Dunking on someone is one of the most dominating things a basketball player can do on the basketball court. It produces a visceral reaction inside every basketball fan, a swelling in the bosom of energy that releases in a verbal outcry of amazement. It has the power to ignite an arena, silence a raucous crowd, and according to legend, bring the dead back to life.
While there have been hundreds – thousands even – of dunks this season in the NBA, there can only be five that are worthy of being a “Top 5 dunk of the 2017-18 season.”
While there are several prodigious in-game dunkers, deciding which ones were the best was a difficult task. Did the dunk occur in the final minutes of a blowout win or loss? Did the dunk set the mood for the rest of the game? Is there a backstory, a rivalry even, behind the dunk? Was the dunk on a wide-open transition opportunity, a putback slam, or a contested dunk in traffic?
While the Slam Dunk Competition judges may feel free to judge dunks on an arbitrary scale, we’ve tried to put more work into these rankings, and as such, are pleased to announce this year’s winners.
Coming in fifth, a man with few equals.
This is not just an incredible dunk, it’s an incredible story. Embiid has developed a reputation as a ruthless trash talker on Instagram, and he’s putting in work on the court to develop his reputation there. He takes joy in the entertainment aspect of the NBA, and knows that plays like this elevate not just himself, but his entire team.
So when he caught the ball at the top of the key early in a high intensity game, dribbled past Steven Adams on a closeout, and saw the reigning MVP rotating into his path in an attempt to draw a charge, he had but one option — humiliation.
Embiid rose into the sky, throwing down a one-handed hammer in a manner similar to dunks that Westbrook has done countless times throughout his career. To salt the wound, Embiid stares him down as he begins to run back down the court, letting the Thunder guard and the rest of the world know what exactly just happened.