Top 10 Greatest Dunkers In NBA History


From thunderous rim-rattlers to gravity-defying acrobatics, these dunk artists have stretched the boundaries of basketball, etching indelible memories into the sport's annals. Whether through the brute force of a dominant figure like Dwight Howard or the sheer finesse of a player like Jason Richardson, these high-fliers have left an indomitable imprint on the game, one destined to endure through the ages.

But the question looms: who among these aerial virtuosos can rightfully claim the title of the greatest dunker in basketball history? Let's delve into the contenders:

1. Michael Jordan


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When discussions turn to NBA dunkers, Michael Jordan is invariably the first name to spring to mind. Jordan's greatness extended beyond his scoring prowess; it encompassed an unparalleled mastery of the dunk. His ability to defy gravity, hanging in mid-air before thunderous finishes, remains unmatched.

What set Jordan apart was his mid-air contortion, enabling him to execute some of the most iconic dunks in NBA history. The dunk over Patrick Ewing during the 1991 playoffs still reverberates through basketball lore. Jordan's dunking style was a blend of athleticism, creativity, and raw power. His signature "Jumpman" dunk, soaring from the free-throw line, epitomized his effortless acrobatics.

Not confined to contests, Jordan frequently showcased his dunking finesse in-game, memorably posterizing the towering Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990.

2. Vince Carter

Dubbed "Vinsanity" during his prime, Vince Carter was a maestro of high-flying dunks. A human highlight reel, he possessed an uncanny ability to make the impossible appear routine. Carter's 360 windmill dunk in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest stands as an immortalized masterpiece.

His power-packed two-handed jams and authoritative alley-oops left defenders helpless. Carter's impeccable timing allowed for gravity-defying leaps, exemplifying his extraordinary athleticism. His legendary dunk over 7'2" French center Frederic Weis during the 2000 Olympics remains one of the most spectacular in basketball history.

3. Dominique Wilkins

Known as "The Human Highlight Film," Dominique Wilkins was a force to be reckoned with in his prime. His trademark was powerful two-handed dunks, earning him his iconic moniker. Wilkins secured two NBA Slam Dunk Contest victories and engaged in an epic showdown with Michael Jordan in 1988.

Wilkins' dunking prowess extended beyond contests, famously posterizing a young Michael Jordan in 1986. His athleticism, creativity, and grace made him a dunking legend, inspiring generations of fans.

4. Julius Erving

Julius Erving, "Dr. J," pioneered the modern-day dunk. His leaping ability and creativity led to some of the most breathtaking dunks in NBA history. The cradle dunk during the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest is eternally etched in memory, as is his behind-the-backboard dunk in a 1983 game against the Lakers.

Erving's dunking repertoire featured a wide array of dunks, from powerful slams to graceful reverses. His iconic "Rock the Cradle" dunk, launching from the free-throw line and cradling the ball mid-air, was a testament to his athleticism and flair.

5. Kobe Bryant


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Kobe Bryant wasn't just a scoring machine; he was also a master of the dunk. Winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest with an array of impressive dunks, including a reverse windmill, highlighted his versatility. Kobe's iconic reverse alley-oop in the 1997 NBA All-Star Game earned him his first All-Star Game MVP award.

6. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin brought unparalleled power and explosiveness to NBA dunks. His combination of size, strength, and athleticism resulted in some of the most stunning dunks ever witnessed. Griffin's 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest win featured a 360-degree spin and a reverse two-handed dunk over a car.

Griffin's dunking style was distinguished by creativity, including memorable moments like jumping over Kia cars and donning a Superman cape for a dunk.

7. LeBron James

LeBron James, a dominant force in NBA history, is also a formidable dunker. His size, strength, and athleticism enable him to execute impressive dunks with unparalleled authority. His one-handed alley-oop over Jason Terry in 2013 remains a topic of discussion.

8. Jason Richardson

Jason Richardson, a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner, was renowned for his athleticism. His signature between-the-legs dunk, performed effortlessly in 2003, showcased his creativity.

Richardson's dunking brilliance wasn't limited to contests; he frequently exhibited his skills during games, notably posterizing 7'6" Yao Ming in 2005.

9. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard is known for finishing with authority. His thunderous dunks epitomize raw power. The "Superman" dunk, complete with a cape, remains iconic for its creativity.

10. Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson, standing at only 5'9", defied expectations with his leaping ability and creativity. Three-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion, Robinson's dunks captivated audiences with their sheer audacity.

In 2006, he donned a New York Knicks jersey and soared over 6'11" David Lee, cementing his legend with a perfect score of 50.

The debate for the greatest dunker continues, but one thing is certain: these athletes have elevated the art of dunking to new heights, leaving an enduring legacy in the world of basketball.




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