In contrast to the original article "Hoops With Power: The Most Explosive NBA Players in NBA History" by Darko Mihajlovski, I have added more of my own personal picks. There are explosive superstars like Jordan, Carter, Bryant, James, etc. There are also explosive stars like J.R. Smith, and Shannon Brown. There are also explosive lesser stars, like Eddie Robinson, James White, Gerald Green, etc. This list only consists of players who have been all-stars. I'm sorry athletic freaks, but you need game to be on this list. So without further ado, I present to you my list of the most explosive players of all-time past to the future.
Basketball's first high-flyer, David "Skywalker" Thompson is truly one of the highest jumpers of all time. The great Skywalker revolutionized the game with his above-the-rim play and tremendous quickness. The explosiveness and IQ of David was incredible. Regarded as one of the finest guards to ever play the game, his career was troubled by alcohol, drugs, and injuries. However, he turned his life around and became a devout Christian. No matter how old Skywalker is, his eventful career will always be one of the greatest. Even Michael Jordan chose the original "Air" to introduce him into the Hall of Fame.
No matter how you look at it, Richardson's still got it. He's considered one of the game's most demonstrative dunkers, winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest back-to-back in 2002 and 2003. Even though he has departed Golden State joining Charlotte then Phoenix, he is still one of the most beloved players in Warriors' franchise history. His electric style of play and shooting ability would lead the Warriors to their first playoff appearance in 13 years. He was later traded to Charlotte, then Phoenix. To this day, he continues to electrify arena's with phenomenal gravity-defying performances for the fans. At the ripe age of 29, these are his last years. So continue to watch J-Rich in awe during his games, and appreciate the love and passion for the game that he exhibits.
Dr. J truly revolutionized the game with his insurmountable athletic ability. He launched the modern playing style for the athletic leapers in the game today. He was well known for being a great player as well. The four-time MVP was not only a great leaper, but also an outstanding leader, with three championships and three scoring titles. Erving introduced the "Free-Throw Line Dunk", a feat where he took off from the free-throw line and slammed it home. Julius was well praised for his extreme passion and creativity. Every time he took off for a dunk, you were primed to see something special. His legacy is like no other. Julius Erving, we thank you.
Arguably the greatest dunker of all time, Vinsanity is nothing short of explosive. Carter brought the game extreme athleticism that was never seen before. His long arms, overwhelming vertical leap, creativity, and high basketball IQ made for an outstanding athlete. Add to that a killer mentality plus a great shooting stroke and you have a great player. Carter has been putting up posters ever since 1999, jamming on the likes of Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Tim Duncan, etc. In 1999, Carter had a once in a lifetime performance at the Slam Dunk Contest. He launched his signature "360 Windmill Dunk" that will forever be the most beautiful dunk I have ever seen. Carter is also known for viciously leaping OVER a 7'2 French center's head in the Olympics, and for hanging his elbow on the rim after he dunked. In my opinion, Vince is the greatest dunker of all time, and certainly one of the most electrifying. Long live the dunking legend.
The greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan not only revolutionized the guard's game, but also carried dunking and aerial assaults to new heights. His extreme athleticism, long arms, and huge hands would give him the edge over any dunker. Jordan could stay in the air longer than Derek Fisher's rainbow threes can get to the net. He and Dominique Wilkins put on the greatest slam dunk showdown of all time. Jordan not only excelled in dunking, but also in scoring and defense. The best all-around player of all time, Jordan has won six championships and has five MVPs to his name. Jordan's fiery intensity will always put him over anybody. His explosiveness and clutch ability shows his true greatness.
One of the best basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant doesn't give us showtime dunks as often as Jordan did, but he can still throw it down. Remember young Kobe with the afro? His lightning-quick first step, athleticism, and intelligence gives him the ability to score at will. He's put on tremendous scoring performances, but Kobe is also known as a dunker. Bryant is not only athletic but also very acrobatic. Nobody can argue with his explosiveness and grace whenever he goes up for a dunk. Kobe won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and his most notorious dunk was on Dwight Howard. I've always marveled at how Kobe just rode on Dwight's neck. Go Kobe!
