Ever since Michigan State basketball was really put on the map in the years Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser were stars on the 1978-1979 team that ended up winning one of the best remembered National Championship games against Indiana State, there have been a lot of great moments.
There was the whole competitive storyline surrounding Magic and Larry Bird, Jud Heathcoate’s illustrious career and then passing the torch to the amazing Tom Izzo, Mateen Cleaves and company winning the National Championship in 2000 and the Spartans’ magical run to Detroit last season.
And along with conference championships, All-Americans and national championships come the moments which are etched in the minds of Michigan State fans—as well as general basketball fanatics.
One such thing is dunks.
A dunk can absolutely blow the roof off a building. Whether it is a player delivering a pass to his teammate for a perfectly timed alley-oop or an amazing athlete soaring through the air and basically dunking on an unsuspecting foe, a dunk can change the game and even history.
Just ask Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter or Julius “Dr. J” Erving. They had jams which shook the very foundation they were gracefully leaping from.
And even though they were (and one still is) NBA players, it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some raunchy dunks in the college game.
So, with the NBA holding its inaugural dunk contest last night (with a weak showing by all participants I might add), I was reminiscing about some of my favorite dunks ever thrown down by Spartans. A few in my head clearly set themselves apart from the rest.
Without further ado, here are my top five dunks by Michigan State hoopsters since 2000.
This slam by Shannon Brown is great not just because of the lift through the air, but also because he abused Penn State's Ben Luber.
Brown didn't go around Luber, nor did he dribble in and try to draw a foul. He went right at him and embarrassed him in front of the packed crowd at the Breslin.
The most recent dunk, Allen goes baseline and gives a facial to a defenseless defender. The game ended up being a blowout in MSU's favor, but the amount of air Allen got is still impressive.
A great way to begin a new decade.
Although Mateen Cleaves' professional career has been a bumpy ride which has fizzled out lately, he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Spartans to ever hit the hardwood.
His alley-oop toss to Morris Peterson in the 2000 NCAA Regional clash against Iowa State was a textbook play calling at its finest. It was a perfect cut by Mo Pete and perfect pass by Cleaves. Excellence.
Where can I start with this nasty dunk? It was a conference game between two teams ranked nationally in the top 10. Maybe even more interesting is the fact that Ohio State's Ken Johnson, who was posterized, was the nation's leading shot blocker when this happened.
That Spartan squad was special and this dunk proves why.
If you are a Michigan State follower, I don't have to tell you why this was the best dunk in the last 10-plus years. The timing, the ferocity and the moment made it simply the best, not to mention that Durrell Summers dunked on an another amazing athlete in Stanley Robinson.
This dunk catapulted MSU back to the national championship game and turned Detroit into a green and white paradise.