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The Best Basketball Dunks of All Time: A Ranking of the Most Amazing Feats

How to Dunk a Basketball Learn 3 Different Techniques

Dunking a basketball is one of the most thrilling and satisfying skills in sports. It involves jumping high enough to reach the rim with one or both hands and slamming the ball through the hoop with force and style. Dunking is not only a great way to score points, but also to show off your athleticism, intimidate your opponents, and energize your teammates and fans.

But how do you learn how to dunk a basketball? What are the secrets behind this amazing feat? In this article, we will explore the history, benefits, techniques, and records of dunking a basketball. We will also give you some tips on how to train yourself to dunk a basketball and enjoy the thrill of flying high.

basketball dunk

History of the Dunk

The first recorded dunk in basketball history was performed by Joe Fortenberry in 1936 during an Olympic training session. He was 6'8" tall and could jump very high. He caught a pass from his teammate and threw the ball down with two hands, surprising everyone who witnessed it.

However, dunking was not widely accepted or practiced in basketball for many years. Some players and coaches considered it disrespectful, dangerous, or unnecessary. The NCAA even banned dunking from 1967 to 1976, citing injury concerns and damage to the rims.

It was not until the 1970s and 1980s that dunking became more popular and celebrated in basketball culture. Players like Julius Erving, Darryl Dawkins, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and others brought creativity, flair, and power to their dunks, making them crowd favorites and media sensations. The NBA also introduced the Slam Dunk Contest in 1984, which showcased the best dunkers in the league competing for glory and prizes.

Since then, dunking has become an integral part of basketball at all levels. Many players have developed their own signature dunks, such as Vince Carter's 360 windmill, Kobe Bryant's reverse slam, LeBron James' tomahawk jam, and Zach LaVine's free throw line dunk. Dunking has also inspired many innovations in basketball equipment, such as breakaway rims, spring-loaded floors, and vertical jump measuring devices.

How to do a slam dunk in basketball

Best basketball dunkers of all time

Basketball dunk contest rules and tips

Amazing basketball dunk videos and highlights

Basketball dunk training exercises and drills

Benefits of basketball dunking for fitness and health

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Types of basketball dunks and how to perform them

History of basketball dunking and its evolution

Basketball dunking techniques and secrets

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Basketball dunk trivia and facts

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Basketball dunk records and statistics

Basketball dunk art and graphics

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How to defend against a basketball dunk

How to do a reverse dunk in basketball

How to do an alley-oop in basketball

How to do a windmill dunk in basketball

How to do a 360 dunk in basketball

How to do a tomahawk dunk in basketball

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How to do a baseline reverse dunk in basketball

How to do a one hand reverse dunk in basketball

How to do a two hand reverse dunk in basketball

How to do a rock the cradle dunk in basketball

How to do a honey dip dunk in basketball

How to do a scorpion dunk in basketball

Benefits of the Dunk

Dunking a basketball is not only fun and exciting, but also beneficial for your game and your athleticism. Here are some of the benefits of dunking:

  • It improves your vertical jump. Dunking requires you to jump as high as possible to reach the rim. By practicing dunking regularly, you will improve your explosive power, speed, coordination, and flexibility. These qualities will help you jump higher not only for dunks, but also for rebounds, blocks, layups, and steals.

  • It boosts your confidence. Dunking is a challenging skill that not many players can master. When you achieve your first dunk or perform a spectacular dunk in front of others, you will feel a surge of confidence and pride. This will motivate you to work harder on your game and overcome any obstacles or fears you may have.

  • It gives you an edge over your opponents. Dunking is a powerful weapon that can give you an advantage over your opponents. When you dunk on someone, you send a message that you are stronger, faster, and more skilled than them. This can demoralize them and make them lose their focus or aggressiveness. On the other hand, when you dunk for your team, you can inspire them and boost their morale. Dunking can also influence the referees' decisions by making them more likely to call fouls in your favor or ignore fouls against you.

Techniques of the Dunk

There are many different ways to dunk a basketball, depending on your preference, style, and ability. Here are three of the most common techniques that you can learn and practice:

One-Foot Dunk

This is the most common technique and, for the majority of athletes, the easiest way to dunk. The movement patterns are almost identical to a layup, making the one-foot dunk-technique easy to learn for experienced basketball players. One-foot dunkers are often tall and lanky with a build similar to track and field high-jumpers. An example of an excellent dunker who prefers to jump off of one foot is the two-time Dunk Contest Winner, Zach LaVine.

A one-foot dunk is highlighted by a longer than usual second to last step (often called penultimate step by athletic trainers), which lowers the center of gravity of a jumper. This is then followed by a quick and explosive takeoff where the jumping leg bends relatively little and acts as a lever transforming speed into height.

