40 Sickest Gravity-Defying Moments in Sports
I don't know about you, but nothing gets me out of my seat more than a gravity-defying play. Whether it's a bananas moment from the X-Games, an unbelievable Olympic moment or a dunk that makes you question physics, I'm in.
It's time to hang on to your seats, guys. Let's journey to a world where Sir Isaac Newton's "theory" of gravity has no place.
40. Aerial World Championships
To a regular human being, this just seems insane.
First, strap on a pair of skis (easy enough). Second, head downhill towards a giant ramp (yikes). And lastly, do a bunch of flips and spins before landing on a steep slope covered in snow (WHAT?!).
39. Eito Yasutoko
Sorry, guys. I know "rollerblading" is usually quite lame but Eito Yasutoko kicks Isaac Newton right in the junk with this maneuver.
Double backflip 360 anyone?
38. Noah Blackwell
You can find a slew of eighth-graders dunking all over the internet. The catch here? Noah Blackwell was an under-six-foot point guard.
While at Cooley Middle School in northern California, Blackwell led his team to a 42-0 record. Remember this name. This kid is going places.
37. Aldrin Garcia
This is insane. Aldrin Garcia, 19, has straight ups on a skateboard. His 45" ollie eclipsed the previous mark held by Danny Wainwright by only half an inch.
36. Mat Hoffman
He might not be able to quote Kevin Costner's character in Field of Dreams perfectly, but Mat Hoffman was a pioneer.
"The Condor," seen here as a teenager, gets an idea to get towed at a giant ramp by a motorcycle. Enjoy his flight as he soars 20 feet over the coping.
35. Allen Iverson
Let's take it back to the hardwood. Remember when Allen Iverson was young and spry? If you don't, here's a little reminder.
The dude floats over the back of a guy a foot taller and flushes it home.
34. Robbie Maddison
I'm not really sure what Robbie was thinking on this run. I don't know what possesses a man to fly off a mound of dirt and let go of his bike mid-flight.
To add a little flair, Maddison lands side saddle. No big deal.
33. Tom Chambers
White men can't jump? Give me a break.
OK, so Tom was 6'10" and Mark Jackson was but a 6'3" point guard, but Chambers gets up here.
The first-rounder out of Utah averaged 18.1 points per game over his 16-year career, but no two points were as memorable as this jam.
Ah, the bicycle kick—football's dunk. It's rude, it's in your face, it's spectacular.
Remember Rivaldo? In case you forgot, check out the ball control from the 1999 Ballon d'Or winner.
31. Walter Payton
Enjoy the whole video from beginning to end if you're a "Sweetness" fan. This guy could do it all. But what Payton might be best known for were his goal-line leaps. Leaving the earth with nothing but a football and a desire to score, Payton is arguably the most exciting player of his era.
The nimble leaps begin at the 1:43 mark of the video.
30. Kevin Johnson
The 55th Mayor of Sacramento used to have springs for legs. Remember this dunk over one of the NBA's best shot blockers, Hakeem Olajuwon?
Here's something you might not have remembered: this dunk was part of a 38-point, 12-dime night.
29. Kirby Puckett
Too bad Kirby lost sight in one of his eyes; he was one of the greatest.
Back in the 1991 World Series, Puckett made a leap at the wall that is branded into my memory bank forever. Nothing like seeing a little guy make such an impressive play.
28. Eidur Gudjohnsen
Just forget about the insanely accurate cross by Frank Lampard, check out Eidur Gudjohnsen's finish.
Not only does Gudjohnsen show off his vertical leap, but his timing couldn't be better.
27. Kobe Bryant
Jellybean's kid may go down as one of the NBA's most complete players, but he also had invisible wings.
Check out his heavenly rise over defensive juggernaut Ben Wallace in this clip. Forget about it!
26. Travis Rice
You can probably gather how Travis Rice took home Snowboard Big Air at the 2009 X Games by watching this feat of ridiculous-ness.
The four-time medalist from Jackon Hole, Wyoming is a legend for hucking himself off giant mountains while flipping and spinning to boot.
This looks so easy...
25. Phillip Soven
If you've ever tried wakeboarding, then you know how difficult it is. If you haven't, protect yourself and stay off the wake.
Phillip Soven is a 22-year-old world champ from Florida who ramps himself off of moving water on the regular.
What might be the most impressive thing about wakeboarding is the quickness in which a trick is thrown down. Seems like you would get dizzy...and confused.
24. Baron Davis
Point guards shouldn't treat power forwards like this. Baron Davis shows off his nastiness as he rises over AK-47 and spikes the ball on his quivering body.
Man, is Ichiro fun to watch. He is an impossible out at the plate, a speedster on the base paths and a menace in right field.
Here's a shot from when he stuck Garrett Anderson up and robbed him of a four-bagger. First ballot Hall of Famer, no doubt about it.
22. Shaun White Part I
Shaun White does whatever he wants to do on any board. Check out this disrespectful run from X Games 17. White just gets higher than anyone else; it's just rude if you ask me.
21. Jamie Bestwick
I remember when I learned to ride my first two-wheeler. It was a Huffy with white tires; it was sick.
Jamie Bestwick takes bike riding to an insane extreme. The State College, Pennsylvania native has racked up a ton of hardware at the X Games. Check out how he spits on gravity in this clip.
