Blake Griffin officially announced his retirement from the NBA, closing the playing career of one of the league’s best players in the 2010s.

It also marked the official end of one of the sport’s greatest dunkers. Griffin’s 14-year NBA career was full of highlight-worthy and jaw-dropping dunks, putting many opponents on posters during his prime with the LA Clippers

Griffin also had one of the most memorable performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest’s history early in his career. 

In 2011, Griffin opted to dunk over a car for his final dunk of the night, capping off one of the most iconic dunk contests in recent memory.

Whether Griffin will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame is certainly up for debate. While he was one of the game’s top players during his best years, the six-time All-Star dealt with constant injuries in the back half of his career, diminishing his impact.

But what is not up for debate is Griffin’s standing as one of the best dunkers in NBA history. Let’s determine where he ranks among the best dunkers of all time.

On The Rise

Ja Morant: The Memphis Grizzlies guard is already one of the best dunking point guards of all time. Even his misses have been fun to watch, such as the time he nearly dunked on Kevin Love.

Anthony Edwards: The fourth-year All-Star might be the most likely player to climb into the top five. His dunk on Yuta Watanabe during his rookie season was the first of many highlight dunks in his career. The dunk he had over John Collins in March was one of the most exciting in-game dunks in recent memory.

Zion Williamson: After having several highlight dunks during his one year at Duke, Williamson hasn’t fully lived up to the hype yet. But he’s still had some flashy dunks in his career, like when he dropped a 360-degree dunk at the end of a game last season.

Honorable mentions

LeBron James: One of the greatest players of all time is also one of the game’s best dunkers of all time. James has made all sorts of highlight dunks over his career, posterizing opponents and making flashy moves when he gets out on a fastbreak. Of course, there might not be a more memorable dunk than his posterizing slam over Jason Terry in 2013. It’s a shame he hasn’t participated in an NBA Slam Dunk Contest. His 2,222 career dunks are also the most by any non-center since 1996-97. 

Kobe Bryant: Similar to James, Bryant was a high-flyer who made numerous highlight plays above the rim. Even after he tore his Achilles late in his career, Bryant was able to drop thunderous dunks on his opponents. Bryant also participated in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, winning it as an 18-year-old in 1997.

Dwyane Wade: Wade brought a similar ferocity to his dunks as Bryant, despite being two inches shorter. His dunk over Anderson Varejao might be one of the best in a game since the turn of the century.

Jason Richardson: The former NBA guard’s dunks were as flashy as anyone’s. He threw down 360 dunks and even made a buzzer-beating, alley-oop dunk late in his career. He’s also one of seven players to win the Slam Dunk Contest twice (2002 and 2003), treating fans to memorable dunks over the years. 

Shawn Kemp: The six-time NBA All-Star was also one of the game’s best dunkers in the 1990s, when he consistently led a Seattle SuperSonics squad to one of the best records in the Western Conference. His dunk over Alton Lister in the 1992 NBA Playoffs might be the best in-game dunk in NBA history. Kemp knew it too, taunting Lister as he celebrated. 

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5. Julius Erving

Even though he began his career in the ABA, Dr. J is undoubtedly one of the game’s most influential dunkers. Not many players outside of bigs were viewed as dunkers before Erving, who is credited with popularizing the term “posterizing” due to his dunks. 

Erving also made a highlight dunk on the game’s biggest stage. He threw down a dunk on Bill Walton after running from end-to-end in Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals. His “rock the baby” dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983 is also considered to be one of the game’s most memorable dunks. 

4. Michael Jordan

You can’t make a “best dunkers ever” list and not include “His Airness.” The NBA icon is one of the greatest dunkers in league history, winning multiple Slam Dunk Contests. His dunk from the free-throw line in the 1987 NBA Slam Dunk Contest is often cited as one of the best in the event’s history. 

There’s also a reason why his brand is called “Air Jordan.” Jordan had several memorable in-game dunks, with his spin move along the baseline before dunking on Patrick Ewing arguably being his best one. Jordan also shattered a backboard before Shaquille O’Neal famously did so, dropping such a thunderous jam during a Nike event in Italy in 1985 that his shoes from that exhibition game were later auctioned off for more than $600,000.

3. Dominique Wilkins

Jordan’s greatest dunk rival also needs to be mentioned on this list. The “Human Highlight Film” is a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner, but many believe that he should have won over Jordan in 1988. After earning a perfect score of 50 on his first two dunks, Wilkins threw down a windmill dunk so hard that he nearly hit his head on the rim. But he only earned a 45 from the judges in front of the Chicago crowd, allowing Jordan to win with his ensuing dunk.

Still, Wilkins might have made as many highlight jams over his career as any other player in NBA history. 

2. Blake Griffin

The now-former NBA star did something that’s tough to do: make dunks look exciting as a big man. Not many centers or power forwards have won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, likely due to the perception that it’s easier to dunk the taller you are. 

But the 6-foot-9 Griffin made jaw-dropping dunks throughout his career, even if he towered over many of his opponents. He also dunked over fellow big men too, with his jams over former NBA centers Kendrick Perkins and Timofey Mozgov being among the most memorable dunks in recent memory.

1. Vince Carter

Carter might have the distinction of holding the best dunk in the history of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and in a game. He’s credited for reviving the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000 as he put his elbow in the rim for his final slam. 

Later that year, Carter had the “Dunk of Death” in the Summer Olympics. After getting a steal, the guard took a couple dribbles before leaping over 7-foot-2 French center Frederic Weis.

Those were just two of the many, many highlight dunks Carter made in his career, making him worthy of being named the best dunker of all time. 

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