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Michael Jordan Owns The NBA Vertical Jump: Where's Carter and Kobe?

Rich FernandesCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2010

Michael Jordan Owns The NBA Vertical Jump: Where's Carter and Kobe?

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    NBA history's highest vertical leaperRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Michael Jordan "stomps the yard" when it comes to the highest vertical leap in NBA history.  No wonder he was able to put basketball fans on the edge of their seats, holding their collective breadths, as he flew through the air.  Just how high was Air Jordan's vertical leap?  Where do other great NBA stars rank in this category while compared to His Airness?   

    The vertical leap is the measurement of a player’s jump from a standing position.  A high vertical leap usually transcends into a higher running leap.  The higher the player can jump, the more ferocious and spectacular is his dunk.

    What made or makes talented jumpers like Jordan, Dr. J, and Vince Carter exciting to watch is the use of slow-motion replay.  No other league is better suited for this amazing technology than the NBA.  The original jump happens too quickly to truly appreciate, but in slow-motion replay, the player appears to be gracefully soaring through the air as if taking off on a trans-atlantic flight.  It is an allusion that drives fans crazy!  Its electrifying!

    This slideshow is a tribute to Michael Jordan, and ten other NBA stars who were also phenomenal leapers in their own right.  It also includes an "honorable mention" section that, low and behold, includes some NBA players (while not stars) could actually out jump some of the ranked NBA stars!  Be warned however, because you will experience high turbulence caused by a rollercoaster surprise ending. 

    Are you ready?  OK then, we have takeoff!

     

    MUST READ:

    Michael Jordan and the Lords of the Rings

#10 Julius Erving, AKA Dr. J

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    In the beginning there was Dr. J.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  41 inches

    Height:  6 ft 7

    Slam Dunk Titles:   None

    Years Played:  1971 -1987

    Teams:  New York Nets, Philadelphia 76ers

    Major Achievements  1 NBA championship, 1 MVP award, 1 of the 50 greatest players of all time,     perennial all-star

    Bio and More Stat's: 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Erving

    You tube Replay: 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbQKzTg0SPI

    Bottom Line:  Erving’s 41 inch vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 1 inch below the rim and a whole 7 inches lower than His Airness.  Dr. J was the first spectacular "showoff jumper dunker" in the NBA.  He was an inspiration to future NBA jumpers including Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan.  I wonder if the good Dr. makes house calls to the International Space Station?

#9 Dominique Wilkins: The Human Highlight Film

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    After Dr. J there was Dominique WilkinsTim DeFrisco/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  42 inches

    Height:  6 ft. 8

    Slam Dunk Titles:  1985, 1990

    Years Played:  1982-1994

    Teams:  Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic

    Major Achievements  NBA scoring champion (1986), perennial all-star

    Bio and More Stat's: 

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominique_Wilkins

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyUf-9ruJi8 

    Bottom Line  Wilkins’ 42 inch (6 inches less than Jordan’s) vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 2 inches above the rim and a whole 4 inches lower than His Airness.  He spent much of his career in the shadow of Jordan, but was so good he should be in the top 50 players of all time.  Wilkins was a true Hawk.. a bird of prey who soared over other birds before dunking on them.  Poor Larry Bird!

#8 Tracy McGrady, AKA T-Mac

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  42 inches

    Height:  6 ft. 8

    Slam Dunk Titles:  None

    Years Played:  1997-Present

    Teams:  Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, NY Knicks, Detroit Pistons

    Major Achievements:  2 x NBA scoring champion 2003 and 2004, perennial all-star

    Bio and More Stat's: 

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracy_McGrady

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95hd7XpZphA

    Bottom Line:  McGrady’s 42 inch (6 inches less than Jordan’s) vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 2 inches above the rim, and a whole 4 inches lower than His Airness.  McGrady was one of the most explosive scorers the game has ever seen.  Unfortunately he has lost a step or two, which is sad since he's about the same age as Kobe who is still flourishing.  If T-Mac and his cousin, Vince Carter stayed in Toronto they might have a championship.  Too bad they flew the coup!

