Phoenix Suns: Ranking the Top 5 in-Game Dunks in Franchise History
For over 40 years now, the art of dunking has brought excitement to fans of Phoenix Suns basketball. From Connie Hawkins to Larry Nance to Amar'e Stoudemire, emphatic dunks have always animated the crowd at the U.S Airways Center.
Now, let's jump back in time for a moment and relive those amazing moments. Here are the best in-game dunks in franchise history.
Honorable Mention: Larry Nance over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
This dunk is too often overrated as one of the best dunks ever, but it is extremely impressive nonetheless. Nance easily skies to the basket over 7'2" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest shot-blockers in NBA history, making the dunk even sweeter.
This arrangement of dunks is the only footage available, but the dunk I'm talking about starts at about the 0:15 mark.
Nance was one of the first NBA big men to put down vicious slams, and his dunks have been re-used by many other players since his time. In addition to being one of the best Phoenix Suns players in franchise history, Nance is most famous for participating in the 1984 Slam Dunk Contest, where his one-handed cradle and windmill dunks stole the show.
Nance won that day despite going up against legends like Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and Clyde Drexler, among others. Nance's athletic dunking ability also earned him the nickname "The High-Ayatolla of Slamola".
Honorable Mention: Shawn Marion Posterizes Al Harrington
This dunk is a real gem I stumbled upon from back when Shawn Marion was still in the early stages of his career. On the fast break, Marion gets the pass from Chris Dudley and immediately launches into the air from just outside the restricted area, almost completely clearing the body of Al Harrington and knocking him to the ground. And yes, he did make the free throw. Marion finished that game with 27 points and 17 rebounds.
Marion may be on his decline now, but many are quick to forget that he was a star for the Suns in the early '00s. Although he never participated in a slam dunk contest, his leaping ability and athleticism combined with his immense power made him one of the most vicious dunkers in the league.
5. Tom Chambers Dunks on Three Hall of Famers
Chambers was easily one of the quickest and most athletic big men in the NBA during his time, and he shows it in this play. The 6'10" forward blows right by Larry Bird and then proceeds to dunk on a couple of defensive juggernauts in Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. In one play, Chambers takes down the entire Celtics big three.
Chambers didn't commit his whole career to Phoenix, but he had some dominant seasons for the Suns. This dunk came on a 1989 trip to Boston, the same season that Chambers averaged 27.2 points and seven rebounds a game en route to an All-Star Game appearance and All-NBA second team honors.
4. Amar'e Stoudemire Posterizes Anthony Tolliver
Amar'e Stoudemire has done this to a lot of people. He has victimized Adonal Foyle, Josh Smith and Michael Olowokandi, to name a few. But this is by far his best work to date.
Stoudemire gets the pass from Richardson on the fast break and completely disregards Anthony Tolliver's presence there as he throws down a vicious dunk. After that, he walks past the baseline and only embraces the shouting of the Warriors fans.
Stoudemire had a game-high 37 points in that game on 12-of-15 shooting. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Suns took the lead from that point on and won the game, 133-131.
3. Kevin Johnson over Hot Rod Williams
In what was rated the 23rd most spectacular dunk of all time by FSN, the greatest point guard ever to wear a Suns uniform not named Steve Nash throws down an insane dunk over John "Hot Rod" Williams. Johnson is only 6'1", so to dunk over a 6'11" center is extremely impressive. He even gets a piggyback ride on the way down while still holding onto the rim.
Johnson and Williams would later be teammates in Phoenix for three seasons in the late '90s. I wonder how often that play came up in their conversations with each other.
2. Chambers Jumps over Mark Jackson
Speaking of that FSN list, the Suns are represented again with this nasty Tom Chambers dunk. Chambers takes the pass on a fast break and leaps over Mark Jackson several feet from the basket, while Jackson can do nothing except get a mouthful of Chambers' knee. No charge, just one spectacular play. This dunk was ranked sixth all-time from FSN and even gets an endorsement from Chris Webber.
Dunking on the Celtics' big three is obviously nice, but this is just insane. I still don't know how Chambers is able to jump so high into the air despite being a big man. All I know is it must have something to do with his awesome mullet.
1. Kevin Johnson Destroys Hakeem Olajuwon
Chambers had a great dunk for sure, but it can't top this masterpiece from Kevin Johnson. Hot Rod Williams was 6'11", but Hakeem is not only seven feet tall, but also one of the best defensive players in the history of the NBA.
It takes a lot of strength and a huge vertical to be able to perform a facial dunk on Olajuwon, but KJ pulls it off here. Sure, it was late in the game and the Suns had already lost, but still, look at the reaction from the fans and the bench! This gave Suns fans something to cheer about, not only then, but even after the Suns had dropped the series despite an early 2-0 lead.
You won't see this type of dunk from a 6'1" player that often, and that not only makes this dunk the best in Phoenix Suns history, but also one of the greatest of all time.