Shawn Kemp was the first real high-flying big man. The "Reign Man" listed at 6'10, and possessed an outstanding vertical leap. Half-court lobs from Gary Payton culminating in a Shawn Kemp dunk became a common sight for Seattle fans. The equation of Kemp is Darryl Dawkins + Dominique Wilkins. His size and athleticism were unbelievable. When Kemp was in his prime, the Supersonics gathered 64 wins, and pushed the 72-10 Michael Jordan-lead Bulls to six games before being eliminated. Nobody could deny Kemp's ferocity and will in Seattle. His power produced many posters—just ask Alton Lister.
The modern day Shawn Kemp, Amare Stoudemire is a freak of nature. Standing at around 6'10, his offensive arsenal is limitless. His unmatched power, quickness, and athleticism gives him the edge over other forwards. He can also knock down the mid-range J. The scary thing is, even though he's coming back from TWO major knee surgeries, Amare is still knocking down 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds per game. That's a testament to his will, determination, and work ethic. STAT can bully through anyone down low, and power it down like no other. The strongest finisher in the league, he explodes up to the rim like no other. It's not funny anymore when you have a poster with 483,384 guys. To further highlight his offensive ability, he averaged 37 points per game in the Western-Conference finals against the Spurs, matched up with the greatest power-forward of all time, Tim Duncan. 37 points? Simply unbelievable. If you think this guy is scary enough playing like a mad all-star, imagine this guy if his knee problems never happened. A reign of supremacy? It's possible.
Dominique Wilkins: The other half of the 90s high-flyers. Wilkins was an unstoppable scoring force who had an offensive rhythm that was hard to stop. Wilkins' style of play was explosive, graceful, and legendary. His epic slam dunk duels with Michael Jordan were classic. Nobody in their time could ever match Jordan's creativity, grace, and power other than Wilkins. The "Human Highlight-Reel" presented the most elegant gravity-defying dunks the world has ever witnessed. Long live your greatness.
Dominique Wilkins lives long in the spirit of the young Atlanta Hawk, Josh Smith. At 6'9-6'10, Smith is blessed with remarkable athleticism that gives him great leaping ability. The athletic freak can throw it down with the best of them. Smith also shines on the defensive end where his size, length, and vertical leap greatly benefit him. He is a terrorizing shot-blocker and does it extremely well. He is the youngest player ever to record 1,000 career blocks. He is also the youngest player ever to block 10 shots in one game. The scary thing is, this kid's only 24. There's no telling where his gift will bring him, but expect hundreds of rim-rattling slams and hard swats coming to an arena near you.
The first ever slam-dunk champion, Larry Nance deserves a spot on this list. The finesse big man brought grace and style to dunking off one foot. Nance would explode above the rim with his great strength while captivating us with his magnificence and grace. The "High Ayatolla of Slamola" finished his career known as a great player. Nance's height and athleticism gave him scoring ability and shot-blocking prowess. Nance went down as the leading non-center shot-blocker of all time. So long Leaping Larry, we enjoyed your swats and ferocious dunks.
The old Laker, Elgin Baylor was real explosive back in the day. Elgin was a great shooter, passer, and rebounder. Baylor averaged 27.4 ppg, 13.5 rpg, and 4.3 apg for his whole career. Now, you'd think anyone who averaged 27/14/4 would be a big man with Amare Stoudemire's scoring prowess, Dwight Howard's rebounding ability, and Pau Gasol's passing skills. Well, it was the 6'5 leaper that captivated the early age of the NBA. He was prominent for his hang-time and clutch shot-making. The 61 points in Game Five vs. the Boston Celtics is still a feat unsurpassed to this day. The classic high-flying, undersized-forward can never be duplicated again. However, if anyone today resembles Baylor, I would have to pick the man in the next slide.
