Shawn Bradley and the 25 Biggest Targets of High-Flying NBA Dunkers
The rim-rattler. The boomshakalaka. The highlight reel jam is one of the most exciting plays in all of sports.
Any dunk that involves even the least bit of airborne acrobatics is enough to bring the crowd to its feet and energize a team. The most impressive and exhilarating throwdowns, however, are those that come at the expense of a defender.
There's really nothing quite like seeing a 6'6" guard jump over a 7'3" center and violently send the ball through the hoop.
It happens to the best of them, and anyone who desires to be a shot-blocker and defensive player will get posterized. It's just part of the game when you make a living challenging shots.
Some players have also garnered a reputation for being a rather easy target for dunking on. These are the guys who show up most often on the wrong end of SportsCenter clips and YouTube videos. We can debate for a long time whether or not this is good for the NBA, but that's a story for another day.
When compiling a list of the biggest dunking targets, it's important to remember that even though a guy may not get dunked on regularly, they can still be a big target. Anyone who is capable wants to put the best around-the-basket defender in his place and show off their ups.
It's the nature of the game.
So now that all of this is out of the way, let's take a look at 25 of the biggest targets for high-flying dunkers.
25. Anderson Varejao
Who doesn't want to throw it down on Anderson Varejao's head? The guy's a defensive pest who blocks shots and draws charges.
Many a dunker has been foiled by Varejao's in-the-lane skills. When Dwyane Wade finally got a free run at the back-peddling big man, he took full advantage of the opportunity and proceeded to make leapers everywhere rejoice.
Then, to make matters worse for the Brazilian, D-Wade snatched LeBron James away from Cleveland and the Cavs are now the worst team in basketball.
At least another facial won't be happening to Varejao this year, as he's out for the season with a foot injury.
24. Emeka Okafor
Okafor is one of the better shot-blockers in the league, which lends itself to getting dunked on. Just like a closer in baseball, a player like Okafor needs to have a short memory about these things.
The former UConn star has certainly stuffed a good number of would-be jam artists, but he's also been on the receiving end of such plays.
Heck, even Charlie Villanueva took a run at him.
23. Ron Artest
There aren't a great number of videos showing Artest getting slammed on. That makes sense. He's more of a perimeter defender than a guy who camps out in the paint and tries to disrupt shots.
Artest makes this list precisely because of that quality, however. He normally gets the fun assignment of guarding an opposing team's best offensive player—unless that guy is Tim Duncan or someone like that—and there's little doubt said player would love to put Artest through the floor with a powerful dunk.
Artest also has to be the only person in basketball history to express a desire to be posterized. Surely Blake Griffin would love to honor that request.
22. Josh Smith
Josh Smith has made a career out of blocking shots and providing monster dunks. Unfortunately for him, this creates some blood lust on the parts of other players in the league to get some revenge.
You can argue that more physical damage was done to Jeff Green in the clip shown here, but the emotional toll it took on Smith must have been hard to overcome.
Maybe he's gone back to chucking up three-pointers since he now knows what it feels like to get posterized. Do unto others only as you would have them do unto you.
21. Rasho Nestorvic
Nesterovic had some pretty nice years blocking shots, although it seems a few too many jams like the one seen here by Jason Richardson took away his tenacity.
After averaging 1.7 blocks per game in the 2006-07 season, Nesterovic didn't get above 1.1 for the next five years and is now out of the league.
At least he gave us something to remember him by.
20. Ronny Turiaf
It's doubtful that Turiaf lets getting dunked on get to him too much considering his career was nearly cut short when he was required to undergo open heart surgery in 2005.
Turiaf isn't afraid to take on anyone who tries to attack the rim. Having the ball thrown on your head comes with the territory for a guy like that.
19. Tim Duncan
Kobe Bryant apparently has a personal vendetta against Tim Duncan.
Duncan is one of the best players to ever step on a court. He's equally sound defensively and offensively, and he's averaged two or more blocks a game in 11 of his 13 NBA years.
Surely, countless players have wanted to smash the ball in Duncan's face. It takes a player with Kobe's skill to do so, however, and more have failed than succeeded in dunking over the future Hall of Famer.
And don't worry, there will be much more of Mr. Bryant's theatrics to come.
18. Arvydas Sabonis
There's that man again. Kobe's so good that there's really no shame in being dunked on by him.
Sabonis played internationally during the prime of his career, so NBA fans didn't get to see his full potential. He was already 31 when he joined Portland in 1995 and his blocking skills weren't as good as they had been in the Euroleague.
At 7'3", Sabonis wasn't easy to miss. Anyone who could wanted to get a poster made at his expense.
17. Patrick Ewing
Poor Patrick. Not only did Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls help keep him from ever winning a championship, but they also provided some serious poster material with the tremendous dunks they threw down on him.
Don't worry, Pat. You weren't the only one, and the number of blocks you had in your career surely outweigh the amount of times you were dunked on.
16. Chris Kaman
Kaman is a good shot-blocker, but he doesn't have much reach, which limits his impact. It allows the high jumpers of the league to get the ball in a position where he can't touch it.
It's always good to give effort, but sometimes it's better just to get out of the way.
