The NBA’s Top 10 Facial Dunks Of All Time

What makes NBA games so special and electrifying are the epic in-game dunks. Of course, we love the flashy passing and heart wrenching buzzer-beaters, but to be capsulated in a moment where someone gets posterized is beyond blissful. Let’s start by saying shout out to Brandon Knight as he valiantly didn’t give up on the play last night when he could have. He could have dodged DeAndre Jordan and let Lob City get away with another alley-oop. He didn’t. It’s okay.

We’ve seen countless defensive efforts result in a memorable poster. Before Brandon Knight, there was Alonzo Mourning. There was Dwight Howard. There was AK47 who lacked the ammunition to stop Baron Davis.

Numerous casualties happened because of the dunk. And here’s a top-10 of the greatest poster dunks of all-time.

*** *** ***

10. KOBE BRYANT over Dwight Howard
I’ve always wondered if Kobe reminded Dwight about that cold night in Orlando when he facial’ed his current partner in crime. Dwight was merely a rookie and didn’t know any better back then. I’m sure Dwight now would have either blocked it or just slid over and allowed Kobe to get the easy deuce. This was when Kobe still had some springs and was playing with a chip on his shoulder to prove he was better off without Shaq. Good way to prove your point, Mamba.

9. VINCE CARTER over Alonzo Mourning
I used to love Vince Carter. I mean, who didn’t? This wasn’t the Vince Carter doing 360s back in Toronto, but let’s remember VC was still nasty during his tenure with the Nets. He was so nasty to the point he served up Alonzo Mourning a double scoop with a side of nuts. Oh my gosh! The level of disrespect was so high on that dunk. It’s not like Alonzo was a clumsy defender, either. He was just another victim of Vince Carter’s aerial attacks.

8. TRACY McGRADY over Shawn Bradley
Shawn Bradley was always the butt of someone’s jokes. Whether Jay-Z was metaphorically referring to his competition as “Shawn Bradleys” or whether players in the league viewed him as a potential prop for their personal highlight reel, he was always caught up in the wrong end of a dunk. Here, Tracy McGrady dismantled the 7-6 center during a heated first round playoff battle against Dallas. Who could forget Kevin Harlan‘s call on the play: “He just sucked the gravity right out of the building!”

7. BLAKE GRIFFIN over Timofey Mozgov
I’m calling this the dunk heard around the world. No one man should have all that power. Blake Griffin has transcended the in-game dunk. The almost-impossible-to-count posters performed by Blake during his short career already have him as possibly the best dunker of this generation. If you don’t believe me, check exhibit A. Is it just me or are the Knicks always are on the wrong end of posters?

6. SHAWN KEMP over Alton Lister
Shawn Kemp was actually another favorite player of mine when I was younger. He was so arrogant and cocky about his game. He was also another power forward with ridiculous hops. Poor Alton didn’t see this coming. Shawn just pummeled him with an incredible one-hander and finished it off with some hilarious finger-pointing. I’m sure it was all in fun; at least for Shawn that is.

5. JOHN STARKS over Michael Jordan/Horace Grant
This defined John Starks’ career. I’m sure every little kid cried when they saw MJ on the other side of this dunk. Everybody back in the day knew that the Knicks and Bulls rivalry was so brutal because of the animosity and hatred each side shared for one another. MJ was dominating the league, winning ring after ring. It wasn’t fun to be a New Yorker until Starks delivered one to the chin of Bulls Nation as he sprang along the baseline and destroyed MJ in the process. Air Starks came ready for takeoff.

4. BARON DAVIS over AK-47
While the Knicks’ legendary Cinderella run as the No. 8 seed in ’99 was awesome, the Warriors’ run back in ’07 was incredible as well. Don Nelson orchestrated his version of small ball, running with Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes and Al Harrington to take out the No. 1 seeded Dallas Mavericks during a titillating playoff run that didn’t end until a second round loss in five to Utah. As the Warriors were up 20 here, Baron Davis shattered the pride of Jazz fans even more as he drove to the basket and served Andrei Kirilenko a devastating jam. The electricity from the crowd (and commentators) after this jam is something we’ll never forget.

3. JULIUS ERVING over Michael Cooper
The tears coming out of my eyes are so unreal. Every time I’ve watched this dunk, I’ve flat out started crying in laughter. What many youngsters may not know is that before there was Blake Griffin or LeBron or Vince or even MJ, there was the good ol’ Dr. J. He was the man who revolutionized the dunk. And he enjoyed making house calls on occasion. I don’t know if Michael Cooper was trying to block it or get out the way. Or both. Just remember that Michael Cooper was a terrific defender with a tremendously high IQ. I just don’t know what he was thinking here.

2. SCOTTIE PIPPEN over Patrick Ewing
This was back in ’94. MJ was swinging and missing at curveballs during his retirement, allowing Scottie Pippen to show out and become the indomitable force he was. This was disrespect at its finest. On the fast break, not only did Pippen slam it down over Ewing, he towered over him and shoved him back to the ground. He would then walk over to talk some additional smack to Spike Lee. Pippen knew he had just engraved himself in the history books with that facial.

1. MICHAEL JORDAN over Patrick Ewing
Like I said, the Knicks have always been on the bad end of a poster. It just breaks my heart that Patrick received double dosage from two of his biggest adversaries. Jordan was Ewing’s biggest hindrance. He was the main reason Ewing never won a championship. Jordan tantalized the Knicks and Ewing throughout the years, never allowing any sense of relief nor escape against his Bulls. This dunk wasn’t just on Ewing, but on the entire New York area. This punctuated the Bulls’ dominance of the New York Knicks back in the ’90s.

Did we get this list right?

Follow Carl on Twitter at @TheRealCL24.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.