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9 Elite Dunkers Who (Probably) Inspired Zach LaVine And Aaron Gordon

Also, their dunks we want to see in a LaVine-Gordon rematch.
by Raul Maningat | Feb 16, 2016
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Words and phrases like "revolutionized" and "best ever" flooded our social media feeds after the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Zach Lavine and Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon tore up the 2016 NBA Dunk Contest a couple of days ago. They showed us things we’ve never seen before, resulting in a dunk-off for the ages. LaVine officially won but it felt like they both walked off the court victorious, thanks to their jaw-dropping performance.

They're physical specimens who have the tools to get up there, but their stunts won't be possible without a little bit of inspiration. So this we ask: Who are the dunkers who could've inspired the duo to make this year's Dunk Contest one of the best ever?

With that in mind, we've come up with a list of other elite aerial artists who probably influenced the high-flying duo, along with their dunks, which we hope LaVine-Gordon can adapt (and tweak) in their expected rematch next year in Charlotte.

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1) Air Up There's 720-degree dunk

AKA Taurian Fontenette, Air Up There is an American streetball legend who has earned the nicknames "Birdman" and "The Human Pogo Stick" because of his insane hops.

We haven’t seen anyone in the NBA pull this one off nicely. LaVine may be the one to do it. He’s got the finesse to twirl in the air as beautifully as a prima ballerina could.

2) Tyler Inman's Crane Kick Dunk

He's been called one of the best white dunkers ever, and for good reason: Inman, a 6'5" shooting guard out of Southwestern Christian University, can fly. He won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics dunk contest in convincing fashion two years ago.

We really want to put LaVine and Gordon's athleticism to the test. And what better way to do it than with a dunk where you have to use your foot to freakin' kick and catch the ball in mid-air.

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3) Guy Dupuy's over-the-car dunk

Dupuy started playing professional ball at a very young age of 15 in France. Since then, he has become an Internet sensation, thanks to his leaping ability and creativity. He was also part of the AND1 Live Tour in 2011.

Forget Blake Griffin's "car dunk"—this one's the real deal. And Dupuy did it behind-the-back style. What say you, LaVine and Gordon?

4) Dwight Howard's Sticker Dunk

Surprised? Don't be. Despite past controversies and so-so recent stats, Howard remains to be one of the game's most vicious dunkers. His power could've inspired LaVine and Gordon to put more swag into their jams.

Sure, it's not really that impressive compared to the others on this list. But it is a good way to settle one of many LaVine-Gordon questions: Who among the two can reach higher?


5) Will Bunton's kiss-the-rim dunk

Proclaimed by the online world as a dunk phenom, Bunton is a 6'2" leaper who played in the NC Pro-AM basketball league who can "kiss the rim."

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We suggest that, for verification purposes, LaVine and Gordon should wear lipstick if they're going to try this out. Also, they could have a "who could kiss the rim longer" contest.

6) Chris Staples' under-the-legs 360 dunk

A professional slam dunker, Staples is a regular fixture in hoops site Dunkademics. His exploits can also be seen via his Twitter account @Mr_Hoopstar.

Gordon proved that the ridiculous under-the-legs slam can be done in the NBA. If he can make it even more absurd by adding a spin to it, then LaVine has to come up with something really special.

7) Young Hollywood's reverse-360-off-the-bounce dunk

Another Dunkademics mainstay, Young Hollywood AKA Haneef Munir is an elite dunker from Los Angeles. He also has insane hops, but what makes his jams even more impressive is he, at 5'10", is just three inches taller than 1986 NBA Slam Dunk champ Spud Webb.

Since Haneef is below six feet tall, why not make the rim a few inches higher for this dunk? We're sure LaVine and Gordon won't mind.

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8) Hafid Yassin's chin-over-the-rim dunk

Hafid Yassin of the Chief Sealth High School in Seattle gained Internet glory last year by executing what looked to be a dunk that brought his head about a foot above the rim. While others say he pushed off another player to gain additional lift, the dunk is still really impressive any way you look at it.

This is the true test of pure jumping skills. Can LaVine and Gordon bring their heads above the rim? If anyone in the NBA can do it, it's got to be them.

9) Jordan Kilganon's "Lost and Found" dunk

Another professional dunker with mad hops, Kilganon belongs to the same breed as Inman. His impossible dunks have achieved virality on social media, thanks to the degree of difficulty involved in executing them.

Whoever hits this jaw-dropper wins the match. Gordon might have a better shot at executing this though because he is such a strong leaper off both feet. But we can’t count out LaVine. Even though he favors taking off on the run, Zach Attack might find a way to modify the "Lost and Found" to suit his dunking style.

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