Anatomy, And Appreciation, Of Paul George’s ‘Dunk Of Year’

VIDEO: Paul George throws down a 360-degree windmill dunk against the Clippers.

INDIANAPOLIS – What Paul George pulled out of the trick bag midway through the fourth quarter Saturday night, for the record, isn’t even something he unleashes in practice. If anything, The Dunk That Briefly Blew Up The Internet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is reserved for the layup line, a reward for those paying attention but mostly to get some adrenaline pumping for George and his Indiana Pacers teammates.

“I always say, ‘You can’t do that in a game,’ ” teammate Lance Stephenson said later. “But he did it tonight. He didn’t say nothing, but I know he was like, ‘Told ya I could do it.’ “

There were six minutes left. George already had 34 points, his 3-pointer moments earlier pushing Indiana’s lead over the Los Angeles Clippers back to 20. Challenged by the ejection of forward David West for a flagrant-2 foul (high elbow swipe) on the Clippers’ Blake Griffin at the end of the second quarter, the Pacers used a 13-2 run up to the quarter’s midpoint to secure their home record (21-1, making this the 25th consecutive season Indiana has been above .500 at home).

Nothing, at 94-74, was still in doubt. Then George stole the ball from Darren Collison, raced downcourt and went Slam Dunk, uppercase, for the viewing audience.

His 360-degree, windmill throwdown was half-man, half-homage, the sort of thing vintage Vince Carter would save for a late round on All Star Saturday. Play of the Night? More like Dunk of the Season.

“That’s dunk of the year,” said the excitable Stephenson. “I’ve never seen that dunk live in a game before. I wanted to celebrate, but they didn’t call timeout, so … that dunk was crazy.”

Said Pacers reserve Chris Copeland: “That was unbelievable. That would have gotten 10’s in a dunk contest. But in the game? That makes it 10 times more impressive.”

Look at the video embedded with this post. Then look at it again. And again. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, the highlight clip of George’s dunk saves all of us from struggling – and failing – to properly describe the spontaneity, the creativity and the joy in what he did.

Saves him, too, as he shrugged it off afterward.

“Just getting back to having fun,” George said. “Showin’ I’ve still got it in my legs. Y’know, putting on a show for everybody coming down to support us at Bankers Life.”

But not necessarily inspired by Carter? “Yeah, I mean, he’s definitely a dunker I idolized growing up,” George said. “Again, it was just being out there, playing free and having fun. … I never really practice dunks. I just go out there and whatever happens in a game, I just let it go.”

That raised a question in the locker room that already was burning up Twitter. What’s more impressive: a breathtaking, thoroughly artistic dunk in the open court like the one George had just authored, or something more fierce, challenged in traffic, the dunk that requires as much power as grace to get two points over – or better yet, through – somebody?

This one was huge, especially against the team that — with Griffin, with DeAndre Jordan — rains pebble-grained terror down on the entire league. Yet almost to a man, the Pacers – George included – seemed to prefer the contested throwdown.

“Hmmm, I’d probably say a dunk over somebody. Because there’s defense,” said West, not surprising given his power game. “When you’re out there by yourself, you’re trying to dunk [for the crowd]. When you dunk on somebody, you know they’re trying to stop you.”

Said George: “It’s always better to dunk on somebody. Those are momentum-swingers.  But I guess putting on a show ignites the crowd and it carries the same value as dunking on somebody.”

Copeland split the difference, and imagined George’s dunk graphically plotted as if on shot chart, ranking high in a thicket of all those traffic slams.

“That one right there would top a lot of fierce dunks,” Copeland said. “I personally like fierce dunks. I’d rather see you go over somebody. I think that’s as hard as it gets, to have a body in front of you. Fast-break dunks are not usually as tough as a ‘poster,’ a body, but that one? And I’m not even an open-court guy but that would be on top of my list.

“You saw our reaction on the bench. It speaks for itself.”

What do you think? Check out NBA.com’s Top 10 Dunks from 2013:

VIDEO: The Top 10 Dunks from 2013.

81 Comments

  1. Sharpie says:

    Numbers 4, 6 and 7 shouldn’t make the list. 4 is just an easy windmill. The alley-oop part makes it a lot easier to do. I also don’t understand why people think when you try to take a charge and get dunked on it’s so great. Honestly the thing that makes getting dunked on so great is that two men go up and only one wins. If only one guy goes up it might as well be a regular 1 on 0 fast break. IDK maybe it’s just me.

  2. handsome says:

    It’s a great dunk and really has a strong case to be the dunk of the year. First and foremost the degree of difficulty was awesome. Plus the fact that it was executed in game. Better than any dunk of Lebron James and Blake Griffin. But the you can’t compare that dunk to what Vince Carter did. Why? The rotation was almost the same and not the usual way to do a 360 dunk, but then the way the windmill was executed was the big difference. Great job George. VC FOR LIFE!!

