NBA Playoffs 2011: The 15 Most Electrifying Dunks of the NBA Playoffs
Normally on slideshows, I attempt to write a compelling introduction that will draw the reader in and make them want more.
Occasionally I experiment with big words, and when I'm feeling especially froggy, I may throw a metaphor or two around just to see what happens.
But none of that is needed for this slideshow.
Why, you ask? Because this is a slideshow of the 15 most electrifying dunks of the NBA playoffs, and nothing I write could make watching awesome dunks seem any cooler than they already are.
In other words, it's time for me to get out of the way so you can watch men with superior athletic ability soar through the air like superheroes.
To the slides!
Updated: Derrick Rose
Since this list was originally composed, there have been a few ridiculous dunks that need to be included. We'll put them here in the beginning of the slideshow.
Derrick Rose has springs in his shoes. I want you to watch this and remember that the guy who just threw down the sick two handed jam over a 7-footer is a POINT GUARD.
Updated: Taj Gibson, Part 1
Taj Gibson—my goodness, that's how you dunk.
Updated: Taj Gibson, Part 2
Dwyane Wade, welcome to the wrong side of the poster.
Updated: Kevin Durant
I've always wondered what it must be like to make direct eye contact with a rim, as Durant does on this play.
That is the definition of "mad hops" right there.
15. Al Horford
To me, the alley-oop is one of the most exciting plays in sports. Other considerations: the buzzer beater, stealing home, the bone-crushing hit in football (that isn't a helmet-to-helmet collision, please), the breakaway in hockey, the triple lutz.
Well, maybe not the triple lutz.
14. LeBron James, Part 1
Listen, I didn't think the Heat's celebration after vanquishing the Celtics was excessive.
I mean, that's how I celebrate after I empty the dishwasher really quickly or avoid wrinkles in my clothes because I hang them immediately after retrieving them from the dryer.
Alright, so beating a rival in the NBA playoffs is a bigger deal than that. If I was a fan of the Heat, my only concern would be that "Miami Thrice" spent so much emotional energy defeating the Celtics, they won't come out sharp against the Bulls.
And the way Derrick Rose is playing right now, they will need to be sharp against the Bulls.
13. Ray Allen
Three monster jams for the price of one slide?
11. Shannon Brown
Throw it down, Shannon Brown!
Nicely done, sir. But alas, it's time for you to go sit on the bench again. Kobe needs his shoes shined and Pau needs you to cook up an alibi for when his girlfriend asks where he was the other night.
Oh, and Phil needs his yoga mat scrubbed. Thanks, pal!
(I don't know why I am being mean to Shannon Brown. I have no problems with the guy. I just think this is what life is probably like for the role players on the Lakers.)
10. Sam Young
Sam "Forever" Young made the rim feel brittle with this vicious slam.
However, I have a feeling the Thunder are about to wrap this series up, sending the Grizzlies to the offseason, thus making them the "Young and the Restless."
I've never met a pun I could resist. It's a weakness.
9. Kobe Bryant, Part 1
Dude, I can't believe they didn't show Jack Nicholson's reaction to that dunk. I thought the NBA was contractually obligated to show Nicholson as many times during Lakers games at the Staples Center as possible.
Because when Jack gets excited, I know it is cool for me to get excited. You see, Hollywood stars are the adult equivalent to the cool kids in high school, and I'm totally buying into the hype.
We don't really change, we just slowly lose our hearing.
8. Jeff Teague
Teague suddenly burst onto the scene in the Hawks series against the Bulls, averaging 17.0 points in 41.2 minutes per game after Kirk Heinrich injured his hamstring against the Magic.
To put that in perspective, Teague averaged 5.2 points in 13.8 minutes per game during the regular season, appearing in 70 games for the Hawks.
One thing is certain—Teague's got some hops, and if these playoffs are any indication, he's got some game to go along with them.
7. Dwyane Wade
Did anybody else notice that in the press conference after the Heat won the series against the Celtics LeBron asked the fans not to move when Dwyane Wade went crashing into the stands, but rather to catch him, because, as he noted, the Heat can't go having "our franchise player" get hurt?
Is Wade now the distinct alpha in both this relationship and team? Or do I just really like having a team like the Heat to play the hated villain role, and I'm willing to totally over-analyze everything they do and say to reinforce their villainy?
All right, all right, it's probably the latter.
6. Russell Westbrook
Dear Braves fans,
For years, you guys have been doing the Tomahawk Chop, probably thinking it was the coolest Tomahawk thing going. Well, I've got news for you:
Russell Westbrook's Tomahawk jam was a far cooler incorporation of the Tomahawk theme.
The truth hurts.
P.S. In no way, shape or form did I just call out Braves fans on a basketball slideshow because I am a Phillies fan. That would be immature. I just really love the Tomahawk jam.
P.P.S. OK, OK, so I totally called out Braves fans on a basketball slideshow because I am a Phillies fan. Whatever, it had to be done.
5. LeBron James, Part 2
Listen, I really appreciated LeBron's apology to Cleveland. I thought it was a classy move.
I mean, nothing says "I'm sorry" like waiting an entire year to apologize for ditching Cleveland on national television—while essentially holding the Cavs hostage as you hint you might come back—and saying it when you've finally had the success against the team that traditionally gave you fits. Oh, and mentioning in the apology that the Cavaliers weren't good enough for you to win with, leaving you with no choice but to leave.
On second thought, maybe classy wasn't the right word.
Convenient. That's what I meant, convenient.
4. Kevin Durant
I love everything about Kevin Durant.
I love that he can do just about anything on the basketball court, given his size and athleticism. I love that he is an unselfish player and a good teammate, but also knows when it is his time to take over the game. His combination of humility and killer instinct is pretty refreshing.
And yes, I think Russell Westbrook should defer a little bit more to Durant, even if Westbrook has had better matchups to exploit (Shane Battier has played fairly solid defense on Durant).
All of this to say that Durant has become one of my favorite athletes, and I'm pulling for him to win it all.
3. O.J. Mayo
That, my friends, is called putting on a "Mayo Clinic."
Other catchphrases I would use if I was describing a Mayo dunk (or if I was Kenny Mayne):
"Only a Mayo jam could be that nasty!"
"That's how Mayo makes the bread, baby!"
"The Hellman's fury spares no rim!"
2. Josh Smith
There is only one thing you can say after a dunk like this:
Actually, there is one other thing you can say:
Did I just repeat myself? Yes.
Was it necessary? Absolutely.
1. Kobe Bryant, Part 2
Kobe's still got it, man.
He'll be sure to prove that next season. For now, he'll just toss and turn in his sleep, as visions of Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea haunt his dreams.
That, and the thought of no Phil Jackson.
And concerns over whether or not players like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom will show up in the playoffs down the line.
And let's not forget the worries over the emotional outbursts of players like Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum.