We’re not gonna lie. We like good-old-fashioned defensive-minded basketball like the next guy, but we can’t deny that there’s nothing more exciting about basketball than a good poster dunk. Those plays can get everybody off their feet, even rival teams’ fans.
Throughout the course of basketball history, we’ve witnessed some impressive dunks that’ll stay in our minds until the very last day of our lives. In fact, I’m sure that most hoops fans could tell in full detail their best dunk, when, where, and how it happened.
And even though I love today’s NBA, I personally enjoyed the 2000s the most. That’s why today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 players with the most dunks during that decade.
10. Kobe Bryant – 805 Dunks
It took him a while before settling as a starter but once Kobe Bryant got the nod, he never looked back. Prime Kobe was an athletic freak and a guy that was just ruthless when he had the chance to put somebody on a poster. Once he was at the top of the key in isolation, you know you were at his mercy, and more often than not; you were going to go down.
9. Tim Duncan – 819 Dunks
Tim Duncan was never the flashiest player on the court but he was always the smartest. He rarely made any mistakes and always knew how to use his physical tools and long arms to his advantage. Most of his dunks were kind of boring, if I may, but they were equally as valid and important. He’s one of the greatest players of all time and one of the most impactful as well.
8. Kevin Garnett – 913 Dunks
Kevin Garnett had a never-ending grit and grind that just made him must-watch television every single night. He was explosive and energetic and his game was just contagious. He could swat a shot twice on his own backboard, lead the break, and then finish emphatically with a poster dunk. He was also one of the most competitive trash-talkers to ever live.
7. Ben Wallace – 1,001 Dunks
Ben Wallace is one of the greatest, if not the greatest defender of all time. He could clamp the best and most dominant scorers on earth, guard one through five, and even hold his own with prime Shaquille O’Neal below the rim. He was never much of a factor in the offensive end, tho, so the vast majority of his points came from point-blank range layups and dunks.
6. Pau Gasol – 1,063 Dunks
Even though he never struck as an athletic player, Pau Gasol had hops. He was the perfect complement for Kobe Bryant during his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, and once he toughened up and showed his grit, he became one of the best players in the franchise’s modern history. Gasol’s energy was contagious and he never hesitated to flush one down when given the chance.
5. Amar’e Stoudemire – 1,080 Dunks
Amar’e Stoudemire was the go-to-guy in one of the most explosive and electrifying offenses in NBA history. Mike D’Antoni’s ‘seven seconds or less’ orchestrated by Steve Nash was tailor-made for his high-flying game and you knew that he was going to put someone on a poster any given night. Stoudemire was bigger, stronger, and more athletic than 9 out of 10 defenders.
4. Kenyon Martin – 1,176 Dunks
Kenyon Martin was the ultimate hustler. He was undersized but made up for it with his grit and defensive expertise, and there weren’t many players in the world that he couldn’t clamp. Like Ben Wallace and most big men, his offensive repertoire was pretty limited, so he also relied on dunks to do most of his scoring. Once he took off, there was no going back.
3. Dwight Howard – 1,209 Dunks
Dwight Howard was considered by some as the second coming of Shaquille O’Neal, and even though he failed to live up to that status, he still put together a Hall-of-Famer kind of résumé. He was a shot-blocking specialist that could put up 30 points any given night thanks to his physicality and athleticism.He was the best big man in the world during his prime and it wasn’t even close.
2. Shawn Marion – 1,270 Dunks
Prime Shawn Marion was something else, for sure. He was an outstanding and versatile defender and a prolific scorer, even despite having one of the ugliest shooting forms in the history of basketball. Gladly, he was also quite athletic and spent a lot of time above the rim, as his dunks were actually a treat to the eyes, unlike that jump shot of his.
1. Shaquille O’Neal – 2,442 Dunks
And, to no surprise, Shaquille O’Neal leads the list with 2,442 dunks just during the 2000s decade. The fact that he has twice as many dunks as the second guy on the list should tell you just enough about how insanely dominant he was. He just couldn’t be stopped or contained and rival defenders literally got hurt just trying to foul him. He was a force of nature like we’ve never seen in the league.