There are few things more enthralling and adrenaline-inducing than the art of the poster dunk. It may only be worth two points, but the feelings of awe and emotions of demoralization only seems to increase its worth. A dunk of such devastating magnitude could easily turn the tides of a game, switching momentum from one team to another.
You want to feel bad for some of the players who get dunked on, specifically those whose face truly emits embarrassment and degradation, but it’s the defender’s job to go up and contest shots, which is why they make as much as they do. You have to commend the likes of Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning for risking being on the opposite end of a highlight reel every game. Those are the real heroes, the ones willing to sacrifice their name in order to stop two points from happening. Instead, we take notice of how they were at the wrong end of a poster dunk… had they still been making posters of these dunks.
We salute you, defenders who aren’t afraid to get dunked on, but there aren’t many “Top 50 guys who are actually good defenders, but just got dunked on” lists, so we’ll compose a top 50 list of the league’s greatest poster dunks instead.
Only dunks from the All-Star Game were emitted in the creation of this list, meaning that preseason, Olympic and postseason dunks were all allowed. Also, as much as we want to find those videos of Julius Erving and Clyde Drexler doing what they do best, footage of their exploits are few and far between with some famous exceptions.
Still, that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of these 50 dunks.
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50. Amar’e Stoudemire over Anthony Tolliver
Man, I miss this Amar’e Stoudemire. This was a time where Stoudemire was arguably one of the league’s top big men, leading the Phoenix Suns to championship-contention status, and making defenders get out of his way. Nowadays, Amar’e probably isn’t even on the court in the final three minutes of a game, especially a close one.
49. Vince Carter over Vlade Divac
How I long for the days where Vince Carter was a feared one-man wrecking crew who would single-handedly destroy teams, primarily the Toronto Raptors during his New Jersey Net days.
In this instance, Carter spins and slams over Vlade Divac, who immediately knew the mistake he made the second Vinsanity started to rise. Was there ever a point where defenders just realized they weren’t going to stop Vince Carter from a dunk once he committed to it?
48. Grant Hill over Alonzo Mourning
Miami got what they deserved for thinking Dan Majerle was going to actually defend Grant Hill, who used a crossover to get to the rim and put a full-fledged poster on Alonzo Mourning.
The dunk may not even be the most impressive part of the video, though. That crossover on Majerle gave me whiplash.
47. Rudy Gay over Luis Scola
If you had told me Luis Scola was defending Rudy Gay on the perimeter, I would have put it on this list for the potential of what was about to happen. Oh, and Dikembe Mutombo makes an appearance because it just wouldn’t be a poster without him.
46. LeBron James over James Johnson
I’ve been seeing posts and comments around the interweb of people who are bored with LeBron’s dunks because they’re always the same; usually a one-handed alley-oop off of a fast break.
You know why LeBron can’t ever put anybody on his poster? Because they move out of the way. Just look at his dunk over James Johnson as evidence why defenders would much rather move out of the way than try and contest a dunk by one of the strongest players in the NBA today.