The 5 Most Amazing Dunkers in Los Angeles Lakers History
From playing at the Great Western Forum to the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers have had many spectacular dunkers.
These high-flying basketball acrobats range from so-so players off the bench to some of the very best talents ever to have set foot on the hardwood.
Windmills, tomahawks, sledgehammers, 360's and more lie ahead, delivered by men from the 1940's all the way through today.
But for our purposes, guys who were just dunkers won't be here. I don't like to reward all-flash and no-substance players. Ahem, Shannon Brown.
So, strap yourself in and prepare for the Lakers' most amazing dunkers!
Vern Mikkelsen and Jim Pollard
Before getting into the standard bearers for amazing Los Angeles Lakers dunkers, we do have to pay homage to their forefathers.
While the Lakers were in Minneapolis, they had two forwards with amazing springs in their legs: Vern Mikkelsen (pictured) and Jim Pollard. These Hall of Famers definitely had the hops to flush dunks with regularity; it's just that, back in the 1940's and 1950's, dunking was frowned upon...especially any flashy dunk.
So these two rarely did so in game despite their fast feet and pogo stick abilities.
Most amazingly, Pollard (nicknamed "The Kangaroo Kid") was able to dunk from the free throw line in practice sessions and warmups. But never in a game.
That'd be hot doggin' it.
Although Wilt's youthful floor-running speed had diminished by the time he joined the Lakers in 1968-69, his powerful hammering dunks had not.
Nicknamed "the Big Dipper," one of Wilt's signature dunks was to just simply rise with the ball in one hand, arm fully extended and just flush it through. It looked somewhat like the Statue of Liberty come alive.
The more devastating Wilt dunk, though, was the two-handed pile drive. Either off an offensive rebound or catch in the low post, Chamberlain would take one power dribble, turn and just smash through a dunk. The whole goal would shake, and the ball would often bounce 10 feet back into air.
Along with Gus Johnson of the Baltimore Bullets, Wilt was at the forefront of simply bullying and terrifying opponents with the dunk.
Byron Scott and Michael Cooper
Amidst the showtime of Los Angeles in the 1980's were two minions of magic: Byron Scott and Michael Cooper. So in sync were these two on the court that I'm treating them as one.
Cooper was more of the passing, facilitating type and was rail thin at 6'5", 170 pounds, but that just made it easier for him to slink through the defense and deliver the jam. Meanwhile, Scott was only 6'3" but could definitely get up to throw down vicious dunks.
However, both were terrific wing defenders, which led to many breakaway dunks from their numerous steals. They could also hit the three-point shot with excellent accuracy and would catch alley-oops from opposing teams and simply speed down the floor with the dribble to finally deliver their sinewy slams.
Also, notice the high socks. It's all in the high socks, baby.
The goggled North Carolina Tar Heel alum really only had one type of dunk, but when it's this good, it gets you on the list.
James Worthy's Chamberlain/Statue of Liberty-esque one-hand slams were simply electric.
With hands like an eagle's talon, Worthy could just rise...and rise...and rise...and rise, seemingly forever, to dunk upon any foolish defender trying to stuff his stuff.
Seriously, I've never seen a James Worthy dunk attempt foiled by a defender. It's impossible.
I think it's safe to say most people are familiar with Kobe Bryant's dunking ability. There's even a pair of videos on YouTube where, for 20 minutes, you can watch the 100 greatest dunks of Kobe Bryant's career.
That may be a bit over the top in terms of fan dedication, but Kobe definitely produced the material over the years to create such a digitized temple of acrobatic dunking fluency.
Aesthetically, he's the perfect height and size to please the eye when watching him dunk. Not too tall where it looks oh so simple, but not so short where it's almost comical.
Nothing funny about the Bean when the throws it down. Simply amazing.
Now, after having just lionized Kobe's dunks, it's important to remember he arrived in Los Angeles right on the heels of another stupendous dunker from the shooting guard spot: Eddie Jones.
This cat with the perfectly trimmed mustache could thrill and chill with his sublimely killer dunks.
And sublime they were.
He never really showed a hint of emotion while perpetrating the slams, even afterwards, while teammates (particularly Nick Van Exel) would be in ecstasy at the sight they'd just seen. Eddie just went out and did his business like it was nothing.
Dunking all up in your face was a foregone conclusion. What else was supposed to happen?
My condolences to Shawn Bradley for his unfortunate and utter humiliation by Mr. Jones in this video.