To many, Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever dribble a basketball. With six NBA championships, five MVP Awards and 14 All-Star nods, his legacy on the court lives on to this day. In this piece, we’ll take a look back at 10 of the most memorable Michael Jordan dunks.
10: On Father Time (Moses Malone)
Although Moses Malone was a three-time MVP and a solid defensive player, Jordan managed to throw down this flashy one-handed jam over the big man in the early days of his career.
9: On Manute Bol
At 7-6 Manute Bol was one of the tallest players to ever grace an NBA court. Despite this fact, Jordan still managed to throw down a reverse jam over the Sudanese big man.
8: On Alonzo Mourning
On March 12, 1993, Jordan dropped 52 points on the Charlotte Hornets in a 123-108 victory for the Bulls. Along the way, His Airness gave Alonzo Mourning a pair of memorable facials — one in the third quarter, then another, more violent variant, in the fourth.
7: On Patrick Ewing
“It counts, and the foul!,” legendary play-by-play man Marv Albert cried out after Jordan shook two Knicks defenders to throw down a jam on one of the NBA’s toughest defenders, Patrick Ewing.
Jordan would later note that his dunk over Ewing in the 1991 Eastern Conference Playoffs was one of the most memorable slams of his career:
“My most memorable dunk, the one that I think about very, very often is the Patrick Ewing Dunk,” Michael Jordan said, via huffpost.com. “That’s only because Patrick and I are such great friends.”
6: The put-back
It was December 4, 1992, and the Bulls were serving as hosts to the Portland Trail Blazers. In the third quarter, Jordan brought the home crowd to its feet with a gorgeous put-back jam after a missed free-throw from his teammate, Scottie Pippen.
5: Rock the baby (cradle dunk)
In what was his first game at Madison Square Garden (November 8, 1984), Jordan racked up 33 points against the Knicks as part of a 121-106 victory for the Bulls.
A hound on the defensive end of the floor, Jordan came away with a steal. Knowing he had an open court ahead of him, he dove into his bag, pulling out this now-famous cradle dunk.
4: “No no no” (On Dikembe Mutoumbo)
Mutumbo was known as one of the greatest shot blockers of all-time, but that didn’t stop Jordan from going right at him in Game 5 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Notably, Jordan mimicked Mutumbo’s famous finger wag after the dunk.
“I tell you what, it took Michael seven years to get one dunk on me,” Mutumbo joked years later in an appearance on The Jump with Rachel Nichols. “I’m in the Hall of Fame just from blocking shots, so give me some credit.”
3: From the free-throw line (the first time)
In 1987, Michael Jordan claimed his first Slam Dunk Contest victory with a jam that would later become a part of his iconic image (see the Jumpman logo).
After gauging the distance, Jordan made his way all the way to the opposite end of the court. With his tongue hanging in the air, the eventual six-time champion began his approach, took flight from the free-throw, then proceeded to throw down a one-handed yam for the ages.
2: 1988 Slam Dunk Contest win over Dominique Wilkins
On February 6, 1988, Jordan squared off against another great dunk artist in Dominique Wilkins at the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Performing inside the friendly confines of Chicago Stadium, His Airness defeated The Human Highlight Film by a judges score of 147-145 to win his second straight Slam Dunk Contest.
1: A diamond in the rough
It can be difficult to determine the best dunk of Jordan’s career, as there were so many worth noting. For our No. 1 pick, we’re diving deep into the vault — all the way back to his days at the University of North Carolina.
Playing against Maryland in the ACC, Jordan gave hoops fans a glimmer of the outstanding talent that would soon change the NBA’s image forever. He would later revive this iconic dunk in the Slam Dunk Contest.