Blake Griffin dunked on Kendrick Perkins during the Clippers game Monday night and immediately set the internet on fire. Some have wondered whether it's the best dunk ever. So, let's look at what Blake's up against.
Blake Griffin might be overrated as a basketball player, but one thing you can never take away from him is his dunking. It's a force like nothing else in the NBA. Vicious, fearless, and borderline reckless, he attacks people like a lion pouncing on a puppy. It all happens so fast, and the puppy never has a chance.
Monday night the puppy was Kendrick Perkins.
And it was cool. But not THAT amazing. "We're going to be seeing that one for years," Chauncey Billups said afterward. But will we, really? It's definitely not "Best Dunk Ever?" amazing.
FIRST OF ALL: His hand barely touches the rim. It's more like a really, really athletic lay-up. Like he's throwing the ball into the hoop. You can say this for a lot of Blake's dunks, so it's really something we should just get used to. Still looks awesome, but technically speaking, are we sure these count as dunks?
SECOND: He's not really going "over" Kendrick Perkins so much as he reaches around him. Again, we're still talking about a stupidly impressive display, but far from the vicious annihilation it's been billed as.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: To listen to people talk this morning, you'd think he unleashed one of the greatest dunks of all time. This takes a very cool dunk and sorta makes it sorta impossible to enjoy. Like the movie Inception. It was one of the better action movies of the past few years, and I loved it when I first saw it, but then I heard all these people talking about how AMAZING and MIND-BLOWING it was, and it became impossible to re-watch it without noticing how not-really-that-amazing it is.
So let's run down a handful of dunks from past and present that really were AMAZING and MIND-BLOWING. Partly for perspective's sake, but mostly because there's just never a bad time to run a feature full of NBA history's best dunks. Without further ado...
1. Pippen over Ewing.
The gold standard for total annihilation.
2. Baron Davis on AK-47.
Post-2000, this is the best in-game dunk the NBA's ever seen.
3. Vince Carter on Dikembe Mutombo.
It would be cheating to link to Vince Carter's Olympic dunk over Frederic Weis, since we're dealing exclusively with NBA dunks here. So instead, we present this relic from Vince's rookie year, when a rookie went RIGHT OVER the best shot blocker the NBA's seen since Bill Russell.
More than a decade later, still nasty.
4. Dwyane Wade over Anderson Varejao.
A lot of folks have been joking this morning that Kendrick Perkins was "murdered" by Blake Griffin Monday night. To be clear: Perk was still standing even after the dunk and seemed completely fine.
This is what basketball murder looks like.
5. LeBron's Leapfrog Alley-Oop.
"What if you combined Vince Carter's Olympic dunk with an alley-oop?" If this was in a Dunk Contest, it would win the dunk contest. That's just about the best compliment you can ever give to an in-game dunk.
Annnnd ... Yeah, that LeBron dunk was worlds better than Blake's dunk. And that was from SUNDAY. Why wasn't the internet imploding on itself Monday morning?
What makes Blake Griffin amazing isn't any one dunk, but the way he never, ever stops attacking. Watching him try to annihilate shot blockers for 40 minutes-a-game is one of the coolest spectacles in the NBA. But as far as his individual dunks--not to sound all hipsterish about this, but Blake Griffin dunks were cooler before everyone went all "CRAZY OMG VIRAL SENSATION MUST WATCH VIDEO THE WORLD IS ON FIRE WOW WOW WOW APOCALYPSE BLAKE BLAKE BLAKE" anytime he does something memorable.
Watching him throw his body around the court and toward the rim will never get old, but Blake Griffin's sorta becoming the guy that people who don't like the NBA can pretend to be obsessed with. That's totally cool, and so are all his dunks. But they're nowhere near the coolest. Right?