#7 Vince Carter, AKA Vinsanity

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  43 inches

    Height:  6 ft. 6

    Slam Dunk Titles:  2000

    Years Played:  1998 - Present 

    Teams:  Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic

    Major Achievements:  perennial all-star

    Bio and More Stat's:   

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Carter

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf4H3OR-7IE&NR=1

    Bottom Line:  Carter’s 43 inch (5 inches less than Jordan’s) vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 1 inches above the rim and a whole 5 inches lower than His Airness.  Big surprise here because most people would have thought Carter would be at the top of this list!     

#6 Clyde Drexler, Aka Clyde The Glide

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  43 inches

    Height:  6 ft. 7

    Slam Dunk Titles:  None

    Years Played:  1983 -1998

    Teams:  Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets

    Major Achievements:  NBA championship (1995 Rockets), perennial all-star, 1 of 50 greatest players  

    Bio and More Stat's:  

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Drexler

    You tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvjJA93Xy9Y&NR=1

    Bottom Line:  Drexler’s 43 inch vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 2 inches above the rim and 4 inches lower than His Airness.  Unfortunately for Drexler, as good as he was, he spent much of his career gliding in Jordan’s shadow.

#5 Nate Robinson, Aka Krypto-Nate

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Vertical leap:  43.5 inches

    Height:  5 ft. 9

    Slam Dunk Titles:  3 x champion 2006, 2009, 2010

    Years Played:  2005 - Present

    Teams:  New York Knicks, Boston Celtics

    Major Achievements:  Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (2005)

    Bio and More Stat's:   

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nate_Robinson

    You Tube Replay: 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3WJJYpE988

    Bottom Line:  Robinson’s 43.5 inch vertical leap puts the top of his head only 5 inches below the rim and like Web, an incredible feat for someone so short.  Actually 5 ft 9 is supposed to be average height... but definitely midget status in the freakish NBA where even Dwayne Wade (6 ft. 4) is considered short!

#4 LeBron James, AKA King James

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  44 inches

    Height:  6 ft. 8 

    Slam Dunk Titles:  2010

    Years Played:  2003 - Present

    Teams:  Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat

    Major Achievements:  2 x League MVP (2009,2010), Scoring Title (2008), perennial all-star 

    Bio and More Stat's: 

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebron_james

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-9TAoPPgKQ

    Bottom Line:  James’ 44 inch (4 inches less than Jordan’s) vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 4 inches above the rim and only two inches lower than His Airness.  This takes into account James’ 2 inch height advantage over Jordan.  Lebron is a beast, but not the biggest beast in the sky!  Not sure what all the fuss has been about Lebron this past summer, because the dude is built for flying south!

#3 Bernard King

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Vertical Leap:  46 inches

    Height:  6 ft. 7

    Slam Dunk Titles:  None

    Teams:  New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Washington Bullets

    Major Achievements:  NBA scoring champion, perennial all-star, 60 greatest players of all time

    Bio and More Stat's: 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_King

    You Tube Replay:  

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnThwmNBvfc&NR=1&feature=fvwp  

    Bottom Line:  King’s just under 4 foot vertical leap put the top of his head a full 5 inches above the rim and only one inch lower than His Airness.  King had 5 high scoring glorious years with the Knicks before breaking his leg and losing his explosive jumping power.  He was a scoring machine!  Unfortunately also for King, he spent much of his productive years in Michael Jordan's shadow.

#2 Anthony Webb, AKA Spud Web

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Height:  5 foot 7 inches

    Vertical Leap:  46 inches

    Slam Dunk Titles: 1986

    Years Played:  1985 - 1998

    Teams:  Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic

    Major Achievements:  Playing in the NBA at a height of 5 foot 7

    Bio and More Stat's:   

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spud_Webb

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1hFK24B0VE

    Bottom Line:  Web’s just under 4 foot vertical leap put the top of his head only 5 inches below the rim, an incredible feat for someone so short.  This dude's 2 inches shorter than Nate Robinson!  Like Nate, playing in the NBA at this height is extremely rare. 

