The nastiest dunks of 2014
MANILA, Philippines – Other than game-winners at the buzzer, there's not a more exciting play in basketball than a slam dunk.
Game-winners don't happen every day. But at any moment, any player during a game can rise up and provide a highlight reel dunk that will live forever through YouTube clips.
2014 gave hoop junkies many thunderous throwdowns to remember, from the NBA, to the FIBA World Cup, and even to the PBA. Rappler compiled some of the best over the past year for you to reminisce about as the new year quickly approaches.
Check them out:
Griffin Mozgov's Humphries
You must have known we're going to include a Blake Griffin clip here somewhere.
The best dunker in the NBA continued his yearly tradition of jumping over a defender in the paint and throwing down a hammer dunk in 2014. First, it was Timofey Mozgov, then Kendrick Perkins was victimized not long after. Pau Gasol knows how it feels as well.
On January 8, 2014, Kris Humphries was welcomed to the club.
Gerald Green. Off. The. Backboard
The title of this dunk says it all:
A dunk… that was also a game-winner
Remember when we said slam dunks are the second best highlight reels in basketball next to game-winners? Well, in some rare occasions, both can happen at the same time.
Take Tobias Harris against the Thunder, for example:
Spur on Heat crime
This dunk looks typical of other posterizations that take place throughout an NBA season. But considering the stage of the game, it deserves a spot on the list. Ginobili's dunk served as the clincher of San Antonio's championship, as it brought Spurs fans to their feet and swung all momentum towards their side.
Terrence Ross was the NBA Slam Dunk champion in 2013, but none of his dunks during the competition had anything against this posterization he threw down over Kenneth Faried.
JJ will not be denied
Small forward James Johnson slimmed down this season and has looked more athletic than ever. In this play, JJ had absolutely no respect for Andre Drummond's defense laying down a powerful baseline hammer jam. Drummond obviously wasn't happy with the dunk and he bumped Johnson a few sequences later that nearly started a scuffle.
FIBA World Cup
Manimal takes to the sky
Don't worry, Kenneth Faried fans, we also have a clip of Faried doing the dunking instead of being the one dunked on:
"Norwood fakes that pass, Norwood…. ahhhhh!"
If there's anything Gabe Norwood did during the FIBA World Cup, it's that he made sure the rest of the world knows how athletic he is. Norwood, a right-handed player, drove left in this play and threw down a left-handed facial.
The best part is that this was just his second best dunk of the game. More on that later.
The Beard conquers
(Jump to 2:47)
Even in the World Cup, James Harden brought his lackadaisical defense which he has become famous for. But then again, when you're leading teams by 20, 30, 40, 50 points, defense doesn't really become that important. Also, when Harden's throwing down dunks like this, then Coach K will surely be fine with it.
"And he dunked over Scola!"
If it's possible to bring an entire country up to their feet in an instant thanks to a slam dunk, this did the trick. With an extreme burst of athleticism, Norwood converted a poster dunk over Indiana Pacers big man Luis Scola that will be remembered for a very, very long time.
Now that's how you get a game going
In the Philippines, this slam went under-the-radar. But the world surely took note of Nikola Kalinic's incredible poster dunk against Greece, which deservingly earns the top dunk honor of the FIBA World Cup.
Mays throws it down
James Mays is an all-around solid basketball player. He can score, rebound, pass, defend, and, in some occasions, throw down nasty put-back slams like this one:
Brock on Butch
GlobalPort didn't exactly have a successful 2014 PBA campaign. Outside of getting Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, the franchise's year was composed of mostly losses and trades that didn't make sense.
But they do have this highlight dunk to be happy about, even if Evan Brock isn't exactly a common name in the PBA anymore:
Fly, Melton, fly!
Justin Melton isn't six-feet-tall, but he certainly leaps to the air like one. In an important finals game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2014 PBA Governors' Cup, Alex Mallari connected on an impressive alley-oop to Melton for this crowd-bolstering jam.
Commentator Quinito Henson explained it best in simple terms: "What a throwdown."
What was that, Arwind?
Arwind Santos was standing at the 3-point line during June Mar Fajardo's free throw attempt. After Fajardo missed the charity, Santos came from out of nowhere to grab the rebound and throw down a put-back slam, even if a good rebounder in Asi Taulava was just nearby.
Insane. Just watch it for yourself:
Slam Dunk champ
Justin Melton was the winner of the latest PBA Slam Dunk contest. Let's just say he more than deserves the award.
We're sure you have your own list and choices for top dunks of 2014. Show it to us in the comments below!