. Here we see KB24 put Sprewell on a poster while Kevin Harlan shouts the call, “With no regard for human life!” Enjoy your retirement, Mamba.
Shaq Over Dudley
Shaq and Dudley were probably equals at the charity stripe, but that was bout it. Here we see Shaq show off some crazy footwork with a pair of bumps and a spin move to finish overtop Chris Dudley. Shaq in his prime was probably the most dangerous player that the NBA has ever seen.
LBJ Crashes the JET
Jason Terry and LeBron James have something of a rivalry dating back to when the Mavs beat James in the NBA Finals. Here it looks pretty one sided as LeBron James metaphorically ruins Jason Terry’s life with a vicious poster.
Baron Davis over AK47
Remember when the 8 seeded Warriors overcame the #1 seeded Mavericks in the playoffs? Yeah, along the way Baron Davis put elite defenders like Andre Kirilenko on their backs. Some fond memories here.
Kobe over Dwight
Howard may only be 30 years old but his best years are behind him. This dunk showcases both Kobe and Dwight at better times in their career but it looks like Bryant came out the better. Bryant ignores gravity in order to rise up overtop Dwight Howard. Did we mention that Howard was one of the best defensive big men in the league?
Kemp over Lister
Goodness, do we miss the fire of ’90s NBA games. Shawn Kemp’s reaction after putting Alton Lister on a poster would be worthy of a suspension in today’s league.
Paul George Cements Himself
Paul George and the Indiana Pacers used to be the only thing that could stop the Miami Heat out East but they never got over the hump — getting eliminated in three straight playoffs. Still, George got a shot in with one of the most impressive dunks in modern NBA history. George was immediately given respect by LBJ when the end of the quarter came.
Kevin Johnson over Hakeem
Modern NBA fans are spoiled by athletic point guards. Back during Johnson’s day he was a rare talent. Here we see 6’1 Kevin Johnson putting one of the greatest centers of all time on his own poster.
Kobe Bryant over Yao Ming
Ming was an NBA revolutionary who saw his career cut woefully short due to the types of injuries that 7 footers tend to incur. One of those injuries was a shot straight to his pride: Kobe Bryant goes up over a young Yao Ming to finish with a ferocious slam. There’s something about a 7 ft athlete getting dunked on that is so beautiful.
Pippen Does Ewing Dirty
This is probably one of the most famous dunks of all time and it happened between two of the greatest players in the game. Pippen and the Bulls loathed Ewing and the rest of his squad so seeing Pippen destroy the backboard was a thing of beauty. Pippen even shows some disrespect by stepping over Ewing.
Dr. J over Michael Cooper
Do we even need to analyze this dunk? Doctor J turns Cooper into a ghost, dunking right through him in one of the most dominant slams in the history of the NBA.
Dr. J Posters Bill Walton
The world of professional basketball has no doubt changed since Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving ruled the court. Erving was one of the most complete basketball players of his day and seeing the big man rolling toward the hoop could get your total cholesterol level to spike in anticipation. We’ll kickstart our list with Dr. J putting Bill Walton on his own poster.