Michael Jordan is one of NBA history’s most explosive and prolific scorers. He became even more popular with his highlight reel moves that included dunks that combined power and artistry. Over his GOAT-worthy 15 seasons in the league, he has compiled some of the most impressive dunks basketball fans have ever seen. Some of these exciting dunks were made against fellow NBA legends, several of whom were known to be great defenders.
Jordan sowed fear into his opponents not just with his trash-talking and ability to back it up. He rattled defenses with his clutch shots and sometimes game-changing slams.
Here are some of Michael Jordan’s best in-game dunks
#5 Michael Jordan stuffs the ball over Alonzo Mourning
On March 12, 1993, the Chicago Bulls hosted the young Charlotte Hornets that were led by Alonzo Mourning. The former Georgetown Hoya had quickly earned a reputation as one of the best defenders and rim protectors in just his first year in the NBA. Mourning averaged 3.5 blocks per game as a rookie.
Three months before that night, “Zo” had three rejections versus the Bulls, including one against Jordan. “MJ” likely remembered that block and could not wait to get back at Mourning.
Michael Jordan was running at full speed when he received a pass from Scottie Pippen off the left elbow. “His Airness” soared just before Alonzo Mourning could set his feet and stuffed the ball with authority. Jordan screamed with passion after the slam.
#4 Jordan puts one over Utah Jazz legend Mark Eaton
Mark Eaton was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner and led the league in blocks four times. The 7-foot-4 center anchored the Utah Jazz defense from 1982-83 to 1992-93. It was inevitable he and Michael Jordan would meet at the rim.
In one of their matchups, the 6-foot-6 Chicago Bulls guard went up high for a two-handed rim-rattler over Utah’s legendary stopper. Even Jazz fans stood up on their feet in astonishment after Jordan’s flush over Eaton.
#3 Michael Jordan in your face slam against Manute Bol
At one point, 7-foot-7 Manute Bol was the tallest player in the NBA. He led the league twice in his career, including a mind-blowing 5.0 BPG during the 1985-86 season.
Bol was with the Golden State Warriors when he and “His Airness” engaged in a thrilling back-and-forth. The lanky center blocked Jordan and Pippen during the said game.
The Bulls’ resident high-flyer eventually threw one down in the face of Manute Bol before the game ended.
#2 Jordan gives Dikembe Mutombo the finger wag
During the 1997 All-Star Game, Dikembe Mutombo, the Atlanta Hawks’ defensive lynchpin, pointed out to their teammates that Michael Jordan had never posterized him. The four-time Defensive Player of the Year even called Jordan’s teammate Scottie Pippen to prove his point.
One month later, Michael Jordan would get one in Game 5 of the playoffs against Mutombo. “His Airness” slammed the ball right in front of Mutombo and imitated the center’s iconic finger wag.
It was one of the coolest moments in basketball history, one that both Jordan and Mutombo recalled with fond memories.
#1 Michael Jordan names most “memorable” dunk was the one over Patrick Ewing in the 1991 playoffs
Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan have been going at each other since they were college superstars. Ewing was a big-time Georgetown Hoyas star while Jordan was part of a star-studded North Carolina team under Dean Smith.
The two took their battles to the NBA during their Hall of Fame careers. In Game 3 of the 1991 playoffs between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks, Jordan executed what he would call his favorite dunk of all time.
Knicks players John Starks and Charles Oakley had Jordan trapped in the corner. “Air Jordan,” however, managed to fake out both of them before tiptoeing the baseline for a thunderous dunk over Patrick Ewing.
Jordan had this to say about that dunk years later:
“My most memorable dunk that I very very often think about is the Patrick Ewing. And that’s because Patrick and I are such good friends”
“I told him, ‘Georgetown guys don’t block shots. All they do is take charges.’ And I dunked so hard on him, it’s unbelievable. And every time I see him, that’s the first thing I remind him of.”