The Top 10 Dunk Artists in Today’s Game
Who are the Best Dunkers in Today's Game?
The NBA is bigger, stronger and faster than its ever been. Because of this most recent trend in superstar athletes dominating the basketball court, we have got the immense pleasure of watching some of the most powerful and creative dunks ever witnessed in the game today.
Players like Julius Erving aka "Dr. J," Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan set down the foundation for what it means to fly through the air at a tremendous rate of speed and throw the ball through the cylinder with such authority that it shakes the entire backboard.
As we have progressed through the years of this sport and the Slam Dunk Contest was introduced to the NBA All-Star weekend in 1984, players have been trying to outdo the previous champion ever since. From Erving and Jordan leaping from the free-throw line to Vince Carter and Jason Richardson putting the ball through their legs while rotating 360 degrees; we've seen it all, or so we thought.
But it's not all about the competition, for some of the best dunks we've ever seen have been performed in the middle of an intense battle between two worthy adversaries. I mean, I can't even count how many times we've seen Blake Griffin absolutely posturize his defender by slamming it down their throat in the middle of a game.
The slam dunk is a beautiful thing, and those who have perfected this craft are an absolute delight to watch. I can only imagine what the future of NBA dunkers will bring to the game. But for now, we count down the top 10 dunkers in today's majestic game.
10. Vince Carter
Although many consider Vince Carter to be the best dunker of all-time, at the age of 36, "Vincanity" can't quick jump like he used to. However, in his days with the Toronto Raptors, Carter was the alpha and the omega when it came to the art of dunking. Winning his only Slam Dunk Contest in 2000, Carter introduced us to the "honey-dip," where he stuck his entire forearm in the rim after throwing it down, displaying his pure strength and incredible leaping ability. He was only three points shy of receiving a perfect score in that competition. Although he is becoming a little less agile in his old age, Carter still shows us from time to time where he got his nickname.
9. Dwight Howard
I'm sure we can all remember the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest when Dwight Howard put on his famous "Superman" cape and flew through the air like our favorite superhero. Howard has won one of the three slam dunk competitions he's competed in. And he is one of the last true big-men to participate in such a competition, demonstrating how power and pizazz can go a long way. Superman displayed his talent yet again in the 2009 competition when he dunked on a 12-foot rim. Say what you will about his likability, but there is no doubt that Mr. Howard has no kryptonite.
8. Nate Robinson
Posted at 5-foot-9, Nate Robinson towers over his competition as he has two slam dunk championships to stand on. It is absolutely astounding that a man of his height has the ability to dunk the basketball. And not only that, but destroy his physically-superior competitors by leaping up and over them. Nate has posturized men more than a foot taller than him and will continue to do so until the day he retires. We all need to take a step back and bow down to "Nate the Great."
7. J.R. Smith
Last season's Sixth Man of the Year is known predominantly as a three-point clutch shooter, especially when the game is on the line. But we can't forget how J.R. Smith was initially recognized for his talent. Although J.R. has competed in two Slam Dunk Contest's and has never won, he left us with some magnificent dunks to remember. He is the perfect mix of power and creativity as he can throw it down on seven-footers while also containing the ability to incorporate a variety of different techniques in throwing down some showstoppers as well. J.R. could be a star of the future if he can continues to mature.
6. DeMar Derozan
This up-and-coming star has showed us his skills in consecutive dunk competitions where he finished a close second to Nate Robinson in 2010 and was third in 2011. He is probably the least well-known of our current dunk artists, but he is a player to watch on the fast break with a full head of steam.
5. Russell Westbrook
Although his fashion sense is questionable, his ability to fly through the air and slam it home is definitely not. As Russell Westbrook is yet to compete in a Slam Dunk Contest, it is still in doubt if he ever will. But there is no doubt that he would be an absolute treat to watch, as he's incredibly athletic and can throw it down with tremendous force. Now if he can just stray away from those leather t-shirts that are weighing him down, he might just be able to jump that much higher.
4. Blake Griffin
This man needs no introduction as he has become the poster-child for posturizing his opponent in the past few years. Blake Griffin has the ability to leap so high above his competitors that he literally throws it in the rim. We all can remember one, if not all of his jams on Timothy Mozgov, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka; because they will certainly never forget. This behemoth man-animal is such a force down low that he is truly unstoppable once he is in the air, and the best course of action is to just get out of his way. Just ask those who didn't.
3. Terrence Ross
With our most recent slam-dunk champion, we find Terrence Ross, as he stopped Jeremy Evans from winning his second consecutive slam-dunk championship in the past two years. At the tender age of 22, Ross is sure to be showing us his dunking ability well into the future.
2. LeBron James
With probably the best all-around game in the NBA today, it's no doubt that LeBron James covets the No. 2 spot on our list. With the relative ease that James seems to find his way to the rim, it's no surprise that he dunks the ball almost every time he approaches the cylinder. I'm sure we can all remember last season when he leapt over Josh Lucas of the Chicago Bulls , or this season with his powerful throw down on Jason Terry, previously of the Boston Celtics. Truly, the list of his mesmerizing dunks can go on for days, but the true question remains as to when he will compete in a dunk contest. We can only hope he'll participate in just one for our viewing pleasure.
1. DeAndre Jordan
The No. 1 spot may come as surprise to some, but as DeAndre Jordan threw down the best dunk of the year, I had to give credit where credit is given due. For those of you living under a rock for the past year and missed Jordan's dunk on Brandon Knight, it was the epitome of what a posturization is supposed to look like. He literally threw it down on Knight so hard that I thought he was going to bust out in tears. For as monumental as that dunk was, we can only hope he continues to give us more glorious dunks of that caliber in the future.