20. Scottie Pippen
Take your pick out of this top 10 list. Scottie Pippen used to dunk on anyone in his way.
Michael Jordan's go-to guy introduces his armpit to Patrick Ewing in the No. 1 spot of this countdown.
19. Tracy McGrady
"He just sucked the gravity right out of the building." Truer words have never been spoken.
McGrady used to make plays like this all the time. But what makes this special? It's over a man (Shawn Bradley) who stands a foot taller than T-Mac.
It's rather indecent of Tracy to come into someone's home and trash them in front of a sell-out crowd.
18. Gary Matthews, Jr.
This picture looks altered. If you've seen this catch, you know it's widely considered to be one of the finest grabs in the history of the game.
Funny that Matthews, Jr. never won a Gold Glove. But he did hit for a natural cycle against the Tigers in 2006—only the 14th ever.
17. Dwight Clark
It might not look that impressive today, but Dwight Clark's catch in the back of the end zone against the rival Cowboys is an immortal moment in sports history.
When it happened, it had the city of San Francisco reeling over the chance to win its first Super Bowl.
16. Dominique Wilkins
What's more fun than a Dominique Wilkins dunk? How about 10 of them. The most gravity-defying occurs at No. 1, when Wilkins makes the entire Milwaukee Buck franchise look stupid.
Wilkins helped sensationalize the slam dunk in the 1980s as he was named to nine All-Star games, won two dunk contests and won a scoring title in 1986.
15. Marco Van Basten
Another bicycle kick? Hey, why not? Marco Van Basten is a tribute to all lanky men in tiny shorts.
The Dutchman was an absolute force for his national team and was one hell of a manager after his playing days.
14. Shawn Kemp
"The Reignman" not only got up higher than his opponents, he threw it down with vicious authority.
Forget about the rebound off the Sarunas Marciulionis (I bet you haven't heard that name in awhile) miss, watch Kemp rattle Alton Lister's world on the other end.
13. Steve McCann
Let's keep the big-air train going. Steve McCann risks life and limb by throwing a double backflip to double tail whip combo.
McCann's run was good enough for gold, and good enough for the countdown.
12. Julius Erving
Michael Cooper might have been named to the All-Defensive first team five different times, but Dr. J sure makes him look like his son.
The only thing worse than getting dunked on, is getting dunked on with flair and style. Watch Julius float to the rack and throw it down.
11. Amaya Soichiro
Yeah, I didn't know who this guy was either before doing research for this piece.
Soichiro leaps, scales the wall and waits on a homer headed for the third row before he brings it back into play. Yikes.
10. Bobby Brown
It's his prerogative. In 2011, Bobby Brown threw down two huge runs to take home Skiing Big Air at Winter X Games 14.
Peep his double misty 1440 which captured gold for the 18-year-old from Breckenridge, Colorado.
9. Spud Webb
Spud Webb's teammates didn't even know he could dunk before the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest. They found out—quick.
Good thing his "Airness" didn't compete. He probably would have gotten embarrassed by the 5'7" Webb.
8. Bob Burnquist
Bob Burnquist gives us a glance of what it looks like to leap over a giant gap and bust something smooth on a quarter pipe on steroids.
He, Danny Way and Jake Brown all make our hearts race every time they approach the mega ramp.
7. David Tyree
David Tyree's body isn't the only thing to defy gravity in this play. The ball itself finds a way not to hit the turf during the circus catch.
Tyree's 32-yard reception was only his second of the game. In fact, the scarcely used wideout only made four receptions for 35 yards during the 2007 campaign. But who could forget this one?
6. The Air Up There
No, I'm not talking about that crappy movie with Kevin Bacon. I'm talking about Taurian Fontenette, aka "The Air Up There."
This dunk doesn't even seem real to me. For one, Fontenette is only 6'2." Also, we have never seen anyone even attempt this feat in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. I could watch this all day...
5. Mauro Bressan
Alright, alright, this is the last bicycle kick on the list. Calm down.
Who can forget this finish by Mauro Bressan when he was playing for Fiorentina? Talk about innovative.
4. Shaun White Part II
"The Flying Tomato" is the best thing to hit the snow since chair lifts. Look at the height White gets at the top of the Superpipe. No wonder the kid has been winning gold in the event four years in a row...
3. Masato Akamatsu
It seems impossible to literally run up a wall. It seems unspeakable to catch a baseball at its apex while running up a wall. Maybe not for Masato Akamatsu.
It's surprising that he doesn't tumble into the stands after making the grab since it's below his waist when it's all said and done.
2. Michael Jordan
I'm a big Jordan guy, so this was hard for me. Do I pick from one of his many breathtaking dunks at the Slam Dunk Contest? Do I choose a dunk that posterizes a certain New York Knick? Nah, Jordan's putback slam against the Blazers is my all-time favorite.
It's as if Scottie meant to miss off the heel of the iron. Watch Mike soar in and put it home. Now, that's what I call a three-point play!
1. Vince Carter
This was an easy pick. In fact, Vince hates gravity so much, I could have picked three more of his jams that would have blown your mind.
Instead, we take it to the Olympic games of 2000 in Sydney, Australia. The victim? French center Frederic Weiss.
Mr. Weiss, welcome to immortality.
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