Slam Dunk – The History Behind Bball’s Most Exciting Play

Slam Dunk – The History Behind Bball’s Most Exciting Play

When it comes to moments in sports, the Slam Dunk is one of the most exhilarating. Grown adults and kids alike jump to their feet at the sight of an opposing player being “posterized”. The art of leaping from the court and thrusting the ball through  the hoop with authority has a unique history. From it’s invention to modern times, the Slam Dunk has helped define the basketball legacies of icons like Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

The invention of the dunk

As early as the 1940’s and 50’s Bob Kurland was throwing it down during games. The move quickly became an insult to defenders and the 7 foot, gold medalist center would find himself subject to physical retaliation. By the time Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell adopted the move in the 50’s and 60’s slam dunks were a full part of the tallest players arsenals.

The evolution

During the 1970’s players with never seen before athleticism ushered in the modern era of dunking. Julius Erving was gliding from the foul line. Darry Dawkins was breaking backboards. David Thompson was embarrassing defenders with gravity defying jams. Cardte Hicks would become the first woman to dunk during a men’s professional game in Holland. In 1984 Georgeann Wells, a 6’7 junior from West Virgina Univesity became the first woman to “yam it” down during a collegiate game.

In popular culture

Basketball’s most exciting maneuver has made it’s way from the gymnasium to modern culture as a whole. A sure thing is considered a “slam dunk”. When you coordinate a task that requires teamwork you throw “the alley oop”. Have you been rendered defenseless and left frozen? Well then, you’ve been “posterized”. When Chick Hearn  coined the term for the move, he couldn’t have imagined the level some of the world’s greatest athletes would take it to.

Notable dunks

5’7 Spudd Webb Dunk Contest Dunk

Michael Jordan Vs. Dominique Wilkins Final Round 1988 Dunk Contest

Kevin Johnson Posterizes Hakeem Olajuwon


John Starks “The Dunk”

Darry Dawkins Breaks The Backboard

Derrick Jones Jr Dunk

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