Who is the greatest dunker in NBA history?

AP Photos

Who is the greatest dunker of all-time? It’s a question that has confounded humanity, ever since the dunk was invented by Blake Griffin’s great-great-great grandfather back in 1892. (According to Wikipedia).

Ask any basketball fan (we asked 10 of them)–and you’ll likely get four of the same answers in their top five. Those players are listed below, alongside our No. 5 choice, based on the votes of people in the newsroom.

Check out our list, and then vote in the poll below.

SLAM–Duh dun na, duh dun na….sorry.

THE LIST:

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is known as one of (if not the) greatest basketball players of all time, but he’s also known as one of the sport’s greatest dunkers. As News 8 Engineer and fellow basketball expert Ricky Santiago pointed out, the man’s nickname is “Air.” Enough said.

With his relentless competitiveness, inhumane athleticism and the apparent ability to fly, Jordan humiliated many an opponent in his day. His two Slam Dunk Contest titles in 1987 and ’88 serve as capstones to his incredible dunking resume.

Dominique Wilkins

We couldn’t show you many of them here because we can only use clips uploaded by the NBA itself, but if you want to see some SERIOUS throw-downs from back in the day, check out Dominique on YouTube. They didn’t call him “The Human Highlight Reel” for no reason.

For whatever reason, Wilkins’ name is lost to today’s NBA fans, and he doesn’t get enough respect as one of the greatest dunkers of all-time. Dominique’s famous duels with Jordan in the dunk contests in ’87 and ’88 are the stuff of absolute legend. Wilkins also won the Slam Dunk title in 1985 and 1990.

 

Julius Erving

Again, there weren’t many Dr. J dunk videos uploaded by the NBA, so check out some of Erving’s greatest slams on YouTube. The man was a dunking pioneer. The way Dr. J played the game paved the way for guys like Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, and it revolutionized the shooting guard position.

Julius was the man back in the day, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to put him at No. 1 on any list.


Vince Carter

The 2000 Slam Dunk contest is to Vince Carter what the Sistine Chapel is to Michelangelo, the Chronic is to Dr. Dre, and Sportzedge.com is to Kels Dayton. It was his greatest moment, the height of his accomplishment, and an artistic compilation that perfectly encapsulated everything he could do.

Thanks to that performance, and of course, THIS(!), Carter has earned a near cult-hero level of respect among basketball fans and dunk enthusiasts. Many will say that he is the greatest of all time.

Shawn Kemp

If this list was just about alley-oop tandems, Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp would win in a runaway. Those two may not have invented the alley-oop, but they revolutionized it; they perfected it, the way Tupac and Biggie did hip-hop.

Kemp was the new-school Dominique Wilkins, a bruising, powerful dunker who had no regard for human life before LeBron James had no regard for human life. He was athletic, powerful, and absolutely dominant.

Check out each of the News 8 Team’s choices for greatest dunkers ever, and then leave your own five in the comments section below.

Kels Dayton, SportzEdge.com Producer:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Dominique Wilkins
3. Vince Carter
4. J.R. Rider: He invented the between-the-legs dunk in the 1994 Slam Dunk contest, which gives him points for innovation. This guy was nasty.


5. Darryl Dawkins

Noah Finz, News 8 Sports Director:

1. Julius Erving
2. Dominique Wilkins
3. Michael Jordan
4. Shawn Kemp
5. Darryl Dawkins: You don’t earn the nickname “Chocolate Thunder” for nothing. Dawkins actually nicknamed each of his dunks, which were usually paragraphs, like “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam”. He also was part of the reason the NBA switched from glass backboards to fiberglass, because he broke so many of them.

 

Erik Dobratz, News 8 Sports Producer:

1. Julius Erving
2. Dominique Wilkins
3. Darryl Dawkins
4. Charles Barkley: Though he turned into the “Round Mound of Rebound,” Barkley was an athletic marvel in his early days, and remained one of the league’s most rim-rattling players late into his career. Check out some of his highlights from his rookie year:

5. LeBron James

 

John Pierson, News 8 Sports Anchor:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Dominique Wilkins
3. Julius Erving
4. Vince Carter
5. Shawn Kemp

Jarryd Guinard, News 8 Director:

1. Dominique Wilkins
2. Vince Carter
3. Michael Jordan
4. Julius Erving
5. Spud Webb: If you don’t know…now you know. Watch this. It’s amazing:

Jason Kelley, News 8 Intern:

1. Vince Carter
2. Michael Jordan
3. Julius Erving
4. Kobe Bryant
5. Blake Griffin:

Ricky Santiago, News 8 Engineer:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Vince Carter
3. Dominique Wilkins
4. Julius Erving
5. LeBron James

Cody Contois, News 8 Editor:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Vince Carter
3. Julius Erving
4. Dominique Wilkins
5. Darryl Dawkins

RJ Brownell, News 8 Promotions Producer:

1. Vince Carter
2. Michael Jordan
3. Julius Erving
4. LeBron James
5. Dominique Wilkins

Alex Ceneviva, News 8 Web Producer:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Shaquille O’Neal
4. LeBron James
5. Dennis Rodman

P.S. This is our pick for the Greatest Dunk Ever:

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