The savvy Dwyane Wade is just as explosive as any other player in this list. At 6'4, Wade has great length and athleticism that gives him that explosive boost. His strength and blinding quickness allows him to get to the rim and throw it down with ease. Wade's hungry style of play is rough, but also charismatic. Wade rises in the air slowly, then explodes like an atomic bomb on the rim. Dwyane Wade dunks can only be considered savage, fierce, and powerful. "The Flash" brings you a multitude of exciting dunks night in and night out. Oh, and he's not bad with facials either. Just ask Okafor, or Varejao.
The sky's the limit for Howard's potential. Howard gets 14 rebounds, three blocks, and 20 points per game. At 6'11, the muscle-freak has a 40-inch vertical (in case you were wondering, that's higher than Kobe Bryant's vertical.) Dwight is the prototypical center—a force on defense with his tremendous shot-swatting and rebounding ability, while also possessing the skills needed for offensive dominance. When Howard gains a true post-move to go to, the league will have to watch out. With his athleticism, height, and hunger, an improved raw offensive game will make him unstoppable. Until then, we're just going to get used to his dominant slams and swats.
Kenyon Martin, the defensive enforcer for the Denver Nuggets, was a raw athlete back in the day. Before his knee problems, Martin would tear down the rim daily. The powerful big man would wow you with his insane dunks. Nothing flashy, but just pure ... power. Martin's intimidating presence was already bad enough for defenders; now they have to deal with all that power and intensity? I'm sorry Jermaine O'Neal, but Kenyon's authoritative facial on you can never be erased off my mind.
The old man on the Celtics used to be a powerhouse. Can you remember? The former Timberwolve known as the Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett oozed out athleticism. At 6'11-7'0, Garnett towers over most players.
His outstanding leaping ability and power makes his dunks unstoppable. His intensity and extreme passion for the game is like no other.
I have to point out that I've always admired Garnett as a Lakers fan. He possesses the love and the will for the game Bryant presents. Garnett not only has freakish physical attributes, but he also has an accomplished game. The versatile big man can handle the ball, shoot the ball, make plays, and defends at a high level. The former defensive player of the year has also won one MVP in 2004. Everytime I think of Garnett, I will always see a wolf in his face. A howling, hungry, concentrated wolf.
Fear the King, for he is faster than any guard in the league. He is the strongest player pound for pound in the league. He is the most skilled player in the league. He possesses the most complete all around game in the league. His basketball IQ is the highest in the league. Nobody can stop a skilled, smart freight-train. LeBron's astounding athleticism combines with his 6'8" muscular frame to bulldoze through the court with his great speed, and finish with his mind-boggling flight and power. LeBron certainly brings people out of their seats with his ferocious slams and signature chase-down swats. When he chooses to slam it down on the innocent rim, be careful. It's going to be a loud bang, caused by the thunder of a LeBron James tomahawk.
Clyde "The Glide" Drexler. What else can I say? He basically glides in the air like a kite, then crashes down like a plane. His extreme hang-time still blows my mind. How can you stay in the air for that long? The Trailblazer not only had wings, but he also had game. Well above 20/5/5 for his career, he took his game to new regions with his gold medal, and many All-NBA selections. In 1995 when Jordan retired, Drexler and Olajuwon defeated the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals and took home the trophy. Drexler remains as one of Jordan's greatest rivals, as he and his Portland team took it to Jordan's Bulls in the playoffs. May you keep on gliding Clyde.
The mind-boggling pit bull, Derrick Rose gives me shivers whenever I see his slams. He is so quick and fast, that he just blows by unsuspecting defenders. Then he slams it down with serious authority. Just crazy and unbelievable. Rose is the prototype for new-age point guards. He has size, strength, quickness, speed, and remarkable athleticism. Derrick Rose is just entering his third year in the league, and he already has some prime-time slam dunks. Rose's potential is huge, and an MVP award may be ahead.