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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 2:00 pm  |  19 responses

Shaquille O’Neal’s Best Dunks

On his 40th birthday, we celebrate The Diesel with a gallery of highlights.

by Eldon Khorshidi / @eldonadam

For a moment, think about Shaquille O’Neal and put all the other stuff aside. Forget his broadcaster persona, five rap albums, size 23 shoe, reality shows, alleged rifts with teammates and coaches, supposed narcissism and all the other associations you may attach to him. For a moment, concentrate solely on Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball player.

If you do so, you will quickly realize O’Neal was a man amongst boys, a demigod in a world filled with extraterrestrial beings. This is nothing new; we all know this. His physical stature coupled with his desire to be the best to ever do it made O’Neal unstoppable. Shaq did it on his terms, and you could either oblige or get exploited. Six NBA Finals. Four Championships. Three Finals MVPs. Fifteen-time All-Star. Two scoring titles. Fun and games off the court, but physical and mental abuse on it.

I could go on and on about Shaq, and probably should, but for the sake of this post, I won’t. With all the excitement and hoopla currently surrounding the NBA, it’s very easy for people (myself certainly included) to forget the superstars of yesterday as they seep into the periphery. That’s why today, on Shaq’s 40th birthday, we’re here to celebrate. Here to celebrate all that O’Neal accomplished during his playing days, and the fashion in which he did so. Here to celebrate a living legend, one who single-handedly dictated the game of basketball for most of his 19-year career.

Above are 40 of Shaq’s best dunks. We’ve got powerful tomahawks, alley-oops, backboard breakers (literally), vintage high school and college footage and much, much more. There is no particular order, partly because rankings are very arbitrary as is, and partly because this is really about the dunks themselves, not their relative impressiveness or worthiness. The gallery commences with a classic Dick Vitale interview at the 1989 McDonald’s All-American Game, then continues with a plethora of vicious throwdowns. If you’ve happened to forget, this will instantly remind you that nobody does it like The Diesel.

While the 40 plays above aren’t his “best” dunks ever, they are probably the best on this digital library we call the Internet. I—just like I presume you will be—was pretty disappointed in the dearth of footage from Shaq’s days in Orlando, but with all else considered, I do believed this gallery does Shaq justice. So, while whatever you’re doing today is probably very important to your personal existence, if you have any respect for the game of basketball, take a moment to salute one of the, if not the, best to ever do it. Happy born day, Shaq!

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  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Chris Dudley Dunk + Reaction >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • OTB

    He had a dunk in 1998 or 1999 over Dale Davis that’s still one of the best I’ve ever seen for a 300+ big man. The Dudley one is an obvious favourite…as well as his jam over 3 Nets in the 2002 Finals and then looking at his hands.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    19 is just cray. Happy birthday GOAT.

  • http://letcramzycook.tumblr.com/ cramzy

    that chris dudley one was effed up lol

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    The backboard literally knelt down in PHX.

  • marc

    at #26 shaq did a eurostep. lol

  • logues

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wwy4UDSc0Y
    this video has a better mix of dunks than this weak list, not to mention shaq spittin some classic stuff…”do you want me to shoot it??? no!!!!!!! do you want me to pass it??? no!!!!!!!! do you want me to slam???” ha

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    That first video with Dick Vitale interviewing Shaq was crazy. It’s hard to believe Shaq used to be that size.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    yeah, that dudley dunk was classic. lmao

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    shaq must didn’t like ak47; he intentionally hit em twice after he dunked on him.

  • Dingo Rob

    19 nice

  • http://slamonline.com/ Peter Walsh

    Awesome work Eldon.

  • Kid Dynamite

    Say what you want about Shaq but on the court he was the man….Wheew!!

  • Chukaz

    Looking at young Shaq I can’t help but wonder what he coulda done if he woulda had Dwight Howard’s commitment to fitness and nutrition

  • blackthought

    love me some shaq – M.D.E! dunkin on everybody who dare gets in his way!

  • Pingback: Shaquille O'Neal's Best Dunks : Sports Live Wiki

  • Lupe

    Great article on Shaq, but there is one error. He went to 6 NBA Finals not 5. (1- Magic, 4- Lakers(3), 1- Heat(1))

  • Dallas

    NUMBER 19 >

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    @Lupe Ah, epic fail. Many thanks for catching that.

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