Throwback Thursday: The Top 10 NBA Dunkers of All-Time

5 Apr

We’re back!!! Thanks for being patient with us fans. We’ve got a ton of articles coming out in junction with the last dozen or so games of the shortened NBA season. We’re starting a new weekly set of articles where every Thursday we Throw It Back to honor past and present players of the NBA. 

Dunking in basketball is like scoring a goal in soccer or hockey, catching a touchdown pass in football, or hitting a home run in baseball. It’s what all the fans want to see. It’s the centerpiece of any/all highlight reels, and it’s the biggest WOW factor in the NBA today. Throwing it back some, we’re here to cover what we think are the Top Ten players to ever do it above the rim.  The list is mixed with familiar names of the past, and some players still doing it today, enjoy Hardwood Life’s first Throwback Thursday. 

10. Clyde Drexler – There’s a reason Clyde Drexler’s nickname is Clyde the “Glide” Drexler. He’s an NBA legend and was arguably MJ’s closest rival at the SG position (If he ever had one) let’s give it up for Clyde who threw down some smooth jams back in his days with the Houston Rockets & Portland Trailblazers. 

9. Shawne Kemp – Teamed up with NBA legend Gary Payton, the Seattle Supersonics of old were a force of nature in the Western Conference from the mid to late 90’s. Shawne Kemp was the brawn to match Payton’s genius at the PG position, and succeeded in throwing down some thunderous (no pawn intended OKC) jams.

8. Julius Erving – Dr. J or “The Doctor” was the father of the NBA Jam. He revolutionized a sport where dunking wasn’t 100% encouraged or accepted. He changed the game, for the better, and created some of the most memorable and unique dunks of his generation. Dr. J was a teacher of the NBA dunk, and everyone who came after him, a student. 

7. Kobe Bryant – It’s hard to not compile a least of anything Top Ten without having Kobe’s name pop up. We still have the privilege of watching this future Hall-0f-Famer- play every other night, but many may not remember a time when Kobe wore #8, had a medium sized afro, and THREW IT DOWN! 

6. Jason Richardson – Everyone knows his performances in the ’02 & ’03 dunk contests, his reverse between the legs dunk will forever be sketched into my head. Jay Rich defied originality when he combined the likes of Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter along with his own style into a few unforgettable dunks. 

5. Lebron James – LBJ was throwing down high flying windmill dunks in high school, so now, as a seasoned NBA veteran, of course he needs to be on this list. The only reason he isn’t any higher is his originality, while his dunks are absurd and theres nothing better than watching him finish off a lob from D-wade, his repertoire or WOW factor just isn’t as dense as the next five players. 

4. Dominique Wilkins – The powerhouse of the 1980’s and 1990’s in Atlanta, ‘Nique threw down some of the hardest dunks known to mankind. His raw power combined with his leaping ability was truly something to marvel, and there’s nothing better than watching his old showdowns with MJ during the All-Star Weekends of late. 

3. Michael Jordan – The best to ever do it, if MJ wasn’t busy owning the Charlotte Bobcats, he’d be working for NASA. There’s a reason R. Kelly’s hit soundtrack from Space Jam (Check out top ten basketball movies after this article) is titled “Fly Like an Eagle”. The man could just fly. He was able to stay above the rim longer than anyone else who challenged him up there. MJ gets the #3 spot for simply defying gravity. 

2. Blake Griffin – No explanation needed here folks. When all is said and done, Blake Griffin will have comprised a highlight reel longer than Titanic’s three and a half hour run-time. Never has a someone so big and built had such incredible jumping ability. Bad Blake is the most powerful dunker to play in the NBA and it’s only his second year in the league. Damn. 

1. Vince Carter – When Kobe Bryant is quoted as admitting Vince Carter as the best dunker of all-time, who are we to argue. Well we can’t, because we absolutely 100 percent agree. VC back in Toronto and his early NJ Nets years had some of the most mind blowing dunks we’ve ever/will ever see. Whether it’s that alley-oop pass he catches and turns into a windmill or the Olympic games where he literally dunks over a 7 footer, I just don’t think anyone will ever rival his insane jumping ability with his ability to shift his body in midair to perform circus like stunts. What he’s done both in-game and dunk contest wise, is the stuff made of legends. Vince Carter, we bow down to you. If you don’t read ANY of this article, watch Vince Carter’s highlights clip. It will blow you away. Plain and Simple.  



3 Responses to “Throwback Thursday: The Top 10 NBA Dunkers of All-Time”

  1. Andrew Kennedy April 7, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

    Hey man,

    Just came across your blog and really enjoyed reading your NBA stuff. We currently have quite a few NBA writing openings on the FanSided network, and I think you’d be a great addition to our team. If you’d be interesting in contributing for one of our team sites or general NBA sites, let me know and we can discuss further details. If you are interested send me an email at



  1. Throwback Thursday : Top 5 Crossover Artists of All-Time « Hardwood Life - April 26, 2012

    […] Throwback Thursday, we covered the Top Ten All-Time Dunkers –… This week, we move onto the second most popular of NBA highlights. The legendary crossover. […]

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