15. Dwight Howard
Søren Kierkegaard once said: "The task must be made difficult, for only the difficult inspires the noble-hearted."
Superman is such a defensive presence that players often avoid going after him. Doesn't mean they don't want to, they just aren't very fond of getting stuffed. Not Kobe, though, who's always up for a good challenge and, by the looks of things, is quite noble-hearted.
Chris Kaman can also feel better knowing that Howard has been on the receiving end as well.
14. Bruce Bowen
Bowen is one of the few smaller guys who can even be considered for this list. There's not much pride in dunking on a guy who's listed at 6'7". It just doesn't carry the same cache as doing it to a seven-footer.
But Bowen was pretty much strictly a defensive player. He made his money getting in the jersey and under the skin of the best perimeter players in the league. He was also thought of as a dirty player, so guys were just aching to humiliate him.
It's also worth noting that not everyone could force Bowen into the position that Dwyane Wade did in this clip.
13. Hakeem Olajuwon
The all-time leader in blocks, Olajuwon wasn't an easy guy to dunk on. It didn't stop people from wanting and trying to, however, and only the best dunkers were able to put it through with "The Dream" standing in their way.
For however many times they were successful, I'm sure Hakeem's two rings and Hall of Fame induction ease the pain.
12. Samuel Dalembert
Dalembert loves to settle down and nest in the paint. He rarely leaves the area, which is just asking for trouble.
He does block some shots, I'll give him that. It helps to box out too, though, so as to avoid being posterized by a rookie.
And it's not like Derrick Favors is the only one (rookie or veteran) to do so. Even Manu Ginobili, not usually regarded as a high-flyer, has given Dalembert the business.
11. David Robinson
What better time to posterize someone than an All-Star Game?
Surely Robinson was not going up with as much authority as he would in a regular season game, but the video evidence is still there.
How many guys on both teams do you think were happy to see that done to Robinson after he blocked their shots so often? All of them?
10. Alonzo Mourning
If only Vince Carter could do this kind of stuff in the playoffs.
Mourning was one of the best shot-blockers to ever play. It wasn't exactly easy to get the ball past him near the rim. He also understood that a player of that nature can't be afraid to get dunked on. It's just bound to happen.
And because of that willingness to put it all on the line every time someone drove to the rim, we have a nice collection of monster slams that came at his expense.
9. Jermaine O'Neal
Jermaine O'Neal just gets dunked on all the time. Now, he's also had some tremendous years as a shot-blocker, but we can't forget about all the times he boosted someone else's highlight reel.
At least he never stopped trying.
8. Manute Bol
When you're coming in at 7'7", guys are going to want to make a name for themselves at your expense.
His size made him an effective shot-blocker, while also giving those with enough hops a chance to showcase their talents.
Bol seemed to get the better end of the deal a good percentage of the time, though.
7. Dikembe Mutumbo
Of all the people to taunt, Michael Jordan is probably that last person you should ever insult.
MJ will take it personally, he will remember it and he will get his revenge. Dikembe Mutumbo had to learn this the hard way, when he gave Jordan his famous finger wag, and Jordan responded by throwing the ball on Mutumbo's head and giving him his own shake of the finger.
There were also many more who took their shots at Mutumbo, and I invite you to enjoy the six-minute clip of this happening.
6. Chris Dudley
We don't need to understand what these guys are saying to see what's going on.
It sucks to get dunked on, but to then get up and throw the ball at the guy who just did it is only going to make matters worse. It's best just to take it on the chin in these situations and try to get them next time.
As Mike Fratello would say: "It's a man's game down there."
5. Greg Ostertag
You know you're making this list when people start finding ways to fit getting dunked on into your name. "Postertag" in this case.
Like most of the big guys on here, Ostertag was able to send some balls the other way as well. Doesn't change the fact that someone was able to make a mix of him getting slammed on.
A nickname well earned.
4. Shaquille O'Neal
We see the best of both worlds from Shaq here. He giveth and he taketh away.
Shaq is so big that it's extremely hard to dunk on him. Not only is he over 7'0", but he also weighs north of 300 pounds. You have to somehow get over him and move him out of the way a bit to bust out the oak tag.
O'Neal has probably come out on the better end of this scenario more frequently than he has failed.
3. Gheorghe Mureşan
It seems safe to say that Shaq owns Gheorghe Muresan, who, at 7'7", is tied with Manute Bol as the tallest player to ever wear an NBA uniform.
Muresan was actually too big for his own good. Much like Yao Ming and Greg Oden, his body just couldn't hold up to the rigors of an NBA season. In his five years on a pro roster, he never played in more than 76 games, although he was able to star in My Giant with Billy Crystal.
2. Yao Ming
Don't worry, Yao. Kobe does it to everyone.
Yao (7'6") is enormous. Being that tall is just asking to get dunked on, or to at least have people try to do so.
Just a part of being big in the NBA.
1. Shawn Bradley
You could spend an entire day, maybe even a week, looking at YouTube videos of Shawn Bradley getting dunked on.
Bradley did block a great number shots in his career, but it seems like he'd be the all-time leader if times-dunked-on-per-game was a stat.
Really. Look it up. It will be a day well spent.