College basketball is always a source for some of the best basketball highlights, from memorable buzzer-beaters to some of the best dunks you will ever see. Even though there have been numerous impressive dunks through the years, one particular dunk back from 1988 maybe still holds the #1 spot.
On January 25th, 1988, Jerome Lane provided us with one of the most impressive plays you will ever see. Just 5 minutes into a game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Providence Friars, after a pass from Sean Miller, Lane elevated in transition for a posterizing one-hand tomahawk that ripped off the rim and shattered the backboard for a monumental moment.
It was the first dunk to shatter a backboard after the introduction of the breakaway rim. College analyst and the play by play announcer Bill Raftery was amazed as he shouted: “Send it in, Jerome!”.That made it one of the most famous plays in Pitt and college basketball history.
That play put Pittsburgh basketball on the map, as they would go on to finish second in the national rankings with a 24-7 record. They won the Eastern Conference regular-season championship, but only to be bounced out dramatically in the second round of the NCAA tournament from a buzzer-beater by Barry Goheen and Vanderbilt.
The legendary Bill Raftery perfectly described why this dunk became so monumental and how nothing can top it for him:
“It was an innocent fast break that Sean Miller screwed up by making the right decision. It was one of those goofy things that happens in a game, and I was fortunate enough to be there. There was so many great things announcing games, but this thing has had more legs than anything I’ve ever seen. It’s extraordinary.”
It was something either you couldn’t do or haven’t seen it before first-hand. Later, I saw Shaq take the glass and backboard down at the Meadowlands. It wasn’t as impressive. I was like, ‘I’ve seen this before. Big deal.’”Bill Rafferty, via Triblive
The dunk itself would have been impressive without Lane breaking the rim and backboard, but adding that made it one of the best dunks we will ever see. Even though we see numerous impressive dunks frequently in the NBA, NCAA, and all the other leagues throughout the world, we will probably never see something quite like this because of the quality of the backboards and rims today. Fans would probably love to see shattered backboards and rims, but it is safer for the players to have modern and better constructions.