LeBron James’ greatest poster dunks
Here’s what normally happens when you meet King James at the rim
The great Marshawn Lynch, our modern-day poet laureate and unparalleled wordsmith, once went full Lori Beth Denberg and gave us vital information for our everyday lives when he prophesied, “I know I’m gon’ get got, but I’m gon’ get mine more than I get got, doe.”
Lynch’s words apply perfectly to LeBron James’ poster dunks — the most recent on Portland Jusuf Nurkic Thursday night sent the sports world into a tizzy. James has gotten got on a multitude of occasions — most famously by Kobe Bryant in the 2011 All-Star Game and most infamously by Jordan Crawford with Nike footage we thought was lost forever … until it wasn’t. However, King James has served up posters way more than he’s been on the receiving end. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Damon Jones (2005)
Shaquille O’Neal’s commentary only enhances the moment. Sometimes we make decisions we know are dumb the moment we make them. As The Rude Boys once harmonized, it was written all over Damon Jones’ face. He didn’t have to say a word. A young James — then only in his second season — would put on a show in front of his future home in Miami. He dunked on Jones so hard, he eventually made Jones join the Cleveland Cavaliers to prevent this from ever happening again. (OK, not really, but seriously D.J., why not just give Jeff McGinnis the layup?)
Delonte West (2006)
Not only did James compile a man-sized triple-double against the Celtics in February 2006 with 43 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. He also put his knee smack square in the chest of future teammate Delonte West.
Tim Duncan (2006)
Otherwise known as the “Statue of Liberty” dunk. Duncan’s place in basketball history is unimpeachable (including two Finals victories over James-led teams). But the moment James took that power dribble towards the basketball, we all knew this wasn’t going to end well for Duncan.
Rasheed Wallace (2007)
James went toe to toe with Rasheed Wallace — an anchor on arguably the defensive team of that era. James not only lived to tell the tale. He’d unleash one of the greatest moments in NBA history just two games later.
Kevin Garnett (2008)
To be fair, Kevin Garnett didn’t catch it nearly as bad as anyone else on this list. But he did commit to the drive and he was under the basket when James unleashed holy hell on this dunk. The best part of this entire clip? The great Kevin Harlan giving one of the greatest calls in basketball history with, “LeBron James with no regard for human life!”
Alonzo Mourning (2009)
When you’re a shot blocker, you’re going to get got. The game is the game. Mourning embarrassed many would-be dunkers in his day as he went down as one of the most feared shot blockers and better interior defenders of his generation. But every now and then, the irresistible force plows through the immovable object. Vince Carter did it. And so did James (which should’ve been an and-1, too).
James Johnson (2010)
This was gonna end bad the moment James Johnson bit on the first step and went the wrong way. As for the Bulls, this would be the beginning of years of postseason agony at the hands of James, who would torture them in two different uniforms.
Ian Mahinmi (2011)
The Finals didn’t exactly go as planned for James and the Miami Heat. But for the purposes of this list, this one moment meets all the criteria.
John Lucas III (2012)
I told you he’d terrorize Chicago throughout multiple ZIP codes. Consider it karma for what their No. 23 did to Cleveland, I guess. Regardless, Lucas earns the dubious distinction of being the only guy on this list not getting dunked on. The catch is he’s the only one whom James actually jumped over. We should have known right here that James’ Ancestry.com results show he is 47 percent Wakandan.
Jason Terry (2013)
There’s been bad blood (or at least animosity) between these two since the 2011 Finals when Jason Terry’s Dallas Mavericks shocked the world and beat the Miami Heat. Terry’s also been known to be very “confident vocally.” He made the same mistake as Damon Jones: He jumped. And James folded him up like a lawn chair. “I saw [Terry] down there,” he said after the game. “I guess he didn’t see me.” Fun fact: The five-year anniversary of this in-game funeral is on Sunday. Make sure to put an extra dollar in the collection plate.
Paul Millsap (2013)
What makes this dunk so crazy is the fact it came in crunch time with Miami down and helped spark a Heat victory. About Paul Millsap trying to be a team player and throw his body in harm’s way …
Ben McLemore (2013)
Again, attempting to take a charge is the right move. It’s unselfish and shows you’re down to take one for the team. But is it really the right move when James is barreling toward you like a bull in a china shop? Like for real, for real?
Joakim Noah (2015)
Whether it’s Noah clowning Cleveland with an epic one-liner, the Heat-Bulls battles of the mid-2010s or renewing Cavaliers-Bulls in LeBron’s return, these two just don’t like each other. Things came to a head in the 2015 playoffs when James got the best of Noah on the baseline. Then it got even more animated after the dunk. We didn’t fully realize it then, but this dunk would be the last relevant moment in one of the more entertaining and enthralling personal modern NBA rivalries.
Draymond Green (2016)*
There’s an asterisk beside this because James didn’t actually finish the dunk. But it’s always going to go down as one of the greatest “what if’s” in his career. Had he completed this dunk after the block and after the shot, the end of the 2016 Finals becomes more epic than it already is.
JaVale McGee (2017)
This dunk gets overlooked for a multitude of reasons. First, the Warriors won the 2017 Finals in five games. And while this dunk happened in the first quarter of Game 1 — if you go back and look at the tape that quarter led many to believe the series would go seven games with intensity reminiscent of Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 3. It also occurred around the same time Jeff Van Gundy was expressing his love for Rihanna on national TV. All that being said, McGee still got placed smack dab on a poster.
Jusuf Nurkic (2017)
A wise man once said, “If you come at The King, you best not miss.” Or in this case, jump.