The slam dunk is arguably one of the most exciting plays in all of sports. It’s even more entertaining when someone is on the wrong end of it. While the dunk is only worth two points, the impact of it goes beyond the scoreboard.
Throughout NBA history there are certain posterizations that remain iconic — we remember when Scottie Pippen dunked on Patrick Ewing in the ‘94 NBA Playoffs and when DeAndre Jordan baptized Brandon Knight — but what about when an aging Kobe Bean Bryant eviscerated Emeka Okafor?
Getting dunked on is apart of playing the game of basketball. I can sadly admit that I’ve been dunked on a few times, but thanks to being hit with a neuralyzer, I can’t remember much. I do remember a teenage Alex Caruso almost ending my life, but that’s another story for a different day when we talk about early NBA finals odds for next season. With the Lakers remaining the firm favorites, which is expected to resume with a 25-day plan to help with that.
It’s only right to start our series off with the late great Kobe Bryant. Despite having an insane catalog of posters, Kobe doesn’t get his flowers as a dunker.
I’m certain if you ask Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, and Tim Duncan if he was a great dunker they would agree. Kobe turned back the clock on April 26th, 2011 all while nursing a bum ankle in Game 5 of the first-round series against the then-New Orleans Hornets in the NBA Playoffs.
The play began as Pau Gasol had the ball on the left block. As Trevor Ariza went to double Gasol, Kobe flashed to the foul line and the rest was history. The play happened so fast there wasn’t enough time to recover. There wasn’t enough time for Emeka Okafor to say a prayer, call for help, or even foul Kobe. If you look closely, Bean took one dribble with his left hand, and then exploded toward the rim. Due to Kobe being ambidextrous, Okafor had no clue which direction he was going.
What makes this sequence impressive is that Kobe was on the decline athletically, but had no hesitation in finishing the job. Even though he was still a basketball purist, he wasn’t the same athlete that he was in his prime. Much like we see with LeBron today, Kobe still could wow fans with an aerial assault on the rim well into his 30s.
Unless your name is Emeka Okafor.
Columbus, Ohio born. Ron is a first-ballot healthy hairline hall of famer. He spent the summer of ‘08 eating calamari pasta because of OJ Da Juiceman. He also loves to write about sports while listening to Sada Baby. Follow him on Twitter @Ron_Hamp