#1 Darrel Griffith, Aka Dr. Dunkenstein

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    Vertical Leap:  48 inches

    Height:  6 foot 4 inches

    Slam Dunk Titles:  None

    Years Played:  1981 - 1993

    Teams:  Utah Jazz

    Major Achievements:  Rookie of the Year, Jazz retired his number

    Bio and More Stat's:   

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darrell_Griffith

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bAkaSw_sYY

    Bottom Line:  Never heard of this dude, but a 4 foot (48") vertical leap puts him on the freaking moon!  His vertical leap is as high as Jordan's!  That puts the top of his head a full 4 inches above the rim and only two inches lower than His Airness.  Who is this guy? ! 

     

     

     

     

     

     

Air Jordan: Owner Of The NBA Vertical Leap Crown

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    Vertical Leap:  48 inches

    Height:  6 foot 6 inches

    Slam Dunk Titles:  1987, 1988

    Years Played:  1984 - 2003 (with two retirements in between)

    Teams:  Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards

    Major Achievements:  Way too many to list.  See link below.

    Bio and More Stat's:   

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_jordan

    You Tube Replay: 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8M2NgjvicA 

    Bottom Line:  Jordan’s incredible full 4 foot vertical leap put the top of his head 6 inches above the rim and the bottom of his feet higher than the rest of our NBA studs.  Rocketship Jordan  jumps 5 inches higher than Vince Carter, 4 inches higher than James, and an incredible 20 inches higher than the NBA average.  Only Dr. Dunkenstein (who?!) on the previous slide can jump as high, but he loses 2 inches to Jordan on height.  Michael Jordan had an amazing career that overshadowed many great players, including some mentioned here.   You're a mean dude Michael!  You gotta stop looking down on people because its not nice.

GROUNDED! Three Notorious Dunkers Who Can't Make The 40" Vertical Leap Club!

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    All flights are grounded!

    Wow... this one is a big surprise!  Both Kobe Bryant's and Dwayne Wade's vertical leaps are less than 40 inches.  No 40 inch vertical leap club for you!

    Kobe Bryant:  Vertical Leap of 38 inches

    Kobe's Bottom Line:  Jordan's vertical leap is an incredible 10 inches (approx. 1 foot) higher than the Black Mamba's!  Kobe's vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 2 inches BELOW the rim and a full 10  inches lower than His Airness. 

    Dwayne Wade:  Vertical Leap of 36 inches

    Wade's Bottom Line:  Jordan's vertical leap is an incredible 12 inches (exactly 1 foot) higher than Wade's!

     

    Dwight Howard:  Vertical Leap of 39.5 inches

    Howard's Bottom Line:  Jordan's vertical leap is an incredible 8.5 inches higher than Superman's who misses the NBA 40 inch club by just 0.5 of an inch!  A vertical as high as this for such a big man like Howard is incredible (11.5 inches higher than the NBA average)!  He gets more airtime  than so many smaller guys including the two superstars mentioned above.  Furthermore, he is one of the few humans on the planet who can dunk on a 12 ft. rim!   Howard's vertical leap puts the top of his head a full 2.5 inches above the rim and 3.5 inches lower than His Airness. 

     

     

     

     

Honorable Mentions: Other Members Of The 40

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    Jason Richardson. Wow!

    Here are some other members of the 40" vertical leap club.  If you notice, there are players here that match or exceed the 41" leap starting point in the ranking.  Guys like Allen Iverson didn't make the ranking because he is not known to be a leaper.  There are others here such as Jason Richardson, James White, Harold Minor, and Dee Brown who can all out jump Lebron James! 

     

    Allen Iverson

    41"

    Shawn Marion

    41"

    Carmelo Anthony

    41"

    Ricky Davis

    42"

    Jason Richardson

    46"

    James White

    46"

    Shannon Brown

    45"

    Steve Francis

    43"

    Fred Jones

    42"

    Dee Brown

    44"

    Harold Miner

    44"

    Larry Nance

    40"

    Shawn Kemp

    40"

     

    MUST READ:  Michael Jordan and the Lords of the Rings

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