Over the next few days, NBA.com will run a three-part series from the latest edition of Inside Stuff magazine highlighting the top dunks and dunkers in the game today. Starting off the dunk-fest is a look at the top five dunks of all-time. Then, we'll move on to the top 10 dunkers on the court today. Finally, Vince Carter will provide the keys to being a good dunker as well as what it feels like to dunk on somebody.
The latest edition of Inside Stuff looks at the top dunks and dunkers in the game today.
The Craziest...The SICKest...THE ILLest ... Remember that one dunk ... the one where he took off from ... where he got up so high ... how he cuffed it and reared back ... where it came out of nowhere ... the way he hung in the air for what seemed like forever ... the way that chap was thoroughly embarrassed when he tried to block it ... when he just rammed it home over that poor dude ... how all the defenders just got out the way ... the one that you thought was unimaginable ... how it made you wanna go out to the park and try it and talk about it with all your friends ... the one that gave you goose bumps and shivers on the replay? We do.
Vince Carter: The French Toast (2000)
VC's physics-defying dunk against the French National Team in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games set the basketball world on fire-the first website to post a video of this dunk crashed within hours due to overwhelming demand. It's one of those clips that you never get tired of watching; it just doesn't seem logical. Yes, he jumped entirely over a seven-footer. But what really astonishes about this play is that Vince took off a couple steps outside the lane. By the time he reached the basket, he had covered a lot of area, both vertically and horizontally. Jason Kidd, who was watching from the Team USA bench, called it the best play he's ever seen. But the baffled looks on GP and KG's faces, two guys who have participated in a lot of dunks over the years, really says it all. We heard that Freddy retired from basketball not long after this, and who can blame him? In his wildest dreams, Dr. James Naismith never could have imagined this.
Shawn Kemp: The Lister Blister (1993)
Alton Lister had a very solid 16-year career in which he averaged 6.6 points and 6.3 boards per game, and blocked 1,473 shots. It's unfortunate then, that he will forever be associated with this particularly nasty play that came during the '93 playoffs, Golden State versus Seattle. Romping through the lane, cuffing the ball, the windmill and the taunt, this dunk has it all: power, athleticism, attitude. Young Shawn Kemp was a destructive force of nature, and at this point in his career had already established himself as a fearsome dunker. Which makes us wonder: Alton, why didn't you take a cue from your Hall of Fame teammate Chris Mullin, and just get out of the way?
John Starks took flight against Horace Grant and Michael Jordan in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals.
Nathaniel S. Butler
Tom Chambers: The Torture Chambers (1989)
Look where Chambers' head is when he finally reaches the rim: he was actually looking down into the basket! This is one of those rare situations in which contact with another player makes the dunker go higher, in this case at the expense of Knicks point guard Mark Jackson [Ed. Note: Who, it should be noted, won Rookie of the Year that season]. Taking the pass on the break from Kevin Johnson, TC could've taken off at the free-throw line and still dunked...This play gets bonus points for Chambers' glorious mullet, which he proudly rocked until his retirement in '98.
John Starks: The Dunk (1993)
It was the annual Knicks-Bulls tussle. Game 2 of the '93 Conference Finals, to be exact. And as always, it was a tight affair going into the final minute-Knicks up three-but the game was decided when Starks turned the right corner from a Patrick Ewing pick-and-roll. The cavalry arrived in the form of Horace Grant and Michael Jordan. Starks went over both Grant and Jordan with his left hand, reaching for the greats of the Garden past hanging on the rafters-Clyde, Reed, Pearl, Holzman and company-to throw down the most famous dunk in Knickerbocker lore. MJ could've hopped on HoGrant's shoulders and it wouldn't have mattered, Starks would've still flushed it for the Garden faithful.
Kevin Johnson: The Bad Dream (1994)
Whether it's on the playground or in the NBA, big men feel a sense of entitlement to the paint. That's where they operate, where they earn their keep; they cede the rest of the court to the guards, but the precious space inside the key belongs to them. So when little men venture into their turf, the giants usually un-invite them by putting them on the floor. Well, this one was for little guys everywhere. Kevin Johnson-all 6-1 of him-was not going to be denied, especially on this day. After beating Kenny Smith on the left baseline, it was all a Dream for KJ. Hakeem Olajuwon stood in front of the basket waiting to serve up one of his nightly block specials. Johnson didn't knock on the big-man door for entry, he kicked it wide open for passage with this monstrous one-handed number over one of the best centers to ever play.