With so many incredible athletes flooding rosters in today's NBA, it's hard to believe that the Slam Dunk Contest has now become a boring, mediocre event with very few highlights.
Dunking when there are thousands of eyes watching you is quite different from just naturally doing it in the course of a game. But the fundamental principle is the same: Get a full head of steam, leap like a gazelle in the air and slam it down. Simple yet elegant.
It goes beyond dunking as well. NBA athletes are more durable, stronger and faster than they've ever been.
What sets them apart, however, is their leaping ability. Over the course of any NBA game, some player is going to either get on a fast break and jump a mile in the air, or be in a completely stationary position and explode off the ground like a rocket.
Trying to figure out which players have the best in-game leaping ability is like trying to settle on one model from the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show you'd want to go out with—you're going to make a great choice no matter what, but in the end you're just happy to see all of them.
So, let's try to count down the top 25 leapers in the league today, with a few caveats. First, guys like Kobe Bryant, Baron Davis and Shawn Marion didn't make the cut—in their heyday, they easily make the cut, if not the top 10. But they're past their primes and they've just gotten lost in the shuffle with so many explosive athletes.
Second, there are few centers on the list. So, apologies to the big fellas, but few have you ever have the need to jump two feet above the rim. And it's more fun to see the little guys go sky-high.
For your enjoyment, I've added links to a video of each player showing off his skills. Most are dunks, but only because they exemplify leaping ability better than most other videos—don't worry, this won't turn into a "best dunker" list.
Let's get it started at No. 25...