The NBA remains suspended as the coronavirus continues to grip the world. So, for now, fans can only rewatch games, relive highlights, and hope for the season to restart soon. Fans can also read lists like this one, which features five of the best in-game dunks in the NBA in the last 30 years. Take a look, and then hit us up for dunks that you think we may have missed.
Jordan Over Ewing
Michael Jordan is widely considered as the greatest of all time, and he has the highlight reel to show for it. One of his best was his posterization of Patrick Ewing in the 1992 postseason, which is likely MJ’s most iconic in-game dunk ever. His Airness was all over the 7-1 Ewing, one of the most prolific shot blockers in NBA history. What made that dunk all the more impressive was the move that preceded it: a quick, sweet spin to the baseline after faking off John Starks. That sequence, to say the least, was Jordan at his apex best.
Kemp’s Lister Blister
The 1992 playoffs also witnessed the infamous “Lister Blister” starring Shawn Kemp of the then Seattle Supersonics. The Reign Man got the ball at just outside the free throw circle. He then dribbled once, took two explosive steps towards the basket, and cradled the ball—all at full steam. Just as he takes off, the Golden State Warriors’ Alton Lister slides in position to take the charge. But Kemp was already airborne, and had cocked the ball for another of his trademark throwdowns. The rest was jam history, with Kemp plastering Lister with a vicious poster dunk.
Pippen Posterizes Ewing
Prime Scottie Pippen was a beast in transition. Ewing found that out the hard way in the 1994 playoffs with a dunk described by Sports Illustrated as the pinnacle of disrespect. With the Bulls on the break, Pippen got the ball on the left flank, just a step outside the paint. He took off at about the same time Ewing jumped for the block. But Pippen got up higher, absorbed the contact, then threw down a vicious one-hander over the big man. Then, Pip stood over a fallen Ewing for a second or two, to rub it in.
Carter’s Two-Handed Reverse in Indiana
Long before Vince Carter started making it onto the oldest active players lists, he was a high-flyer. He was, in fact, electrifying in his prime, and is credited by Bwin Sports for bringing the Slam Dunk contest back to life with a show-stopping performance in the 2000 All-Star Weekend.
That performance seemed a foregone conclusion, especially after a rookie season full of awe-inspiring slams. The best had to be the one in Indiana: a reverse, almost no-look two-hander off a baseline drive. It was breathtaking, explosive, creative, and ferocious—hallmarks of Vinsanity’s in-game slams.
McGrady Sucks the Gravity
Tracy McGrady was a highlight waiting to happen. He gave a memorable one in the 2005 playoffs when he, in the words of play-by-play man Kevin Harlan, “sucked the gravity right out of the building!” T-Mac drove to the baseline and exploded to the rack, where he was met by the 7-6 Shawn Bradley, then the Dallas Mavericks’ backup big man. Bradley, perhaps realizing he was too late, tried to get out of McGrady’s way. But he couldn’t, which meant he was included in an all-time great poster.
The Lob to DJ
DeAndre Jordan’s throwdown over Brandon Knight is the most recent on this list, as it happened in 2013. The dunk set social media afire, as DJ, the hyper-athletic center of the Los Angeles Clippers then, detonated on a hapless and helpless Knight. Afterwards, Jordan could only smirk, as he left Knight plastered on the floor after a violent airborne collision.