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Best Dunkers in NBA History Hierarchy List

by Riley Baines
NBA Hierarchy All-Time Best Dunkers 08-12

Best Dunkers in NBA History

Ranking the best NBA dunkers is hard. Some of the best dunkers in NBA History have ever never competed in a dunk contest. I don’t think that makes them any less great. From the best in-game dunkers to best dunk contest dunkers, this list covers them all. And to no surprise, Vince Carter is on a tier of his own.


Vince Carter – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
I did not have to do much thinking with this tier. Vince Carter is without a doubt the best dunker in NBA history. Not only do I think that he is the best in-game dunker, but he also had the greatest dunk contest performance ever. There is a lot of creativity in today’s dunk contests, but most inspiration stems from Vince Carter’s legendary performance.

Tier 2:

Dominique Wilkins – Dunk Contest Wins: 2
If I were to give the nod for in-game dunking over Vince Carter to anyone it would be Wilkins. He was nicknamed the Human Highlight Reel with some of the most disrespectful posterizing dunks of all-time. He also rivaled MJ in the dunk contest.

Michael Jordan – Dunk Contest Wins: 2
It takes a special athlete to be able to best Wilkins in the dunk contest. As we all know,  Michael Jordan was a very special athlete. MJ did it all which comes with the title of GOAT.

Julius Erving – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
Dr. J was a pioneer to the sport of basketball. A true legend. In the first ever dunk contest in 1976, Julius Erving proved just how ahead of his time he was. Nobody stood a chance.

Tier 3:

LeBron James – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
It’s a shame that LeBron never competed in a dunk contest. In his prime I believe he would have won, but that ship has sailed.

Blake Griffin – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
Expect an elbow to the face when going up to block Griffin. His dunk contest win was overrated, but his in-game dunks alone earn him this spot.

Kobe Bryant – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
Known for his clutchness, Kobe does not get enough credit as a dunker. He competed and won the dunk contest at 18 years old and has a career full of posterizing dunks including well into his thirties.

Darryl Dawkins – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
Chocolate Thunder!! An underrated power dunker who nicknamed his dunks. He has broken multiple backboards with his dunking prowess.

Tier 4:

Clyde Drexler – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
Easily the best player to never win a dunk contest. Here are the players he lost to: Larry Nance, Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan (twice).

Shawn Kemp – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
This man declared for the draft without playing a minute of basketball. He jumped through the roof as a pure athlete leading to our entertainment as fans as he flew towards the basket.

Aaron Gordon – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
How many times can you rob this man of a dunk contest win? 9… a 9?!?! C’mon Dwyane Wade.

Jason Richardson – Dunk Contest Wins: 2
Back to back dunk contest wins. Two of the best dunk contests ever which are well worth the re-watch.

David Thompson – Dunk Contest Wins:
Bill Walton described Thompson as “Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and LeBron James rolled into one”. They called him the Skywalker.

Tier 5:

Spudd Webb – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
5’7″ and won the slam dunk contest. There wouldn’t be Nate Robinson without Spud Webb.

Shaquille O’Neal – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
He commented on my instagram post saying this is the worst list he has ever seen. The most powerful dunker ever, but not one of the top 10 best dunkers ever. I still love you Shaq.

Zach Lavine – Dunk Contest Wins: 2
The 4th player to ever win 2x dunk contests. Somehow he is also an amazing 3-point shooter.

Dwight Howard – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
The theatrics. Just put on a superman cape, and win the dunk contest. Simple. Overrated performance.

Gerald Green – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
He loves dunking so much that he lost part of his finger dunking on an old net as a kid.

Nate Robinson – Dunk Contest Wins: 3
The most slam dunk contest wins ever. Robinson and Webb keeps the hopes and dreams alive for all short people.

Larry Nance – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
The OG Larry Nance. This is the man who bested legendary Julius Erving in the dunk contest.

Tier 6:

Scottie Pippen – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
The Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman. Because he was overshadowed, many forget how good of a player and dunker he really was.

Derrick Rose – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
Before his knee injury he was an MVP caliber dunker. After the injury he became just a good dunker.

Isaiah Rider – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
On his draft day he predicted he would win the dunk contest. A year later, he did.

Russell Westbrook – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
No point guard should be this athletic. Russell Westbrook runs too fast and jumps too high. No dunk contests to show for it though.

Terrance Ross – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
The 2nd man to bring the Raps a dunk contest win. Also traded away to bring the Raps their first championship.

Derrick Jones Jr. – Dunk Contest Wins: 1
Aaron Gordon should have won the dunk contest, but that doesn’t discount the amazing performance for Jones.

Harold Miner – Dunk Contest Wins: 2
The forgotten 2x slam dunk contest winner. Amazing dunker and below average player.

DeAndre Jordan – Dunk Contest Wins: 2
There wouldn’t have been a Lob City without DeAndre Jordan. His in-game dunks are viscous.

Tracy McGrady – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
He was close to winning a dunk contest, but he had the not so luxury of competing against teammate Vince Carter. Of all the players with shortened careers due to injury, McGrady might be the best.

J.R. Smith – Dunk Contest Wins: 0
Smoke weed, make shots & dunk. The J.R. Smith way.




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