Cleveland Cavaliers: The Top 5 Most Amazing Dunkers in Team History
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had some pretty incredible dunkers fly through their organization. Everyone thinks of the obvious one, the guy whose picture graces this article, but once you move past LeBron James, there are a number of other great dunkers that have played their best ball in a Cleveland uniform and thrown down their fair share of explosive jams.
Let's take a look at the four worthy of gracing this list next to the obvious No. 1 choice.
5. Ron Harper
Ron Harper had some nice dunks before injuries took their toll.
Ron Harper really was robbed of what could have been a highlight-factory career. But before the injuries had completely taken their toll, he had some pretty nice dunks as a member of the Cavs. Many will remember what he became later in his career—a defensive player who lacked elevation—but his dunks in the video included show what he could do in his days with the Cavaliers, when he still had a lot of elevation left.
The dunk at 29 seconds in the video, and also the dunks at 0:46 and 0:56, show what he did in his early Cleveland days, and just about any time he pops up in a Cavs uniform thereafter, he's doing something cinematic. If you're looking for exciting dunks in other uniforms, you won't see quite as many. He put on quite a show in the 1987 Slam Dunk Contest and '89 Dunk contest, too.
4. Gerald Wilkins
Like Nique, Gerald could do his thing.
For those of you who read my Top Five Hawks Dunkers of All-Time, this name will sound familiar.
Is it possible to be the brother of one of the best dunkers in NBA history and not be at least a pretty good one yourself?
Apparently not, because Wilkins, while not as good as Dominique, still put down some show stoppers. He got off the floor very well and at 6'6" was able to do a lot of dunks and participated in the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest, which was won by Spud Webb.
The reverse cradle windmill dunk he does at 0:24 in this video of the '86 Dunk Contest is eerily reminiscent of his 'Nique, and he skies over a chair at 1:06 that appears to offer all the elevation of a jump that would clear a person, as they've begun doing in recent years. Because it's hard not to mention Dominique, he's in the video too, showing Gerald up, as usual. Dominique's dunk at 2:20 makes Gerald's look pretty paltry, and that really wasn't even 'Nique's best material.
I guess we should just give Gerald his due on his own, though, because he did out-hang Jordan, and looked pretty Jordan-esque on this dunk.
3. Larry Nance
Nance won the NBA's first dunk contest.
Larry Nance had his best dunks as a member of the Phoenix Suns, when he participated in the dunk contest. Still, he was about as exciting as a 6'10" power forward can be, since there is an element of everything looking easier when done by a big guy.
Nance had a 40-inch vertical leap, and when you're 6'10", that's going to put your arms pretty high above the rim, as you can tell by the video I posted of Nance putting on an exhibition. Nance won the first NBA slam dunk contest in 1984 while with the Suns.
He was a lot like Shawn Kemp a decade earlier, and I don't mean Shawn Kemp as the player he became when he actually got to the Cavs, which is why you don't see Kemp in this slideshow.
Nance was the best big man dunker in Cavs history; and while we're at it, he was an amazing shot blocker, too, as the featured video demonstrates.
2. Ricky Davis
Ricky Davis kept (some) fans in seats until the Cavs won the first pick in 2003...
Before there was LeBron James, there was Ricky Davis. Then, there was LeBron James, and there was just absolutely no room for Ricky Davis.
Now, you'll hear bitter Cleveland fans lamenting the fact that they feel Davis was better than "Queen James" (their words) to begin with, but once you leave Cleveland, Ricky Davis is nothing more than a guy who many said was a head case and once chased a triple double by shooting off the wrong rim.
Throw those memories out, because Davis did have some memorable dunks, and we're trying to remember the positives here, and Davis gave Cavs fans some great dunks. In fact, if you're not paying close attention, some of his dunks actually look like LeBron James dunks.
For all he was or wasn't as a player…he's looking down into the rim as he dunks it at 0:29 and kept fans excited until the Cavs eventually let him go in favor of someone who had true legendary status, instead of just legendary dunking status.
It's hard to put Davis ahead of Nance, given Nance's place in Cavs' fans hearts, but if you watch the footage, it's hard to dispute.
1. LeBron James
LBJ's top 10 dunks ever...
I guess it's no surprise to see a guy with a 44-inch vertical leap atop this list. For all the city of Cleveland may feel about LeBron James, the guy soars off the floor and is electrifying. They may hate him now, but there was a time at which his dunks were igniting their home crowd and keeping the Cavs exciting and on national TV.
Fast-forward to the present, and that job is delegated to Kyrie Irving, but something tells me deep in their hearts, Cleveland fans still wish it were King James. The only thing missing from James' dunk resume is an actual slam dunk contest championship, but we know he'll never subject himself to the chance of losing to an up-and-comer trying to make a name for himself, since that is what the dunk contest has truly become since the days when it used to have the top names in the game. So it goes.
For the meantime, enjoy his top ten dunks ever, and who knows, maybe we'll see a pay-per-view dunk contest between James and Dwight Howard someday, since it's doubtful we ever see No. 6 in the actual dunk contest.
That brings me to my next question: Who would win a dunk contest between Howard and James?