Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 at 11:55 am  |  61 responses

Dominique Wilkins Says He Was a Better Dunker Than Michael Jordan (VIDEO)

In a fun, wide-ranging chat with Grantland, Dominique Wilkins opens up about the plight of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and says he was a better dunker than Michael Jordan. MJ and Nique split the two air shows they competed in during the 1980s, with Mike winning the legendary (and highly controversial) 1988 bout in Chicago.

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  • robb

    To me it’s a tie. Nique was more powerful and explosive, but MJ had crazy hang time and finesse. I loved them both. That being said, Nique was definitely robbed in 1988.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I think VC was better than them both to be honest. I mean these guys are two of the best no doubt but when VC dunked it was just out of this world. One of my favorites was the reverse against the Pacers where he looked like he dropped the ball all the way to floor.

  • Dfrance

    It really depends on your definition of better. I give it to MJ tho. He didn’t have the power that Nique had, but he was explosive, more hangtime, had more creativity and can do it off 1 or 2 feet.

  • hambone

    Funny,i never heard nique say he was better in that video????

  • robb

    Nobody looked cooler than VC dunking. His dunks were powerful AND beautiful. The way his body looked while dunking was awesome, VC was a true dunk artist

  • Dfrance

    Co-Sign on VC, he’s the GOAT when it comes to dunking as far as I’m concerned. I always loved the one when he dunked on Mutumbo when Deke was on the Hawks. It seemed like he jumped and just hung up there until Dikembe was coming down, then threw it on him.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Man that one was a beauty. I think my all time favorite VC dunk was the one on Alonzo when he was with the Nets and he just bodied him. He didn’t use an off hand push he just pure bodied him out of his way.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    It was like poetry in motion. The statue of liberty dunk during the game I forgot against who but that one was too ill.

  • robb

    his windmills too, and his 360s. he just knew how to look awesome.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Yeah he was a master of the art of dunking.

  • spit hot fiyah

    mj gets the not in the versatility category. nique was almost exclusively dunking of 2 feet. his facials might have been nastier though

  • Dfrance

    I was gonna say that one until I thought about the Dikembe one. But I always reference that Zo dunk when people say Vince was afraid of contact.

  • Jessica J. Castillo


    ✼✼✼✼ ✼✼𐑤✼✼ ✼✼✼✼ ✼✼✼ ✼𐑞✼ ✼✼✼but MJ had crazy hang time and finesse. I loved them both.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I feel you. That dunk was crazy too. It was like shades of MJ circa 1993 on Patrick Ewing. They both seemed to just keep climbing lol

  • The Philosopher


  • havoc33

    I agree, VC was the best overall. He was just so versatile, there was not a dunk he couldn’t do. But Nique is by far the most ferocious dunker I have ever seen. Who can forget this little gem:


    Gotta love Bird ending up on the floor all dazed.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Definitely Nique had the most vicious dunks and had so much aggression. That dunk is just pure unadulterated funk nasty!

  • Francis Aboy

    He never said he was better than Jordan. He said Lebron James doesn’t care about NBA fans.

  • russian guy

    That was my favorite dunk too.They way he absorbed the contact,which was prior to the actual stuff…wow.I would expect a dude would fall down when hit like that in the air,and he still finished…wow.

  • playa

    Just beautiful, chest to chest…BAM!!! Phenomenal dunk for sure.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I know! And I think a lot of people forget including myself that slick little behind the back move he put on J Williams before he attacked the rim. That entire play goes down as one of my Top 5 dunks ever.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Man to man head up contact. The better man won during that exchange.

  • guest
  • Rat King

    Dominique is the greatest dunker of all time, simply because what you saw in the dunk contest is what you saw in the game. Lots of guys can dunk when the lane is empty… but to go up there when Rick Mahorn is prepared to seperate you from your senses and still throw it down like Nique always did, that’s the real art of the dunk. When you can make a pompous Boston Garden crowd go “ooooooooh” in appreciation of your work, that’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  • guest

    Look at the top 100 VC dunks of all time video below and tell me nique’s in game dunks were better than carter’s.

  • Dfrance

    MJ dunk that one on Pat with his elbow, lol. Unreal

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I was only 1 year old but when I was old enough to appreciate it (i.e now) all I could do was say “Jesus take the wheel!”

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Thanks for the mix. I forgot about some of those. That ally oop off the backboard into a windmill was just a thing of beauty.

  • LakeShow



    kenyon martin unleashed fury at the rim. amare too.

  • Saleem Rainman

    if u watch the whole interview from the above grantland clip on their channel on youtube, dominique talks about his rivalry with teh celtics and the events(trash talk) that lead to nique unleashing this one on Bird. Good stuff.

  • FlaFlaFlunkie

    Mike had it, all Nique did was windmills, Mike was an entertainer saving his best dunk for last.

  • D

    Man I was at that charity all star game and I went to the bathroom or some shit , but I missed when carter did that sick dunk , the rest of the game he took maybe 2 or 3 steps across half court and shot 3′s , I was choked I missed the best play I still haven’t let my bladder live that one down


    And it started in Toronto!

