NBA Slam Dunk Contest: 10 Most Underrated Dunks in Slam Dunk History

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IAugust 15, 2011

NBA Slam Dunk Contest: 10 Most Underrated Dunks in Slam Dunk History

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    Every year there are snubs in everything related to sports. There is no way to avoid it either. It's just natural, I guess.

    But in particular, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest will always have underrated and overlooked dunks. This year was a perfect example. Blake Griffin was probably the least deserving contestant to win, while the others who performed better (but unfortunately underrated) missed out.

    However, this was not something new we have seen. Like I said earlier, things like this happen all of the time.

    Today we are here to appreciate the unappreciated and give the credit to players' dunks that they never received. 

10. Derozan Show Stopper

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    Possibly the best pure dunk from last year’s dunk contest.

    No props, no teammate help, just pure creativity and athleticism. The way he takes the ball overhand, wraps it around and dunks it reverse is just freakish. All of the hype around Blake Griffin overshadowed an extremely impressive dunk.

9. Steve Francis

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    In cases where the dunker throws the ball in the air and relies on a bounce, the more errant the bounce, more often than not, the better the dunk.

    Francis needed to reach back once he was in the air to grab the ball. He added some flair by kicking out his leg and then throwing it home. This dunk was overshadowed by Vince Carter’s incredible performance that earned him the slam dunk title this year.

8. Ibaka and Pippen Free-Throw Line

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    When you think free-throw line dunk, Jordan comes to mind. However, Pippen and Ibaka should both be considered when discussing the best free-throw line dunk.

    First off, Ibaka was actually behind the line while Pippen just barely on the line. It is debatable whether Jordan was on or behind the line, but these two dunks clearly prove there stance.

    Let's also keep in mind the creativity Ibaka added.

    Yes, they have less flair than Jordan, but they are overlooked. 

Pippen's Free-Throw Line Dunk

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    I can only fit one video per slide, so here is the Pippen dunk I was talking about in the previous slide.

7. Josh Smith 360 Windmill (0:40)

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    Vince Carter set the precedent for the 360 extended windmill dunk. In 2005, Josh Smith performed a very impressive lefty replica of this slam.

    His athleticism and flair shines in this super smooth dunk. Perhaps this dunk is not as notable as Carter’s dunk, but it warrants more attention than it receives. 

6. Desmond Mason Lefty Through the Legs

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    Pure athleticism is shown in this eye opening dunk.

    Through the legs dunks normally need something extra to make them a top notch dunk. But this lefty slam from Mason just has something about it that catches your eye.

    He brings the ball up before lowering it through his legs. His two foot approach, and the way he kicks his legs out leave the viewer in awe. This dunk was belittled by Jason Richardson’s extraordinary series of dunks. 

5. Harold Miner Double Clutch and Windmill

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    Many younger fans surely have never heard of Harold Miner. His performance in the 1993 and 1995 dunk contests prove that he was one of the best dunkers in the mid '90s.

    There are two dunks here that deserve more recognition. First, Miner’s Dominique Wilkins’s esque reverse double pump throw down is amazing. He brings the ball down to his knees then throws it back with power.

    Next is his one handed windmill dunk. He seems to hang in the air as he swings the ball around, in his left hand and absolutely powers it in.

    These two Harold Miner Dunks are unknown to younger NBA fans. 

Harold Miner Windmill Dunk

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    Featured here is the windmill dunk by Miner.

4. Larry Johnson Reverse Windmill

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    Larry Johnson’s reverse windmill dunk is very underrated.

    The range of motion on the dunk is what impresses me the most. He starts by bringing the ball up on his takeoff. Coming from under the rim adds something extra to the dunk. His body is falling away from the rim as he locates the hoop and dunks it with his right.

    This dunk is very special once you break it down and appreciate what he did. 

3. Kenny Smith Reverse (2:30)

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    Throwing the ball up and catching it on the bounce is more difficult than it appears.

    Kenny Smith not only finds the ball, he is spinning as well. Jumping, finding the ball in mid air, finishing a spin and then dunking it all in one is great.

    This dunk is really impressive when you realize all of the concentration and skill needed to complete it. 

2. J-Rich (1:48) and Larry Johnson 360

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    Jason Richardson and Larry Johnson are here with pretty much the same dunk. Although each has a little different style with a little different power.

    In the past, judges and fans would marvel at a 360 dunk. Both athletes not only spun but windmilled the ball too. Jason Richardson makes it look pretty, especially with the quick kick flair at the end, while Johnson makes it look nasty with his power.

    Richardson’s version is overshadowed by his own legacy and all-time dunks. Johnson’s dunk is just not as well known as it probably should be.

Larry Johnson's 360

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    Here is Larry Johnson's 360 power slam.

1. Iguodala Behind the Back

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    We all know Iguodala was robbed in this dunk contest vs. Nate Robinson (likewise with every other player who lost to Robinson), but this what just a disgrace he lost.

    His signature dunk was when Iverson tossed it off the back of the backboard and Iggy came swooping in to reverse it, but that one is not the one that is overlooked.

    This dunk requires a ton of coordination. Putting the ball behind your back in this manner is ridiculously difficult. Go try it, jump and try to put the ball behind your back in the air. Not only that, but Iggy caught it on a bounce and then dunked it.

    Yea, it did take him a few tries, but you cannot even represent that argument considering the amount of tries Robinson took on his dunks.

    Anyway, the difficulty of this dunk is very underrated.


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    Remember, these are not the best dunks, but the most underrated and overlooked dunks of all time.

    If you think I missed one that you think deserves a mention, write it in the comment section. I really want to see what guys think.

    As always, there are "hard luck" guys and underrated ones. Plus, I could have missed a couple. So even when you are honoring underrated dunks, there are still some that may be overlooked. It's just that freaky.