10 videos to convince you that Air Up There is the greatest dunker ever
The greatest non-poster game dunk ever was done by Taurian Fontenette aka the Air Up There in 2006, when he pulled off a 720 dunk during an And1 game in his hometown of Houston. But that dunk is not the reason why I think you can make a great argument that TJ is the greatest dunker of all-time.
Over the past 8 years, I’ve witnessed over 40, maybe 50, dunk contests that featured many of the greatest contest dunkers in the world and the one (there’s actually 2) performance that stands out to me the most was in Dallas, TX in 2009. The setting was a Sprite Showdown dunk contest that was taking place in the middle of the afternoon with the temperature around 115 degrees. TJ takes it “easy” during warm-ups and throws down 3 or 4 of the most ridiculous 360 dunks I’ve ever seen. Then he takes a rest while the other 8 contestants started to look at each other, wondering who they would be battling for the runner-up prize.
The contest starts. TJ then put on a dunk clinic so impressive, hundreds of people were willing to stand in the blazing hot sun to witness. It was so hot, the contest had to be put on hold because the other finalist, Sir Isaac, fainted on the court. Isaac eventually regained consciousness, just in time to witness a few dunks that I thought were as possible as TJ’s 720 dunk from a few years earlier.
As expected, TJ won the contest which earned him a trip to the NBA All-Star game, where he easily won a dunk contest judged by Darryl Dawkins, Drake and LeBron James. Well, LeBron wasn’t there for the whole thing because he actually ran out of the gym after TJ threw down a 360 between the legs dunk. Seriously, he literally ran out of the gym. Have I mentioned yet that TJ is only 6’2 and I think that’s counting the 2 inches between the ground and his feet when he’s standing still? Yes I’m saying TJ’s feet never touch the ground. He levitates like David Blaine and I’m sticking with the story.
Since that day…wait, have I mentioned that he’s in his 30s? Since that day, TJ has been taking his high flying act on the road with the Ballup tour and at only “6 feet tall,” the “over-the-hill” streetball legend is still dunking on opponents and throwing down dunks that no player in NBA dunk contest history has ever done.
For me, and for many reasons, Vince Carter is and will always be the “Greatest Dunker Ever” but Air Up There gets my vote to be what everybody who has ever been in a dunk contest with him has been: a runner-up!
As for the noted other dunk contest performance that stands out to me. That belongs to Kenny Dobbs, who also impressed LeBron James at All-Star weekend, after Dobbs performed a blindfolded between the legs dunk over 3 people.