Thank you John Lucas for getting in the way. LeBron James and the dunk of the season would’ve happened regardless, but you had to go and intervene. Not on purpose. It was quite obvious you never even saw him coming. That play might end up being the best dunk of James’ career. In 2020, it might not even be close.
James might’ve gone video game dunk contest on us in the first half of the Heat’s win yesterday, but it’s not like this is something new. He has approximately one gazillion spread eagle dunks in his career, numbers even Jenna Jameson would be proud of, and there isn’t a walking, breathing center who hasn’t gotten a taste of his nuts. Yesterday he outplayed the reigning MVP until the final minute, when everyone teamed up to see who could screw it up the most. The last 60 seconds or so nearly ruined a classic, but as far as this play, there’s no Nike around this time that can confiscate this tape.
But was the Wade-to-James alley-oop the best dunk of the King’s career? Here are his five best dunks ever.
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5. LeBron Shames Damon Jones
Damon Jones is quite the caricature. From his ruby red suits at All-Star Weekend to his “best shooter in the world” claims, we could never take him seriously. But to touch your face after this dunk? We saw you curl up into the fetal position before it happened. You braced yourself. You’re not kidding anyone. Maybe if you hadn’t tried to get all Gary Payton on us and just let Jeff McInnis get the layup, things would’ve been different. This dunk feels like a cartoon: the funny-talking dude acting tough gets squished, run over, flattened by the big bad machine. Afterwards, I guess, there really wasn’t anything he could do outside of rub his face… as if to ask himself, “Am I still alive?”
4. LeBron Bulldozes Tim Duncan
A dunk can always make a top 10 when it has a certain significance, either it’s a) a big game, b) so nasty that you have to bookmark the link or c) you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when it happened. I was in college, and missed the dunk in real time. We had two TVs in the room – side by side – and had the game on the smaller one, and 2K on the larger. Duncan got popped so disgustingly that some kid from down the hall came charging into our room freaking out.
Only Duncan would get embarrassed like this, and then keep running back up court without any acknowledgement.
3. LeBron Catches All Of Boston Slipping
Normally, Kevin Harlan‘s “With no regard for human life” is just a little over the top. But LeBron did nearly kill Kevin Garnett with this one. Only James could put up a stat line like the one he had on this night (21 points, 13 assists, three steals, two blocks) and have it be one of his worst games of the playoffs. I also like how he did the Kobe face immediately after. Or is it the LeBron face since this one came first? At this point in their championship run, the Celtics were the worst road guests. LeBron had to treat them accordingly.
2. LeBron Pulls Out The Dominique On Dallas
This was so violent, it sounded like Steve Kerr took a shot to the stomach. If I can steal a quote from YouTube, this was so nasty we switched to porn when our mom came walking in. If you need one game to showcase exactly why James left Cleveland, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The Mavs won on this night in 2007, their 14th consecutive win, not because LeBron dropped 39 points. They took home the W because the rest of his starting lineup combined for 22.
1. LeBron Teats John Lucas Like A Stepping Stone
Some dunks literally jump out at you right away. It could be the noise – I remember Tracy McGrady‘s baseline facial on Mehmet Okur in the 2003 Playoffs that was so loud I jumped up and stayed up for about five minutes after. It could be the moment – James has had his share, memorably giving Rasheed Wallace a piece of his mind at one point. But sometimes a dunk is so ridiculous that it takes a while to set in. That’s apparently what happened to Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy yesterday.
LeBron scored 35 with 11 boards yesterday, and nearly choked away another game. But in five years, what will you remember? Vince Carter‘s Olympic statue is still better, but he didn’t catch an alley-oop either.
Did we miss any?
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