Kevin Garnett saw a lot of spectacular plays and dunks in his illustrious NBA career, but he remembers explicitly two dunks that he considers to be the most impressive.
Jordan and C-Webb are the best dunkers in NBA history
In his new book KG: A to Z, Kevin Garnett details the most impressive dunks he witnessed in his HOF career. Garnett saw numerous spectacular dunks that caught his eye when looking at his career that spanned through two decades in the NBA. He also shared that he considers Michael Jordan and Chris Webber the greatest dunker, which is surprising since he mentioned Webber’s name, who is not often associated with spectacular dunks.
“I view Jordan as the all-time greatest dunker. But Chris Webber is right there up with him. C-Webb turned layups into dunks. Dunks give you status. If you dunk that brick, ain’t no one jumping on you. You see the tone. Make a mark. Here I am!”
Two dunks hold a special place in Garnett’s memory
The first dunk that Garnett will never forget was the one from the 1998 All-Star game when he threw an alley-oop, and Kobe Bryant caught it in the air and threw it down with authority. That was also the first All-Star game in which KG and Kobe participated. The second came at the 2000 Olympics in Syndey, and Garnett details how everyone wanted to dunk on Yao Ming. There was even a bounty on him, and the rest of his teammates on Team USA tried their best to put Yao on a poster. Luckily for Yao, nobody could do it because he was just too big and already a great shot blocker in his own right.
“The greatest dunk I’ve ever seen in person? Several come to mind. One was Kobean at the 1998 All-Star game. The other was in Syndey during the 2000 Olympics. Before the Olympics began, the US team – which included Vince Carter, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ray Allen, Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, and Gary Payton – had a bounty out on Yao Ming. We bet on who’d be the first brotha to dunk on Yao. Each of us failed. Yao’s size and blocking stopped us cold.”
Even though dunking on Yao was a much more challenging task than anybody ever thought, Vince Carter, delivered one of the best dunks in NBA history over another giant on that tournament. In the final game against France, Carter stole the ball and literally jumped over Frederic Weis. This 7’2″ center stood his ground and couldn’t even imagine Carter was capable of pulling off that type of athletic play. Garnett also shares that he was shocked by what Carter did, even though he was known as the best leaper in the world; Carter surprised Garnett because he had never seen something like that in his life until that moment.
“During the game, Vince stole the ball and drove to the basket. Standing between him and the hoop was a 7’2″ monster. Vince leaped over the monster and dunked with the force of Satan. Later the French writers called it ‘le dunk de la mort” – the dunk of death. I got so excited that in my mind, I saw the monster as Yao Ming.”
These two dunks that Garnett mentioned as the greatest he saw in real time might not be on other people’s list of the most spectacular dunks. When someone who has been in the NBA for two decades and played in so many games specifically remembers these two, that means something. Who are we to disagree with Garnett, who saw more basketball in his lifetime than we can ever imagine, and they obviously have a special place in his heart because he was present on the basketball court when they happened.