There is no more exciting play in basketball than the slam dunk. While a big three-point shot can be exciting, nothing brings the crowd to its feet like a rim-rattling dunk. There have been numerous amazing dunkers in the NBA, men whose ability to fly through the air seemed to defy the laws of physics. Though it is a tough task to say who the best dunkers of all time were, here is a look at the top 5 dunk artists in NBA history.

5. Darryl Dawkins

This man was perhaps the most powerful dunker in the history of basketball. He was infamous for destroying backboards with his powerful jams. Nobody could shatter the glass with a rim-rocking dunk like Dawkins could. Because he played before the NBA became the hugely popular sport it is today, his legacy is not what it should be. This is the man who forced the NBA to develop breakaway rims to protect their backboards from shattering. That alone should earn him a lot of recognition, but many fans today don’t even know his name.

4. Dominique Wilkins

This man was one of the supreme dunk artists of the 1980s. He was legendary for his powerful windmill dunk. He won two NBA Slam Dunk Contests, including beating out Michael Jordan in the finals of the 1985 contest. The man had his dunking prowess immortalised when he was dubbed the “Human Highlight Reel.”

3. Blake Griffin

Even though it may seem premature to put Griffin on this list, he has already earned a spot during his short time in the NBA. This is a man who is revolutionizing the dunk. No man has ever been able to dunk so much in competition. Opponents fear to get in his way during games as they don’t want to feature in his latest poster. His dunk over a car in the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Contest is one of the best dunk in history.

2. Julius Erving

No man in history ever looked as smooth when he was dunking as Dr. J did. The man had a stunning array of dunks that he was never afraid to pull out in the middle of a tight contest. This is the man who brought the dunk from a novelty act into one of the most exciting parts of every basketball game. Dr. J is the godfather to the modern dunkers.

1. Michael Jordan

The best player in NBA history also just happened to be its greatest slam dunk artist. No man could hang with the legendary “Air” Jordan. Jordan was a man for whom gravity seemed to be a laughable concept. He would leap up and over the rim like it was nothing, and then he would hang there while all of his opponents succumbed to gravity. Then he would slam the ball home with a flourish that would thrill fans all the way up to the nosebleed sections. It will take a very special player to have a chance to supplant Jordan as the best slam dunk artist ever.

There are many other players, both current and former, that deserve honourable mentions for their prowess and athletic skills. Vince Carter took the world by storm for his perfomance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, revolutioninsing the meaning to the word ‘dunk’, and Clyde Drexler was toe-to-toe with the elite durng the late 1980s, early 1990’s.

Denzil is a full time copywriter in Brisbane, Australia. His favourite team is the L.A. Lakers of the NBA. Denzil tries to write as many posts about basketball, and more specifically the NBA as possible. He plays himself in social leagues around Brisbane and is consistently working on improving his game to be more like Kobe Bryant.