  • The Seed

    Best in game dunker is Shawn Kemp, funny how people forget. Also Vince had some nice dunks, but people, they were not all that. People have revisionist history now. Blake dunks have been better than Vince’s in his short career. Kemp was that dude, some of yall need to go watch the tape.

  • inonimus

    Thank you! Not.once! COME.ON.SLAM!

  • brothasdontsurf

    This kinda seals it for me too……

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    “Art can be measured by inspiration spawned”.
    (Richard Martha, Jan 22, 2014)

  • sim888

    Agreed, VC is #1…That indiana dunk was massive, Mullin had no idea what was going on.
    So many ridiculous highlights here (+ bonus Iron Mike moments!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVnesIkqnW0#t=149

  • The Fury

    The 360 dunk from the baseline in the All-Star game was my personal favorite of all VC dunks. Most or all guys does it in the center, but from the baseline?!?!

  • BE.water

    Crazy talk. Vince shut it down, best in game of all time, easy.

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I watched the video below and you know what I realised…. vince copped ALOT of reverse alleys in his career. Incredible.

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I want to up vote that video montage everyday for the rest of my life…. This reminded me why Vince is in my top 3 fav players for my whole life.

  • Mister Avalon

    VC was the goods, but he wasn’t in the same league as Nique/Jordan. All VC could do was jam (he can’t shoot for sh*t) while Nique and J could score from anywhere, which means their drives and finishes in the lane IN TRAFFIC were waay more impressive.
    No-one was better in a half court set than Jordan. No-one.
    Nique didn’t get the coverage J did, and if he was playing today with Youtube et al apps we wouldn’t even be talking about Vince.
    Heck, Sprewell was as good as V (almost)

  • Mike

    Nique was better contest, but mj far better in game, had many more facial dunks, body to body.but close. In terms of vc, well that’s to be expected, it’s only natural, he came on almost 20 years after that contest, people watch learn, adapt. Improve. Look at the between the legs dunk, jr rider in 94. When he did it, people looked at him like he invented fire, kids then practised it, the next day, now two decas later, almost every player between 6’4 and 6’10 can do it. Things like dunking are supposed to get better. But greater? That’s a different story, I think greater encompasses influence and originality, and in terms of those vc still comes out on top, but not necessarily anyone else.

    Vc did one thing that I hadn’t seen before, and that was swing his 360 in the reverse direction, and make it look oh so smooth and powerful. Put a windmill in there too! Dang

  • Mister Avalon

    It was Chicago…

  • Mister Avalon

    Blake is better than Kemp… by far… I was a Kemp fan, but longevity dude.

  • don

    it’s dunking that’s being discussed here.

  • Busta213

    Longevity? Kemp was in the league around a decade before the drugs and weight issues. Blake has only been playing 4 seasons.

  • Busta213

    I was a huge kemp fan but its easy to see why most prefer Vince – he had a great combination of finesse and power. Kemp was about raw power and energy but with a ton of style thrown in.

  • Dfrance

    He spun the opposite way too, with a defender on his heels. lol. Video game stuff.

  • Lloyd

    I’m glad you guys are recognizing greatness here. The one on Zo is definitely up there for me, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of the finesse dunk than the “slam it down someone’s throat” dunk. This right here is untouchable for me:



  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Yeah man that is one of the best oops ever. Hell the one off the backboard that he got and did a windmill was insane!

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Well considering that everyone on this thread is talking about dunking I really don’t see what what you said has to do with anything. You said “all VC could do was jam” when that’s all we’re talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    everyone knew he won that Dunk Contest. idk if it’s in that video but i listened to the whole conversation, even MJ admitted Nique probably won that dunk contest.
    and he did say, quote: “i won 4, but got credit for 2″

  • Off The Backboard

    That’s actually a failed dunk. Awesome picture, but he wasn’t able to finish the jam (lost the ball).

    It’s at 4:22 of this video:


  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    That one was awesome. I have two favourites….one is literally the best windmill I’ve ever seen in a game, especially given the context of that particular matchup (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVLsScVyFQI)…the other is more obscure but is equally as ridiculous. a 2 handed 360….it was so casual and effortless that its been stuck in my mind ever since: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAvg0naUFdM

    It was a pleasure watching him growing up. Still haven’t been as attached to a Raptor since Vince left.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    Not to mention it was Kobe on him and he just blew by him. I remember that being the SLAMADAMONTH in March 2001. Memories.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    ….did you just say Blake Griffin is a better dunker than Vince Carter?? Carter has literally some of the best dunks of all time in every conceivable category – posters (Weis, Alonzo, Dikembe), 360s (ASG 2001 for one), 360 windmills, windmills, tomahawks, etc. Blake Griffin has literally 3 memorable dunks in his career, 2 of which is him throwing it into the basket.

    Get out of here with that crazy talk.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    For 2 seasons.

  • Dfrance

    Wow that two handed 360 was dope, never saw that one before. He’s truly a once in a lifetime player. I love the NBA, but I don’t get excited to watch one player play, the way I got excited for Vince.

    And his windmills are the best because he gave you the full rotation while in the air. A lot of dudes start their windmill before they get off the ground, if that makes sense.

    And I think that arm in the rim dunk is one of the most under appreciated dunks ever.