What is a Slam Dunk in Basketball?

what is a slam dunk in basketball

A basketball slam dunk occurs when a player jumps in the air and drives the basketball through the hoop while touching the rim with one or two hands. Dunkers are typically tall players on a team who can camp out near the basketball paint, but athletic players like Spud Webb at 5’7″ can dunk as well, but it’s rarer. Here is the complete breakdown about dunks in basketball and more in this post!


How Many Points is a Dunk Worth During a Basketball Game?

A successful dunk is worth two points for the offense team. The official score of the play is a field goal for that player since it is an attempt to score. If the offensive player misses the dunk, it will count against their field goal percentage.


What are Some Examples of a Dunk During a Game?

what are some examples of a dunk during a game

What makes the dunk during a basketball game so fascinating is the finesse of what a player can do. For example, a dunk can be something basic where someone jumps up with two hands a short distance away from the hoop and slams the ball in. Other times, you will see players spin in the air, extend their arms before slamming the ball in the hoop, or something else.


With the popularity of the dunk, you have the NBA Slam Dunk Content during the All-Star Game every year for fans to enjoy.


What is the NBA Slam Dunk Contest?

The first official NBA Slam Dunk winner came in 1984 with Larry Nance of the Phoenix Suns. Since then, the contest has grown in both spectacle and voting over the years. Here is the list of every NBA Slam Dunk winner.


Some of the most memorable slam dunks include 360 windmills, alley-oops, and dunks between their legs. Amar’e Stoudemire did an alley-oop 360 off a soccer header from his teammate, Steve Nash, which was new. You even have some players jump over a teammate or car to make a dunk, which adds to the slam dunker’s mystique.


Another exciting part of the slam dunk contest is the respect between players and fans during the match. In 2007, past dunk winners like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Julius Erving, and Vince Carter were all judges. Now, fan voting is part of the equation for determining who had the best dunk, which adds to the strong connection between players and fans during the contest.


Can a Player Dunk from the Free-Throw Line?

The distance from the free-throw line to the backboard is 15′ on a basketball court. Jim Pollard and Wilt Chamberlain were both able to dunk from that line during their career, which is impressive. Outside of that, Michael Jordan made this dunk special when he performed it during the 1987 Slam Dunk contest. Performing this dunk during the Slam Dunk contest is impressive, but MJ had a running start with no defenders to block him.


When Did the Phrase “Dunk Shot” Enter the Game?

Initially, teams and announcers would call a dunk a dunk shot. Los Angeles Lakers announcer, Chick Hearn, phrased the play as a slam dunk during his broadcast. Check out some other phrases that Chris brought to the game of basketball like Air ball, Frozen Rope, Pressure cooker, and more.


What is the Difference Between a Dunk and a Slam Dunk?

what is the difference between a dunk and a slam dunk

A dunk and a slam dunk virtually mean the same thing. Sometimes you will hear announcers or fans reference the play as a slam dunk because it was a sure thing. For example, a player running down the court via a fast break with no defenders might be a slam dunk since it is a sure thing.


Why Do Basketball Players Slam Dunk During a Game?

why do basketball players slam dunk during a game

The dunk is the highest percentage shot that a player can take during the game. Unlike a traditional layup, free throw, or three-point that requires more air time and the elements of bouncing off the rim, the dunk is relatively a sure thing. The dunk is a thing since the player holds onto the ball and throws the ball into the hoop.


Basketball teams design offensive plays to allow players to dunk on a quick pass or even make plays like the alley-oop that has one player pass the ball to another in the air to score then.


Why was the Slam Dunk Banned for a Bit in NCAA Basketball?

The NCAA organization banned a dunk from 1967-1977 because they thought the shot had no skill and created injuries. However, there was controversy if the rule was to stop UCLA Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) from regularly dunking during college basketball games. At that time, the Lew Alcindor Rule was the unofficial name for this rule change.


After the 1977 season, the ability to dunk during a game came back.


Is it Illegal to Dunk in the WNBA?

Nope! Women’s National Basketball players can dunk during a basketball game just like the NBA. However, dunks are extremely rare during a WNBA game, where 28 dunks took place since the 1997 start of the organization as of October 25th, 2021.


Lisa Leslie was the first player ever to dunk during a game in 2002. Outside of Lisa Leslie, Brittney Griner comes to mind when you think of WNBA dunks. Out of the 28 dunks as of October 2021, 20 belong to Brittney Griner. As of October 25th, 2021, the last dunk belongs to Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury.


Why Do Dunks Occur Less often in the WNBA?

While a dunk in the NBA is typical, the WNBA is extremely rare. One reason comes down to the height of players, where the average WNBA is about 7 inches shorter than an NBA player. Another reason outside of height is the vertical leap, where NBA players tend to have a higher jump than their female counterparts.


What Happens if You Shatter the Backboard?


If a player shatters the backboard on a dunk, the game is paused, and the backboard is replaced. While the game is delayed, the player who broke the backboard receives a technical foul and a fine. However, the player won’t be ejected from the competition.


The first official NBA backboard was destroyed in 1946 by Chuck Connors. Chuck Connors broke the backboard on a throw, which was surprising.


When Shaquille O’Neal entered the league and regularly broke backboards, the league had to change the backboard material’s structure. Before changing the material, you would see glass shatter at times from Shaq on a dunk, which was impressive but also very dangerous.


When Was the First Official Dunk?

Joe Fortenberry in the 1938 Olympic Trials receives credit as the first organized game to have a dunk.


An Olympic gold medalist, Bob Kurland, also receives credit from some for the first slam dunk in games. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, teams saw a dunk as a sign of disrespect. However, as the years went by, the dunk became more common during a basketball game.


Conclusion: What is a Slam Dunk in Basketball

In summary, a slam dunk is a type of basketball shot that yields a lot of emotion during a basketball game. The dunk is worth two points, but the thrill of the play can be a momentum swing for one side. With the excitement of the dunk during regular-season games, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest occurs every year.


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