The ranks of women who dunked in a game are notably slim. Lisa Leslie famously broke the dunking glass ceiling with a slam in a 2002 game. She was followed by Tennessee's Candace Parker in the 2005-06 season, and in 2009 by current Baylor center Brittney Griner.
Yet ... that's it. Those three are all the notable female dunkers that have reached the cultural mainstream, and none of them pulled off the feat in high school. That might all be about to change, thanks to the explosive leaping ability of a Georgia sophomore who some have already tipped to be the next girl to throw down a slam in a game.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell, Diamond DeShields has come mighty close to the feat already. She's also successfully dunked off an alley oop in practice, as you can see in the video clip above.
But there's something notably different about DeShields -- the daughter of longtime MLB player Delino DeShields -- when compared to the female dunkers of the past: She's just not that tall. The 16-year-old DeShields is just 6-foot, relatively tall for a high school girls basketball player, but nowhere near the height of Leslie (6-foot-5), Parker (6-foot-4) or Griner (6-foot-8).
That's right folks, we may be nearing the first-ever "guard-sized" female dunk within the next year. For now, DeShields is focused on helping her Norcross (Ga.) High girls basketball team, the defending Class AAAAA state champs who competed in the state semifinals on Thursday.
Still, DeShields says her mind is never too far away from her ultimate personal goal: Throwing down a dunk in a game.
"It has been a goal of mine since I was a baby and saw Lisa Leslie dunk," DeShields told the Journal-Constitution. "I remember saying to myself, 'I want to do that when I grow up.' But now that I'm grown up, I guess I'm more concerned with scoring the 2 points rather than how I score 2 points.
"I have a higher percentage with a layup than a dunk, so that's why I do layups. But I may try to do it [a dunk] in a game one day. I don't want it to be one of those weak dunks. It's going to have to be a powerful dunk like you see on TV."
Just hearing that gets us excited. "It's going to have to be a powerful dunk like you see on TV." She almost pulled it off by accident in the state quarterfinals against Milton, when DeShields became so excited on a breakaway that she laid in a bucket off the backboard and grabbed on to the rim as she did.
It's probably just a matter of time until DeShields breaks through. Whether or not it will be fair to consider having a 6-foot woman dunk in a game as another new milestone is a legitimate question. Regardless of that status, one thing is certain: It'll be incredibly cool to see the dunk when she does.
- Delino DeShields
- Lisa Leslie