As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History.
Today, Andy Behrens of Roto Arcade recalls the time he watched Taj Gibson posterize Dwyane Wade's very soul during the Chicago Bulls' win over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference finals.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure that Taj Gibson's dunk on Dwyane Wade was even the best jam of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals — that title might belong to Derrick Rose's unholy, ruthless assault on Joel Anthony. But Gibson checked all the boxes on the list of things that make for a stellar in-game dunk.
First of all, the play began with Taj forcing a turnover that led to a three-on-one, so the right guy was rewarded with the highlight. The break developed beautifully: deflection, outlet, one dribble, pass, DEVASTATION.
Adding to the greatness of the dunk is the fact that the victim in this instance was, at the time, one of the five or six greatest players on Earth. And then we have the incredible thoroughness of Wade's foul — this wasn't some cheap blow-by and-1. Wade committed something like four separate infractions on the play, none of which achieved the desired result. He thwacked Taj's left arm, his face, his right arm and his body ... and none of it mattered. Gibson crushed it, then delivered the classic flex/scream post-dunk celebration, then hit his free throw. Just perfect.
You know a dunk is badass when the dunkee's children are like ...
I had 2 laugh at ths..I was playing my oldest son Zaire on his nerf rim & he dunked & said Gibson while screaming..L2MS Kids u gotta luv em
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) May 16, 2011
More from BDL's Dunk History series:
• John Starks, the Chicago Bulls and 'The Dunk'
• Tom Chambers rising like a Phoenix and taking orbit as a Sun
• Joakim Noah makes Paul Pierce a memory
• Baron Davis unloads on Andrei Kirilenko, moves beyond belief
• Michael Jordan embarrasses, like, all of the Knicks
• The joy of hearing Scottie Pippen posterize Patrick Ewing