Best dunkers in the NBA: Who are the 20 best dunkers of all time?

Today, let’s take a look at some of the best-ever dunkers of all time. Their legacy as basketball players can be defined by their exceptional dunking abilities, which will be remembered for decades. Dunking is one of the most thrilling aspects of modern-day basketball.

Today we look at the best dunkers of all time in the NBA
Memphis Grizzlies guard Brandon Clarke dunks the ball during a game. Photo by Brian FluhartySource: Getty Images

This is a list of the top 20 dunkers of all time. Many photos of dunks are put on NBA promotional posters, also known as ‘posterizing’ someone. The best dunkers usually have excellent fitness and athleticism.

20. Ja Morant

Following the 2019-2020 season, he emerged as the recipient of the NBA rookie of the year award. He is widely regarded as one of the most fashionable players to execute impressive dunks, despite only becoming a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2019.

19. Zion Williamson

Zion, another young NBA star, gained further reputation when he joined the league in 2019. He impressed many with his dunks throughout his high school and college career.

Zion is one of the best dunkers in the NBA right now.
Zion’s physicality allows him to dunk over even the best defenders. Photo by Ned DishmanSource: Getty Images

18. Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon is considered the greatest NBA player to never win the dunk contest slam weekend at the All-Star NBA. He finished 2nd in two editions, losing to Derrick Jones Jr. In 2020 and Zach Lavine in 2015.

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Aaron Gordon is one of the best dunkers in the NBA in 2023.
Aaron Gordon is one of the best dunkers in the NBA in 2023. Photo by Matthew StockmanSource: Getty Images

17. Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing was one of the most dominant centers in the NBA in the 90s. He utilized his enormous physique to dunk on his opponents and dominate the players near the rim.

Patrick Ewing was one of the best dunkers in the NBA in the 90s.
Patrick Ewing is considered the greatest player in New York Knicks history. Photo by Brian SpurlockSource: Getty Images

16. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard is one of the most prolific dunkers in the history of the NBA. He was the slam dunk champion in 2008 and is also a two-time NBA defensive player of the year.

Dwight Howard is considered one of the best dunkers of all time.
Winning the 2008 slam dunk contest wearing a superman cape led fans to nickname Howard ‘The Superman”. Photo by Timothy Clary/AFPSource: Getty Images

15. Zach Lavine

Zach Lavine, the shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls, is known for his incredible jumping ability and range when it comes to contest dunk slam in the NBA 2015 All-Star Weekend.

14. Kobe Bryant

Kobe is widely regarded as one of the best players in NBA history. A big part of his appeal to fans was his effortless dunking. He won the NBA dunk contest in 1997.

Kobe is one of the top 20 best dunkers all time.
Kobe was an avid dunker. Photo by Fernando MedinaSource: Getty Images

13. Jason Richardson

Jason Richardson emerged as the winner of the dunk contest in both 2002 and 2003. He was widely recognized for his impressive dunks while playing for the Golden State Warriors.

Jason Richardson is one of the top 20 dunkers of all time
Jason Richardson is one of the top dunkers of the early 2000s. Photo by Ned DishmanSource: Getty Images

12. Russell Westbrook

Westbrook was awarded the league’s most prestigious player honor in the 2016/17 season. He is regarded as one of the game’s top contemporary point producers.

Westbrook is one of the game's best players.
Westbrook in action. Photo by Adam PantozziSource: Getty Images

11. Daryl Dawkins

In the year 2015, he died. While dunking on Sacramento’s Bill Robinzine in 1979, he is renowned for shattering the backboard. The deceased Daryl Dawkins is widely regarded as the league’s groundbreaking dunk expert. The NBA implemented a penalty on any player who shattered the backboard while dunking because of this occurrence.

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10. Blake Griffin

Blake is considered the ultimate dunker of the 2010s. He achieved triumph in the 2011 slam dunk competition by jumping over an automobile.

Griffin is one of the best dunkers of the 2010's
Griffin’s incredible slam dunk contest winning dunk. Photo: Mark RalstonSource: Getty Images

9. Shaquille O’Neal

During his time playing for the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal, like Dawkins, was able to dunk on opponents and even broke a backboard. His considerable power and size enabled him to dunk with authority throughout his career.

Shaq is one of the best dunkers of all time
Shaq posterizing an opponent during his Orlando Magic days. Photo by Jesse D. GarrabrantSource: Getty Images

8. Tracy Mcgrady

In the year 2000, he participated in the slam dunk competition. Mcgrady, also recognized as T-Mac, was a versatile scorer who topped the league in scoring on two distinct occasions.

Mcgrady is one of the best dunkers of all time.
Mcgrady led the league in scoring in 2002 and 2003. Photo by Nathaniel S. ButlerSource: Getty Images

7. Lebron James

As of February 2023, LeBron James has scored more points than any other player in the NBA. One of his key weapons is his ability to use his speed and explosiveness to overpower defenders and execute powerful dunks.

6. Julius Erving

He was known for his ability to dunk. Julius Erving, affectionately referred to as ‘Dr J’ by fans, was one of the earliest specialists in dunking in the NBA.

Julius Erving was one of the NBA's first dunk specialists.
Dr J won NBA titles with the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. Image by Getty ArchiveSource: Getty Images

5. Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins, known as “The human highlight reel,” emerged victorious in the dunk contest. He earned his nickname due to his powerful and dynamic dunking abilities, representing the Atlanta Hawks. In both 1990 and 1985, Wilkins secured the win in the dunk contest.

Wilkins won the dunk contest twice in his career.
Wilkins won the dunk contest twice in his career. Photo by Bill Smith.Source: Getty Images

4. Scottie Pippen

Patrick Ewing is widely regarded as one of the best dunks of his time, during the golden era of dunking. Scottie Pippen, a legend of the Chicago Bulls, was among the top specialists in dunking.

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Pippen is one of the best dunkers of all time.
Pippen’s iconic dunk over Ewing. Photo by Nathaniel S. ButlerSource: Getty Images

3. Shawn Kemp

His dunks over Alton Liston and Hakeem Olajuwon continue to be regarded as iconic. Fans were entertained by Shawn Kemp’s skillful dunking and teasing of his adversaries, which gained a lot of attention.

Shawn Kemp is one of the best dunkers of all time.
Kemp dunked over Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1996 Western conference finals. Photo by Andrew D. BernsteinSource: Getty Images

2. Michael Jordan

In the annals of the NBA, Jordan is commonly regarded as the supreme player. In 1987 and 1988, Jordan additionally clinched victory in the slam dunk competition twice, apart from securing the NBA championship a remarkable six times.

Michael Jordan is one of the NBA's greatest players.
Michael Jordan at the 1987 NBA dunk championship. Photo by Andy Hayt/Sports IllustratedSource: Getty Images

1. Vince Carter

He currently works as a basketball analyst for ESPN. He earned nicknames such as ‘Vinsanity’ and ‘Half Man, Half Amazing’ after winning the slam dunk contest at the NBA in 2000. Vince Carter is undeniably the best dunker in the history of the NBA.

Vince Carter is the best dunker of all time.
Vince’s winning dunk at the 2000 slam dunk contest. Photo by Andrew D. BernsteinSource: Getty Images

It is important to celebrate these great dunkers who bring great joy to fans all around the globe. Dunking is the perfect art of basketball, mastered by only a select group of elite and athletic players.

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