The dunk: A beautiful expression of explosiveness, power, coordination, creativity and grace. The dunk is awe-inspiring, "oh my god" inducing, earth shattering, everlasting. It is both primal and sophisticated, not to mention so incredibly cool.
One dunk is all it takes to make its practitioner a hero, a legend, a god. One dunk can signify arrival, vindication or apotheosis. It can raise the roof, bring down the house, ignite the crowd and even transcend the game.
It's no coincidence that dunking is described by so many euphemisms; it is among our culture's most compelling actions. Players spend entire careers trying to posterize each other. The first time I threw down may have been the proudest moment of my life.
Now, it's time to serve you up some facials. So here they are, the 50 most ridiculous in-your-face dunks of all time.
Before we start, though, some criteria:
1. Each dunk must be on, through, or over somebody. No flashy dunk contest slams in open space.
2. The defender matters. Anyone could dunk on my little sister in the driveway. But few have successfully dunked on the greatest shot-blockers of all time.
3. Size matters. A little guy dunking over a big guy is always more impressive than the opposite.
4. The post-dunk reaction counts. Extra points for leaving defenders sprawled on the floor in pain or embarrassment.
5. When the dunk happened is irrelevant. We're not talking clutch or important dunks here, just dunks that inspire sour-milk face in all who watch.