To perform a one-foot dunk, you need to get close to the basket, jump up, and grab the ball with one or both hands. You can practice dunking with smaller balls and lower hoops until you can dunk a size 7 basketball on a 10ft hoop. You can also use passes or bounces to help you reach the rim.

Strengths of one-footed dunk technique:

  • Can be performed very quickly to avoid blocks

  • Relatively easy to perform in-game as the movement pattern is similar to lay-ups

  • In addition to jumping high it is also easy to jump long this way


  • One-foot dunks are usually also one-handed dunks and therefore you should be able to palm the ball

  • Heavy athletes or very muscular athletes often have problems with this technique because incredibly high forces are on only one knee often resulting in lower jumps or even knee problems

Two-Foot Dunk

This technique is more suitable for shorter or heavier players who have more strength than speed. Two-foot dunkers are often powerful and explosive, with a build similar to sprinters or weightlifters. An example of an amazing dunker who likes to jump off of two feet is the four-time Dunk Contest Winner, Nate Robinson.

A two-foot dunk is characterized by a shorter and quicker approach, followed by a simultaneous jump off both feet. The jumper bends both knees deeply and uses both legs and arms to generate maximum force and height.

To execute a two-foot dunk, you need to run towards the basket, plant both feet firmly on the ground, swing your arms up, and propel yourself upwards with both legs. You can hold the ball with one or both hands and slam it through the hoop.

Strengths of two-footed dunk technique:

  • Can be performed with more stability and balance

  • Allows for more variations and creativity in mid-air

  • Requires less speed and more strength than one-foot dunks


  • Takes more time and space to execute than one-foot dunks

  • More difficult to perform in-game as it requires good timing and positioning

  • Limits the horizontal distance that can be covered in the air

Alley-Oop Dunk

This technique involves catching a pass from a teammate or yourself in mid-air and finishing it with a dunk. Alley-oop dunks are very spectacular and exciting, but also very challenging and risky. Alley-oop dunkers need to have great timing, coordination, and communication with their partners. An example of a legendary duo who mastered the art of alley-oop dunks is Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

An alley-oop dunk can be done with either one or two feet, depending on the situation and preference. The key is to anticipate the trajectory of the pass and adjust your jump accordingly. You need to catch the ball at its highest point and slam it down before landing.

Strengths of alley-oop dunk technique:

  • Can be done with any ball size and hoop height

  • Can surprise and confuse the defense

  • Can create amazing highlights and memories


  • Requires a good passer who can deliver accurate and timely passes

  • Requires a lot of practice and trust between partners

Involves more variables and uncertainties Records of the Dunk

Dunking a basketball has inspired many players to challenge themselves and push the limits of human potential. Some of the most remarkable records of dunking a basketball are:

Highest Dunk

The highest dunk ever recorded was performed by Kadour Ziani, a 5'11" Algerian-French streetballer who is known for his incredible leaping ability. He reportedly dunked on a 12'6" (3.81 m) rim, which is 2'6" higher than the standard NBA rim. He achieved this feat by using a trampoline to launch himself in the air.

Longest Dunk

The longest dunk ever recorded was performed by James White, a 6'7" American professional basketball player who has played in the NBA and other leagues. He is famous for his ability to jump from long distances and finish with powerful dunks. He reportedly dunked from behind the free throw line, which is 15 feet (4.57 m) away from the basket, during a dunk contest in Turkey in 2008.

Most Dunks in a Game

The most dunks in a single NBA game was achieved by Dwight Howard, a 6'10" American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is one of the best centers and dunkers of his generation, with multiple All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year awards. He dunked 12 times out of his 14 field goals against the Golden State Warriors on January 12, 2007, setting a new NBA record.

Most Dunks in a Career

The most dunks in an NBA career belongs to Shaquille O'Neal, a 7'1" American retired basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most dominant players of all time. He played for six teams in his 19-year career, winning four championships and three Finals MVP awards. He dunked 5,935 times out of his 11,330 field goals, which is more than half of his total shots.

Most Dunks in a Season

The most dunks in an NBA season belongs to Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 6'11" Greek professional basketball player who currently plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is one of the best players in the league today, with two MVP and one Defensive Player of the Year awards. He dunked 279 times out of his 685 field goals in the 2019-20 season, which is more than any other player in NBA history.


Dunking a basketball is an amazing skill that can bring you joy, confidence, and respect. It can also improve your game and your athleticism in many ways. However, dunking is not easy to learn or master. It requires a lot of practice, patience, and perseverance.

If you want to learn how to dunk a basketball, you need to work on your strength, speed, jumping ability, and technique. You also need to have a good ball-handling skill and be able to palm the ball. You can start by practicing with smaller balls and lower hoops until you can progress to bigger balls and higher hoops. You can also try different techniques and variations to find what suits you best.

