The 30 best dunks of 2016, ranked

Monday December 5th, 2016

The year 2016 was a lot of things. Thankfully for us, one of those things was “filled with incredible dunks.” And now we decided to rank the very best of the year, at all levels of basketball. 

Perhaps the NBA’s dunk contest in Toronto, which became an electric game of sudden death between Aaron Gordon and eventual winner Zach LaVine, was portentous of things to come—many of us in the building that night left convinced it had to be the best ever. Gordon and LaVine are all over this list, understandably. Below you’ll find many familiar names, some less familiar ones, and a few viral items that couldn’t be denied.

We’ve done our best to compile the best high-flying moments of the year—so far. Watch them all below. 

30: Steve Ballmer, never forget

29. Hey, who won SI’s Sportsperson of the Year?

(LeBron James did.) 

Sportsperson
Crowning The King: LeBron James is Sports Illustrated's 2016 Sportsperson of the Year

28. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Porzingis

27. Does this say more about J.R. or LeBron?

26. John Wall, lefty, on Enes Kanter

25. Jordan Clarkson gives Alex Len a haircut

Alex Len, unfortunately, appears on this list again later.

24. Jabari Parker goes baseline on Myles Turner

JP is one of the league’s better baseline operators, and one of its more underrated dunkers. Look where he takes off from!

23. There’s a lot of Aaron Gordon on this list

22. Jaylen Brown is not amused with himself

21.  Professional dunker dunks basketball real good

Some people were put on this earth to play basketball, some are just here to do cool dunks.

20. Blake Griffin dunks on Robin Lopez

Raising awareness for mascots everywhere.

19. If you haven’t heard of Kerwin Roach, now you have

18. Larry Nance Jr. introduces himself to David West

Unrelated: is David West old enough to have played against Larry Nance Sr.?

17. This would be higher if we were sure it wasn’t staged

This guy is a high school football star.

16. 5'9" A.J. Harris gets up against Florida

Oooooh.

15. Aaron Gordon windmills in Los Angeles

...and provides a year’s worth of sustainable energy to Orange County.

14. Don’t make DeMar DeRozan angry

I thought about ranking him No. 46. Alas.

13. Russ seals the game against Houston

This was awesome.

12. I wish Wayne Selden was in the NBA

11. Jabari Parker scales Nerlens Noel

I audibly gasped just now.

10. This would be higher if we could guarantee it was real

Yeah..dunno.

9. ...Dwight Powell?

8. Zach LaVine, over Alex Len

Poor Alex Len.

7. Giannis bends reality

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

6. LeBron’s Finals alley-oop

This was much cooler in the context of this specific game, but remains dope.

5. Paul Millsap should apologize to John Henson

4. I really wish Wayne Selden was in the NBA

3. Andrew Wiggins leaves a JaVale-sized hole in the floor

Those Timberwolves sure can dunk.

2. Zach LaVine, 360 from the free throw line

Ok, he’s just inside the free throw line, but this is just as impressive as anything he did in the dunk contest, which he won. Speaking of which...

1. Aaron Gordon, at the dunk contest

I saw this miracle occur in person and nearly fainted. This takes it.

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