The Evolution of the NBA Poster Prop
As passionate NBA fans, we have witnessed change since day one; the peach basket and leather ball has come a long way.
We have seen the progress of game play and the growth of different hairstyles. And let’s face it; the change hasn't always been for the better.
As caretakers of the wonderful sport, we've stood our ground and protested the ugly, the unjust, and the excessive.
Yes, we have seen change around the NBA. Nevertheless, there has been a low-key development occurring in basketball ever since its birth.
That is the evolution of the poster prop.
Shuffling defensive feet pays off, but it also comes at a huge cost.
Way before Gatorade was scouting for potential celebrities, young men were getting slammed on.
Now, of course, it was a sight to see back then, but it didn't have that "hnnff" like it does today. There were no energizing taunts at the end that made the defender feel like a fool; it was just another two points.
Way before the Jordans and the Wilkins, there was Julius "Dr. J" Erving.
Everyone remembers his fast break "throw down" on Michael Cooper; it was insane. As time would continue during Erving's era, many poster props would begin to smarten up and step aside.
Unfortunately for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he would have to learn the hard way against Joe Bryant.
With Dr. J making poster props run away from ferocious dunks, it proved to be for the safety of the defender.
From the planet Lovetron, Darryl Dawkins would bring fear and terror to the basketball court. He spent tireless offseasons practicing "interplanetary funkmanship," and it happened to pay off.
Rocking the rim is one thing, but shattering the glass is something completely different. One hundred percent power is needed to do such a deed.
Poster props were now considered to stride aside, further exercising Dr. J's lessons.
"Chocolate Thunder Flying, Robinzine Crying, Teeth Shaking, Glass Breaking, Rump Roasting, Bun Toasting, Wham, Bam, Glass Breaker I Am Jam."
100 Percent Original
In the late 80's and early 90's, many defenders started to man up.
Getting a block or taking a charge meant a heck of a lot more than getting dunked on. "Taking one for the team" established a new movement.
In contrast, dunkers started using their god-given abilities and spiced things up with jaw dropping, eye-popping, "piss your pants" dunks.
Players like Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, and James Worthy sparked fear in the heart of many.
The "take one for the team" philosophy was tarnished: The universal term of "poster prop" was established.
There was Nique, Clyde, and Big Game James and then, individually, there was MJ.
It is a no-brainer that Michael Jordan had a huge impact on dunking, but he also had influence on the prop as well.
His hang time was ridiculous. A perfect example of his airtime would have to be the 1987 Dunk Contest. Aerial acrobatics were displayed that night and would be effortlessly transferred to in-game play.
Jordan's dunks on Alonzo Mourning and JB Carol gave him the underground status of "body breaker." The amount of body contact he could take while dunking was incredible.
Jordan alone brought in the "stare" taunt, which added insult to injury for the defender.
Poster props would forever change.
Things are getting a little chippy around here.
This was the era of poster props that I clearly remember. It was the era I grew up in and the era I most desired.
It was where a young Shaq ran up and down the floor with heart and determination. It was where a young Vincanity prepared for takeoff. Where Tracy McGrady didn't have jumper's knee.
Dunking already made outstanding leaps prior to this time, but with the new blood ready to sink their teeth into the game, it was only a matter of time before poster props transformed.
Expressive taunts put fear into competitors' eyes and brought the well-needed swagger to the game of basketball.
Poster props would begin to receive public humiliation from this point forward.
There is no doubt that poster props around the league have come a long way. They've revolutionized the way dunks are analyzed and rated. Without them, dunks lose that extra "wow, that was nasty" quality.
In modern NBA history, victims have made themselves known. Shawn Bradley and Yao Ming are shoo-ins.
But no matter what, the poster prop cannot carry out a nasty dunk.
Facial expressions, vertical, and body position are all vital for a perfect dunk. In this day and age, players need to bring back the raw intensity and power.
Dunk contests are strictly on entertainment. Whatever happened to raising the bar? Hardly any style is involved in today's dunks.
Dunkers, let’s get creative. Poster props, move your feet and take that charge.
Together, we can bring dunks back to the NBA.
You know it’s a good dunk when Marv Albert pisses his pants.