Dunking a basketball is not only a physical challenge but also a mental one. You need to believe in yourself and overcome any doubts or fears you may have. You need to have fun and enjoy the process of learning and improving. You need to be creative and expressive with your dunks.

Dunking a basketball is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a basketball player. It can make you feel like you are flying high and touching the sky. It can make you feel like you are unstoppable and invincible. It can make you feel like you are living your dream.


Q: How tall do you have to be to dunk?

A: There is no definitive answer to this question, as different players have different jumping abilities and techniques. However, generally speaking, the taller you are, the easier it is to dunk. The average height of NBA players who can dunk is around 6'6", but there are also many exceptions. For example, Spud Webb was only 5'7" but he won the Slam Dunk Contest in 1986.

Q: How can I increase my vertical jump?

A: There are many exercises and drills that can help you increase your vertical jump A: There are many exercises and drills that can help you increase your vertical jump. Some of the most effective ones are:

  • Full range back squat. This is a classic strength exercise that works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. It also mimics the triple extension movement that is essential for jumping. To do it, place a barbell on your upper back and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower, then drive up explosively to the starting position. Do 35 sets of 510 reps.

  • Jumping jacks. This is a simple but effective plyometric exercise that improves your lower body power and coordination. It also elevates your heart rate and shifts your body out of its usual plane of movement. To do it, stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump up and spread your feet apart, while raising your arms overhead. Jump back to the starting position. Do 25 sets of 1020 reps.

  • Single-leg deadlifts with jump. This is an advanced exercise that builds stability and explosiveness in one leg at a time. It also challenges your balance and core strength. To do it, stand on one leg and extend the other leg behind you. Lean forward and reach down to the floor with the opposite hand, while raising your back leg to hip height. Jump up explosively, lifting your front foot and raising your back knee in front of you. Land softly and repeat. Do 24 sets of 310 reps on each side.

  • Burpees. This is a full-body exercise that combines strength, endurance, and cardio fitness. It also works your core, hips, and thighs, which are important for jumping. To do it, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick or step your feet back into a plank position and do a push-up. Bring your feet back to your hands and jump up with your arms overhead. Do 12 sets of 1016 reps.

  • Forward linear jumps. This is a specific exercise that trains you to jump forward as well as upward. It also improves your landing mechanics and shock absorption. To do it, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Swing your arms back and jump forward as far as you can, landing softly on both feet. Repeat without pausing. Do 24 sets of 612 reps.

Q: How can I palm a basketball?

A: Palming a basketball is the ability to hold the ball in one hand without dropping it or using the other hand for support. It can help you dunk more easily and securely, as well as handle the ball better in general. Palming a basketball requires a combination of hand size, grip strength, finger strength, and ball control.

To palm a basketball, you need to spread your fingers wide and wrap them around the ball as much as possible. You also need to press the ball against your palm with enough force to prevent it from slipping out. You can practice palming a basketball by holding it in one hand for as long as you can, squeezing it with different finger combinations, spinning it on your fingertips, or tossing it up and catching it with one hand.

Q: How can I avoid injuries when dunking?

A: Dunking can be risky if you don't do it properly or safely. You can injure yourself or others by landing awkwardly, hitting the rim or the backboard, or colliding with another player. To avoid injuries when dunking, you should follow these tips:

  • Warm up properly. Before attempting any dunks, you should warm up your muscles and joints with some light cardio and dynamic stretches. This will prepare your body for the explosive movements and reduce the risk of strains or sprains.

  • Use proper technique. You should always use good form when dunking, whether it's one-foot or two-foot, one-hand or two-hand, or any variation. You should jump high enough to clear the rim comfortably, without hanging on it or slamming it too hard. You should also land softly on both feet, with your knees bent and aligned with your toes.

  • Wear appropriate shoes. You should wear shoes that fit well, support your ankles, and provide good traction and cushioning. You should avoid shoes that are too tight, too loose, too heavy, or too worn out.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. You should be mindful of where you are dunking, who you are dunking with, and what you are dunking on. You should avoid dunking in crowded or slippery areas, where you might bump into someone or slip and fall. You should also avoid dunking on unstable or low-quality rims, where you might break them or injure yourself.

Q: How can I improve my dunking creativity?

A: Dunking creativity is the ability to perform different and original dunks that showcase your personality and style. It can make your dunks more enjoyable and memorable, as well as impress your audience and judges. To improve your dunking creativity, you should try these tips:

  • Watch and learn from other dunkers. You can watch videos of professional and amateur dunkers online or in person, and observe how they execute their dunks. You can learn from their techniques, variations, and expressions, and try to emulate or modify them to suit your own preferences.



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