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NBA's 10 Best Dunkers of All Time

Paul BrassardContributor IDecember 17, 2010

NBA's 10 Best Dunkers of All Time

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Blake Griffin is quickly becoming one of the NBA’a premier players as well as one of it's great dunkers. 

    To become recognized as one of the greats of all-time though he’s up against some pretty stiff competition.   Let's take a stroll down the NBA's Memory Lane and check out some of the players who have set the standard in the past.

    Here's my list of the 10 greatest dunkers in NBA history. 

    Who are your favorites?

#10 Clyde Drexler

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    Has there ever been an athlete who’s nickname was more appropriate than “Clyde the Glide”? 

    Possibly the most seemingly effortless jumper ever. 

    A distinguished alumnus of Phi Slama Jama

#9 David Thompson

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    Ask some of the greatest dunkers in the history of the game who most inspired or influenced them and don’t be surprised if they tell you David Thompson. 

    Had a very casual relationship with gravity. 

    Could jump out of the gym. 

    On a side note some of his greatest highlight came on blocked shots, just ask Bill Walton.

#8 Kobe Bryant

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    Explosive. 

    Possibly the quickest first step in NBA history, he often uses it en route to another rim rattling highlight.

#7 LeBron James

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    Love him or hate him, you can’t argue this guy can throw it down. 

    Strong and fast has there ever been a better athlete in the NBA? 

    Dunks like a Linebacker would.

#6 Daryl Dawkins

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    The planet Lovetron’s all-time best. 

    Most famous for his backboard smashing dunks, he was indeed perhaps the most powerful dunker of all time.  Think Wilt Chamberlain but with much more showmanship (at least as far as dunking was concerned). 

    The best dunking big man of all time.

#5 Vince Carter

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    Seemed to bring a whole new level of acrobatics to the art of dunking. 

    No one will ever forget the Olympic dunk where he jumped over the 7’2” French center, a posterization for the ages

#4 Michael Jordan

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    No disrespect intended here folks. 

    MJ could easily be interchanged with any of the top three guys on my list and to tell you the truth I really couldn't argue with you.  At this point your splitting hairs and it just comes down to a matter of personal taste. 

    Funny thing, each player has his own unique style to some extent but I can’t help but notice some similarities.  To me the 2nd and 3rd guy on the list are pretty similar, while MJ reminds me most of the man at #1.

#3 Shawn Kemp

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    Violent. 

    Powerful. 

    Shawn Kemp wasn’t so much a slam dunk artist as a slam dunk explosion.

    Could dunk in traffic as good as anyone, ever. 

    Too bad he ended up going off the rails because this guy was fun to watch.

#2 Dominique Wilkins

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    The Human Highlight Film. 

    If anyone was a more violent dunker than Shawn Kemp it was ‘Nique.

    I once spoke to an end of the bench teammate of his who swore his greatest dunks came in practice.  He would marvel at how Wilkins could be fighting for a loose ball under the basket just a split second before jamming it home.  For any other player just getting a handle on the ball was the goal, but Dominique would somehow go from getting the handle to slamming it in one continuous move.  No running start, no clean lane, lots of congestion, but in a flash it was over.  You were just dunked on.

#1 Julius Erving

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    Maybe no one’s name is more synonymous with dunking than Dr. J’s.

     
    The footage is a little grainier and no doubt this generation may prefer some of the more purely acrobatic uncontested dunks that often show up on “Greatest Dunks” lists. 

    But for my money Dr. J is the man.  His approach to the basket was a thing of beauty.   

    Before Erving hang time used to be a term reserved for NFL punters. 

    Put an Afro on that Nike logo and you’ve got Julius Erving.

    If only the Doctor still made house calls.

Honorable Mention

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Connie Hawkins: An artist with the ball, never really got his due.

    Wilt Chamberlain: Think track star agility with Defensive Lineman power.

    Jason Richardson: Excellent mix of quickness and power, but not as consistent come game time.

    Blake griffin: Making some noise.

    Elgin Baylor: To be honest with you this is purely word of mouth.  Just can’t find enough film on him but when folks like Julius Erving say he’s the man, who am I to argue.

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