With All-Star Weekend less than a week away, the anticipation for the dunk contest is rising. The field contains Gerald Green, Kenneth Faried, Terrence Ross, Eric Bledsoe, James White and Jeremy Evans. And while Evans might be the reigning dunk champ, there is one name from that list of participants that jumps out: James White.
With great bounce comes great responsibility, and White understands that better than some of his other competitors. “Flight” White has been a fixture in dunk contest ever since he put the works on notice during the 2001 McDonald’s All-American festivities. Since then, White took part in dunk contests in Turkey, Russia, Italy, the D-League and even had a brief stint with Team Flight Brothers.
White could probably just do a variety of different dunks from the free throw line, and as long as he made them, walk away with all 50s. But we at Dime decided those dunks weren’t enough, so without further ado, I present the top 10 James White dunks of all time.
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10. FIRST DUNK AS A SPUR
While this may seem simple compared to some of the other dunks featured on this list, this one holds special value. This was the first dunk James “Flight” White threw down in the NBA, announcing his presence and bounce for all eyes to see.
9. DUNK VS. HORNETS
Similar to No. 10, this selection was more to pay homage to White the player and not White the dunker. At 30 years old, White has found his way back to the NBA with the New York Knicks, and come Saturday night we should all thank James Dolan for giving him the opportunity to perform.
8. DUNK VS. LOUISVILLE
During his days at the University of Cincinnati, the wiry White was sure to turn up on a SportsCenter top 10 list a minimum of once a week – this is one of those instances. During a home game against Louisville, White gets out in front of everyone and makes sure to finish the play off with a touch, or should I say slam, of style.
7. D-LEAGUE DUNK 3
The most recent dunk contest White took part of was one at the D-League Showcase in 2009. White did not disappoint, throwing down four of the best dunks at the competition. To give you an idea of the ability White possesses, this dunk was the worst of the four.
6. TWO-HAND WINDMILL
Windmills are one of the best looking dunks around. The ability to loop the ball down to your legs and back over your head makes for a spectacle in and of itself. Most people, however, keep the ball on the same side of their body. White switches the ball from his left to his right in one fluid motion all while keeping both hands on the ball.
5. GETS HEAD OVER THE RIM
As I mentioned before, White was part of the dunking phenomenon that is Team Flight Brothers. During a sunny day in Los Angeles (aka every day in L.A.), White and some other members put on a show for a crowd outside the Staples Center. In a mere layup line, White was able to display just how high he could jump and how easily he could make it look, placing his chin at rim level.
4. FREE THROW LINE
Ladies and gentlemen, we have now reached the “Free Throw Line” portion of the list. While Dr. J, Michael Jordan, Brent Barry, and others have performed this dunk before him it doesn’t make it any less difficult (no matter how effortless White makes it seem). There’s no need to question White’s takeoff point either: he covers the full 15 feet every time.
3. WINDMILL FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
Dominique Wilkins is one of the greatest and most ferocious windmill dunkers of all time and he couldn’t even do this dunk. White wasn’t satisfied with simply being able to glide (almost) 15 feet through the air and smash it home, so he added something more to it. I would take a guess that this is one of the five dunks he thinks can score him a perfect 50.
2. BETWEEN-THE-LEGS FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
If White could windmill from the free throw line, then there certainly had to be more. More there is. In 1995, J.R. Rider delivered the Eastbay to the world, a dunk that later propelled the likes of Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and Jason Richardson to slam dunk titles. White has added his own touch to a classic dunk and it’s the best version yet.
1. CRADLE FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
Finally we have reached the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of “Flight” White. A few dunks on this list are ones that only some of the greatest athletes could even attempt to try, but this dunk is one that White alone can do. A regular cradle dunk is one of the hardest to complete (I myself have failed numerous times on an eight-foot hoop), but to combine that with leaping from the free throw line should be impossible. Not for White. To make it more spectacular, he cradles the ball after lifting off from the charity stripe and completing one of the greatest dunks ever.
Will he win the dunk contest this weekend?
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