Blake Griffin's evisceration of Kendrick Perkins deserves to be mentioned whenever we discuss the best in game dunks of all time, but it is not the best ever. In 1991, Michael Jordan spun baseline faking out two Knicks defenders and dunked over and down onto Patrick Ewing. If you factor in the teams, the bitter rivals, the stakes, MSG (the NBA's Mecca), the quality of opponent, Ewing being a quality shot blocker his entire career (2.4/game in the 91 season), and the difference in height (six inches), Jordan's dunk is clearly better. Jordan did not jump higher than Griffin or throw the ball down with more force, but sheer athletic ability is not the end all be all for me when measuring dunks.
Before I discuss Jordan's dunk in-depth, let's discuss the Griffin quickly.
Blake's dunk was unbelievable, his athletic ability is either the best in the league, or he is .00001th behind DeAndre Jordan. However, he benefited by getting a running start,without the hindrance of dribbling, from 16-17 feet. Griffin caught a perfect pass and jumped higher than just about anybody in the world can. However, had he been forced to dribble or change directions would he have still been able to finish, or even attempt the dunk?
Griffin's height, 6'10'' also gives him an added advantage, something which hurts his ranking, fair or not, and must be considered. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of difficulty, Griffin's is probably an 8.5. Not his fault, but something that hurts his chances. Additionally, DeAndre Jordan acted like a big bumbling lineman ruining a choreographed touchdown dance by immediately snapping Griffin into a bear hug. This thoughtless move prevented an epic stare down or at a minimum a chest pound (but also probably saved Griffin from Perkins killing him). Griffin smartly snapped Jordan off him but not quickly enough. His chance to include his celebration in our permanent memory of the dunk was lost. It begs the question I know we were all thinking: was DeAndre Jordan protecting a fellow Jordan by tarnishing the legacy of the dunk? We may never know, but I have a hint that Jordan is more than just a common last name.
Vince Carter's dunk, while perhaps even more athletically impressive than Griffin or Jordan's, loses points in my book because of his competition. Frederick Weis may be 7'2'' but he is also not a real NBA player; he is French and simply stood still while Carter jumped over him. Carter might have well been dunking over a cardboard cutout. Also, I don't think I'm okay living in a world where Carter owns the best dunk.
Getting back to Jordan's dunk, let's see how he stacks up on the random criteria I created to serve my argument. Degree of difficulty: 10.0. Jordan had to change directions, shake two defenders, and meet one of the league's best shot-blockers without the benefit of tons of momentum. The rivalry: 10.0. Bulls-Knicks was the preeminent rivalry of the early 90s and Ewing and Jordan were the faces of their respective teams. Jordan was giving up six inches to Ewing. Swagger: 10.0. Jordan's stare down of an emasculated Ewing epitomizes the swagger that helped win the Bulls six rings. Jordan effectively sprayed diarrhea all over one of his biggest rivals and left him to clean up the mess.
Unfortunately for Jordan, his dunk came before our current digital era. And not to get all Simmonsy, but had his dunk happened yesterday, wouldn't it have gotten the same attention? It was the era and the scant airplay the dunk gets that made an avid NBA fan like our esteemed E-I-C forget Jordan. Steve, it's not too late to change your mind and give his Airness the title of the sky he deserves.