Dr. J was one of the first players with full skills set and one of the most talented players in NBA history. He invented dunking from the free throw line and he was one of the most emphatic finishers at the rim. He was the synonym of the transition period in NBA and the first one who brought to bring marketing to the league.
Julius Erving, the great and wondrous “Dr. J,” was the dominant player of his era, an innovator who changed the way the game was played. He was a wizard with the ball, performing feats never before seen: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam dunks. Erving was one of the first players to make extemporaneous individual expression an integral part of the game, setting the style of play that would prevail in the decades to follow.
Dr. J was one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history, and he can judge who is the best high-flyer and his opinion is alway relevant when he talking about NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
In the last NBA season, we watched amazing performances between Zach LaVine (the two-time reigning NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion. ) and Aaron Gordon. They showed us spectacular dunks and the Slam Dunk Contest 2016 was one of the best in NBA history.
In an interview with Complex Sports, Dr. J was very complimentary of the 21-year-old LaVine, putting him among some elite company:
Who is the best dunker you have ever seen?
JE: I’ll tell you; Zach has put on a show the last couple of years. He has to get kudos. I don’t know if the surprise factor and the timing coordination dunks that he does are as impactful as what Vince Carter brought to the scene when he did a few things that hadn’t been seen before. I think with Connie Hawkins, myself, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, there’s a lineage there, and I think Vince shook it up a little bit there with a couple of dunks there. I’m gonna let him reside in that spot right there.
Where did this past dunk contest rank on your all-time list?
JE: It was clearly as good as the Wilkins-Jordan showdown, and I had a showdown with David Thompson back in ’76 which was the last year in the ABA. It doesn’t get acknowledged as much, but it was a great showdown. But Zach and [Aaron] Gordon, in terms of the guys who are judging and to hear what they had to say during that time, records are made to be broken, and standards of the bar are established to be challenged so somebody can go above it. I would put those two guys, the things they did this past show in Toronto, at the top of the bar. Even for them to chase next year, or put some new guys next year to go after it...they have raised the bar to a different level.
After just two years in the NBA league, it's a great honor to be among the best dunkers ever like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter.
The duel of 2016, between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon, just started. We want to see the rematch next season, and why not to watch them back-to-back-to-back in the Slam Dunk Contest Finals?
What do you think, which Slam Dunk contest was the best ever? 1988 or 2016?
Check also Vince Carter Slam Dunk Contest 2000. Who is better, Vince Carter or Zach LaVine?