Prolific Posterizers: The Most Disrespectful Dunks Of All-Time

If you listen intently enough, you can still hear the gasps, the screams of shock and awe, the exultations of delight that emanated throughout Delta City Arena in Salt Lake City last Monday; when high-flying shooting guard Anthony Edwards screeched through the sky, arm stretched toward the heavens, plummeting his body forcefully in the direction of waiting power forward, John Collins. Gravity inevitably brought Edwards back down to Earth, leaving only the collateral damage of Collins in his wake.

View the dunk, here:

Dunks like Edward’s posterization of John Collins are the stuff of NBA dreams, the material most craved by zealous fans of the professional game. In honor of Sir Anthony’s elevation, we’ll discuss some of the most disrespectful dunks ever executed in a game. From Vince Carter to Dominique Wilkins, to Scottie Pippen or Blake Griffin, we’ll evaluate some of the dunks that still permeate the annals of NBA lore.

Pippen’s “Batman” Moment

Setting:Bulls vs Knicks (1995)

Stakes: The Bulls and Knicks were two of the most dominant teams in the Eastern Conference during the 1990’s, playing in two of the largest markets, Chicago and New York. Each team possessed Hall of Fame players in New York’s Patrick Ewing and Chicago’s Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen, for the entirety of his career, lurked in the shadow of his far more revered co-star. Pippen was often referred to derisively as Jordan’s “Robin,” he was grossly underpaid by Bull’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and his career remains underappreciated.

The Cannon Fodder: The legendary Center of the Knicks, Patrick Ewing.

Level of Disrespect: Pippen’s dunk on Ewing, which can be viewed below, is more of a “I’ve been overlooked my entire career, let me show you what I can do” type of disrespect. The animosity isn’t necessarily directed toward Ewing, though Pippen’s outward behavior can certainly be interpreted that way; it’s more toward the NBA viewing audience, who never really placed Pippen in the same stratosphere as other NBA greats of his day, like Patrick Ewing, or Clyde Drexler, or Charles Barkley, or, of course, his teammate Michael Jordan.

The Dunk of Death

Setting: USA vs France (2000)

Stakes: Vince Carter performed one of the most dastardly dunks in basketball history during a meager preliminary game between the US and France for the 2000 Olympics. The US squad, typically stacked with some of the most eminent players in the world, was not expected to face much of a challenge against an overmatched French squad. All in all, there wasn’t much incentive for an emphatic dunk. But don’t tell that to Vince Carter.

The Cannon Fodder: Frederic Weis, RIP.

Level of Disrespect: The kind of disrespect that allows you to live forever on YouTube. The game itself was more of a scrimmage for Team USA, who along with Carter, also featured such notables as Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton and Jason Kidd. Up 69-54, Vince Carter stole an outlet pass near the half-court line. Several steps later, he leaped violently toward the hoop, with 7-footer Frederic Weis standing in his way. Carter cleared him, like a low hurdle. Weis quailed childishly, in shame. He had effectively been used as a track and field instrument during a basketball game.

Air Ginger?

Setting: Clippers vs Knicks (2010)

Stakes: The stakes were relatively mundane. It was a regular season NBA game, featuring two relatively nondescript teams. Blake Griffin, the first overall selection in the 2009 draft taken by the Clippers, was still attempting to establish his own niche as an NBA player. Everyone understood Griffin possessed preternatural athleticism, but no one knew how effectively he’d be able to demonstrate it.

The Cannon Fodder: Timofey Mosgov

Level of Disrespect: Total and complete disrespect. So disrespectful it makes disrespect look banal. Griffin galloped toward the perimeter, setting Chris Paul a screen, off of which he rolled. Chris Paul advanced past the screen and zipped the ball to a streaking Griffin. Waiting below the rim was Mozgov, determined to contest the imminent dunk. Griffin leaped improbably, clasped his left hand behind Mozgov’s  head mid-flight, and used it to hoist himself to the rim, effectually tea-bagging the dilapidated Mozgov. It was a moment of infamy from which Mozgov’s career never fully recovered

Chocolate Thunder “Flips The Bird”

Setting: Celtics vs Hawks (1982)

The Cannon Fodder: Larry “Legend” Bird

Stakes: Larry Bird, drafted by the Celtics in 1978 and soon anointed as the NBA’s “Great White Hope,” restored the dominance of the Celtics during the 1980s. Dominique Wilkins presented a stark contrast to Bird’s more groundbound game, becoming one of the leagues most ferocious and awe-inspiring dunkers; following in the legacy established of previous NBA greats like Dr. J. The two would eventually star in many dramatics between the Celtics and Hawks in the ensuing years.

Level of Disrespect: Considering the veneration much of the viewing public held for Larry Bird, Wilkin’s dunk scores highly on the disrespect meter. Wilkins received a quick outlet pass and initiated an electric fastbreak. Wilkins had malicious intentions as soon as the ball touched his hands, which only mounted further when he viewed who was streaking down the court in juxtaposition against him, preparing to contest him: Larry Legend. Wilkins took one dribble, an additional step, prepared to launch, and executed a maniacal two-handed dunk against Bird, who promptly flailed ignominiously to the ground.

Indecent Exposure

Setting: Lakers vs Knicks (2000)

The Cannon Fodder: Mike Dudley

Stakes: In this instance, the stakes were relatively moderate. It was a quotidian regular season game featuring the Lakers and Knicks, during the height of the Shaqobe dynasty in Los Angeles. The context for Shaq’s display of disrespect was more an assertion of prevailing dominance than anything else.

Level of Disrespect: A monumental level of disrespect. Like, “why would you even bother defending me” type of disrespect. Shaq received an entry pass in the post, backed down an overmatched Chris Dudley, turned completely around and levelled a massive dunk against the humiliated Center, pushing his groin against Dudley’s face and lightly shoving him to the ground. Dudley was so furious, afterward, he picked up the ball after Shaq’s landing and hurled it at Shaq’s back.

Finish Him!

Setting: Warriors vs Jazz (2007)

The Cannon Fodder: Andrei Kirilenko

Stakes: The stakes of the contest were high. The Warriors were regarded as a distinct underdog in their series against the more formidable Jazz. At home,  in a raucous “Roarocacle” Arena, Baron Davis’s explosive dunk against Kirilenko became a symbol for the 2007 Warriors who, though they would eventually lose to the Jazz, nevertheless possessed a resilience that still resonates.

Level of Disrespect: This was more of “I’ve got something to prove” dunk. The Warriors were an 8 seed in the 2007 playoffs, miraculously beating the 1 seeded Mavericks in the first round. The Jazz were predicted to handle the Warriors easily, but the obdurate Warriors were intent on displaying pluck. In Game 3, the Warriors were trouncing the Jazz, up 119-99 in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter. Baron Davis found himself at the top of the key, awaiting a screen, which he feinted, turning away from the screen and instead streaking toward the hoop. Kirilenko arrived with the help defense, which Baron brusquely ignored, skying over Kirilenko for an electric dunk that sent the decibel level in Oracle Arena through the roof. Imagine that? A 6”0 guard finishing a dunk, in demonstrative fashion, against one of the best defenders in the NBA.

For additional coverage surrounding basketball, reference the following articles:

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