On this date in 2013, LeBron James threw down one of the most memorable dunks of his NBA career - an alley-oop from Norris Cole over Boston Celtics guard Jason Terry.
Seven years ago today, LeBron did this to Jason Terry 😳 pic.twitter.com/l1PYgTZjZG- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 18, 2020
Was it his best dunk? Our NBA.com Staff debates.
LeBron baptizes James Johnson
This is difficult because LeBron has had so many memorable dunks in his career, so I'm going to go with the one that first came to mind, which is his dunk over James Johnson in Game 2 of Cleveland's first-round matchup with the Chicago Bulls in the 2010 playoffs.
It ticks all the boxes for me. The dunk itself is incredible - LeBron's head is almost level with the rim at the peak of his jump and he throws down a vicious dunk on someone the same height as him - but it helps that it's at home, in the playoffs and against a solid defender in Johnson.
The reaction of his teammates only makes it better. LeBron lets out an extended roar, Cleveland's bench goes wild and Anderson Varejao can't help but smile while he's making his way back down the other end of the court.
Just look at how excited Varejao is:
I'm a big fan of disrespectful dunks. This was very disrespectful.
- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
With no regard for human life!
With so many great dunks throughout LeBron's 17-year career, it's almost impossible to choose just one.
But if I must, I'll take it back to 2008.
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 4 - it's a must-win for the Cavs, who want to avoid falling in a 3-1 hole to the No. 1 seed Boston Celtics, who were in the first year of the Big Three Era.
Up seven with under two minutes left, Cleveland was in a good position to put it away. LeBron did just that.
The circumstance. The in-and-out on James Posey. Forcing the Defensive Player of the Year in Kevin Garnett to make a business decision that was … kinda too late. Not to mention Kevin Harlan's call, which is one of the most iconic ever: "LeBron James with no regard for human life!"
It all adds to the lore of this dunk for me. Boston would go on to win the series and the NBA title that year, but the way in which LeBron had command Quicken Loans Arena and the entire basketball world in that moment is something I'll never forget.
- Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
LeBron demoralizes Damon Jones
I mean, no matter how many times you see this dunk, you end up curling your lip in disgust - it's that nasty.
I don't know how this can't be the first thing that comes to mind when you're thinking about all the vicious posters from the King.
On the road, fast break, body to body and a finish with authority.
The smile as he walked away from the crime scene is iconic as well. Damon Jones spoke about this moment years later on ESPN's The Jump claiming that he got fouled!
"To begin the play I turn the basketball over," Jones recalls. "And when you turn the basketball with (head coach) Stan Van Gundy ... you have to get back on defence.
"And it just so happened that I made a bad read ... I should've just tried to grab Jeff McInnis instead of trying to - you know ... try to block the dunk.
"The crazy part about it is was when I went up we were on the same plane, he just went a little higher."
I wish we could say that Jones took one for the team, and almost anyone else would've moved out of the way with No. 23 coming at them full speed, but LeBron would have many more victims after this.
None were as vicious and disrespectful, though.
- Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay)
The Game 7 (almost) punctuation mark
Am I allowed to go with one that didn't even go in? Because that's exactly what I'm doing.
There's only so much of a "what if" game that can be played out as it relates to Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. It already features arguably the most iconic block in NBA history (courtesy of James) and most iconic shot in NBA history (courtesy of Kyrie Irving).
It very nearly had what would have been arguably the most iconic dunk in NBA history.
With 19 seconds left and a five-second difference with the shot clock, the Cavaliers had to look to score. Clinging to a 92-89 lead, Irving drove the lane and dumped it off to a cutting James. Like a rocket igniting every thruster with every last ounce of rocket fuel, James took off for what would have been the most emphatic title-clinching punctuation mark in NBA history.
Not only would it have put the game out of reach, the extra symbolic weight of coming at Draymond Green's expense added to the moment. The "LeBron vs Draymond" arc played a more pivotal role throughout the 2016 NBA Finals than any other storyline.
Ultimately, the missed dunk itself didn't matter. James sank one of two free throws and 10 seconds later the Cavaliers were world champions. LeBron delivered on the promise he made when returning to the city where his NBA legend started.
Is it a cop-out to pick a dunk that didn't even go in? Probably. But when I hear the words "LeBron" and "dunk," this is the first thing that comes to mind.
- Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13)
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