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Vince Carter: Top 10 In-Game Dunks

Vince Carter top 10 dunks

Yes, we understand. This is Detroit Sports Nation and Vince Carter never played for the Pistons, never went to Michigan, and never attended Detroit Country Day. But we’re fans of the dunk here at DSN, so we thought we’d step back and appreciate one of the greatest aerial artists of all-time. So go on, take a gander. There might even be a Ben Wallace appearance in here somewhere.

The Secret Dunk on Alonzo Mourning

Let’s be honest, most fans of the dunk know there’s a Vince Carter-on-Alonzo Mourning throwdown awaiting near the top of this list. But this one tends to slip through the cracks when considering VC’s best. Don’t know why. Many glorious aspects are at play: explosive hometown crowd, legendary shot blocker standing in one’s path, fearless attack & hammer, solid post-dunk ball ricochet, and a celebratory glare and flex to boot.

This clip needs a high-definition alternative, pronto.

Vince Carter: The Perfect Windmill

Vince Carter has dunk ethics. Growing up a student of the slam, taping dunk contests not only so he could study the Michael Jordan performances, but also the Jamie Watson’s of the world, Carter believed in dunk refinement. And so, it was Vince Carter’s own insistence that his windmills maintain as straight of an arm as possible throughout the process, to achieve circular perfection. His flush against Milwaukee may have been the most flawless aerial windmill assault we’ve ever seen.

Whoa.

The Arrival

Droves of hoop fans caught this slam on Sportscenter the morning after it happened in ’99. Everything appeared normal. Random Pacers/Raptors highlight. Rookie Vince Carter slips baseline. Has to double pump to avoid Chris Mullin swipe. Layup finish on the other si… wait, what?

As would soon become commonplace, Vince Carter was undeterred by the defense while seemingly hovering in mid-air, rising higher still to finish with an authoritative reverse jam. It was almost as if Carter was making up his dunk as he went along. It’s a finish that becomes easier to accept the more times it’s viewed but at the time, it was a game-changer.

Sidestepping Ben Wallace… in Mid-Air

This is another one that doubled in disbelief for those who watched it unfold live. It was 2002 and the Raptors trailed the Pistons by a pair with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter. Vince Carter slides toward the paint past Jerry Stackhouse.

Who’s waiting for Vince five feet away from the hoop? Only a primed out Ben Wallace, in the midst of leading the league in both rebounds and blocked shots. Even if Carter could out-leap Wallace, it didn’t seem to matter, as Big Ben had squared him up perfectly, and far away from the hoop to boot.

As Carter set his feet for takeoff, it looked as though a collision or wild circus shot was imminent. Wallace met Carter in mid-air, but then something strange happened. Vince appeared to shift the ball away from Wallace’s outreached arm, seemingly changing direction in mid-flight, stepping up to another level and sliding around for a game-tying dunk.

It still doesn’t make sense.

Summiting Mt. Mutombo

We’ve seen this dunk so many times we’ve almost become numb to it by now. Still, dunking on Dikembe Mutombo, aka the second most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, is no small feat. As Carter so modestly put it, “For that one dunk, he probably blocked my dunk five or six times before that.”

Sidenote, West Michigan natives can rest easy knowing that’s Comstock’s own Chris Crawford whom Carter blows by prior to the flush.

Gather Step Windmill

This one speaks for itself. In fact, let the Clippers bench do the talking. Want to gauge how wild a dunk really is? When an opposing player involuntarily launches off the bench, both hands over his head as if he’s taking cover, you’ve got something special.

The Peak of Dunking on Duncan

Vince Carter dunking on Tim Duncan has been a tiny career subplot to both parties involved, popping up before, during (above), and after each player’s prime. This jam during the ’03 campaign takes the cake though.

The NBA’s First In-Game Full Windmill Alley-Oop

Yes, this was a preseason game (hence the neutral stage at UNC). No, there haven’t been many in-game dunks quite like it. Even when the NBA finally caught up to Carter over a decade later, when Gerald Green pulled off an in-game windmill lob, we’re not sure it was as technically proficient as what Carter was bringing to the table at the turn of the century. Green’s elevation was nice, but Carter’s full extension and behind-the-body windmill motion is unparalleled.

The Real Dunk on Alonzo Mourning

We mentioned at #10 that Vince and Alonzo would be meeting once more on our countdown. Well, here it is. You may be noticing a running theme by now. Shot blocking center jumps and challenges, Carter elevates higher.

The Greatest Alley-Oop of All-Time

Style, hype, elevation, swagger, and atmosphere all rolled into one. It’s interesting to watch Dee Brown’s body language in this one (Carter’s teammate who delivers the pass). It appears as if he feels he’s short-armed the pass, and he had. But as the prevailing thought goes, sometimes the worst passes make the best alley-oops.

The Raptors trailed this contest by eight points late in the fourth quarter, mind you. Clippers fans had to have been hyped about a prospective win over Vince Carter and a solid Raptors squad. Yet, the roar that meets Carter’s alley-oop flush is one more conducive to a home team game-winner. At the height of his pop-culture relevance and reverence, catching a legendary Carter dunk was the event.

Oh, and by the way, about that game-winner… three minutes after Carter’s historic dunk:

Written by Amy Price

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