  3. Gillsy says:

    It was a nice dunk, which is nice to see in a game. Cause you generally only see these dunks in Dunk comps, James’s warm up or by Gerald Green. The funny thing is how everyone says Griffin is the best dunker but every time he dunks on someone he never seams to dunk the ball. He usually throws it through from a foot out.

  4. jjj says:

    90% of people didn’t know he already did a 360 windmill way back 2012 during a game but didn’t count. And he also participated in 2012 slam dunk contest! Who finished behind Evans (1st) and Budinger (2nd) lol

  5. rare4 says:

    An uncontested dunk is never that impressive (this one in particular – he barely made it).
    If you want to see an impressive dunk, check out John Starks against the Bulls in 1993, attacking their big men, a pivotal play in a close game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCTfxOrX4k8
    Now THAT’S a dunk.

  6. mstirious2000 says:

    I’ve seen a lot of guys in the same situation but none had tried it. In a game is very different. It takes a lot of guts to do what he did cus it will end up on “Not Top Ten” if he would’ve missed. There’s a reason guys don’t do things like this.

    Did anyone heard what Vogel said after the game. “I would’ve taken him out”. On missing the dunk.

    Dunking on people doesn’t take a lot of thinking. It’s all instinct and natural reactions. Paul George’s dunk does require a lot of thinking. I think it’s the main reason why guys don’t do it. They overthink and are scared of missing. Paul George, hopefully, changed that.

    My prediction is, before the end of this season, someone else will try it. Most likely Lebron. Until then, people will never appreciate what Paul George just did.

  7. imherpalaad says:

    Not that graceful… unlike Griffin’s dunks. On-air, smack down…
    Remember Gerald Green’s Windmill IN GAME dunk when he was on the NETS? That’s better. On a fastbreak, with defenders tailing him. This one was good, better than most, but not the dunk of the year, YET.
    Dunk in traffic is soooo much better. Merciless.

  8. Eaglos says:

    Nice dunk, lots of difficulty but not impressive and sloppy body position.

  9. justsayin says:

    I really like PG but that was underwhelming. A near miss -and I dont consider a late upward extension a windmill. He and others have done much better already this year.

  10. Indiana vs Portland FINALS!! BRING IN THE NEW BREED! the tables have turned on Lakers, Celtics, Dallas ect. This is a fast young mans league breeding new blood with a mixture of experience but not old players past there day!! Excitement gauranteed!!

  11. demagofrak says:

    nice dunk, not a big vertical jump (not carter or griffin or gerald green or any super dunker)
    he makes a really good dunk with limited jump abilities, fluid dunk, for me it’s a 9 bcause it’s in game

  12. Desmodeus says:

    I really wish people would stop calling dunks like this one 360s. When he took off his feet were facing the basket at the other end of the court. He then turned through 180 degrees and dunked the ball. I’m not saying it wasn’t an impressive dunk, it was but it wasn’t a 360 it was a 180.

  13. Jeremymichel says:

    Vince Carter’s was better because it was a full extension windmill, still a really nice dunk though, especially during a game.

  14. pakyu says:

    wow, the nba’s standard now adays are so low. if the other superstars (durant, james, griffin and other high flyers) would have the intention to do this in game, they could’ve done it. the difference between them and PG? those other superstars wouldn’t do it. i know they were leading the game, but if he did this in a tight game, or if they are trailing, i bet he will be benched. he did this becauase PG knows that people are saying that his dunks are lame, so he showed off. not a dunk of the year, but rather an awkward overrated transition dunk. PS. dont compare this to a VC highlight,VC was a way way better in game dunker.

  15. Joe says:

    This was a pretty mean dunk. And because no one else is pointing this out, he did this in a game prior to his dunk contest in 2012. Proof? 0:12 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydEDu-_eXYU – not as nice as the one against the clippers, but still good

  16. Ryan says:

    I can’t believe anyone is saying this isn’t dunk of the year. Hibbert’s 5 blocks in 9 minutes? You lost your starting forward to a wonderful elbow to Griffin’s nose? And your up by 20? And you pull THAT? Folks… He did it on em. Got straight nasty on em. Appreciate it

  17. not impressed says:

    To bad he did a 180 before he even took off. Other wise it was a nice 180 windmill

  18. mortished says:

    when nba compromises itself with iceskating … soon game will be judge on an artistic grade and those guys will wear nice little bright colored dress !

  19. Rider772 says:

    These comments are cracking me up. “Wasn’t impressive”, “Not a full windmill”, yada, yada, yada…hey brainiacs, yes he was open, but did you fools see the game? First, he Does actually play defense, he Had already played 3 quarters, he Had already scored oh, um…34 other frickin’ points…99.9% of you couldn’t even touch a rim on your best day. Stay on the couches eating your Bon-Bon’s and quit trying to act like you know anything about what it takes to “dunk”.

  20. lol says:

    mediocre dunk cause of the low vertical jump…he BARELY dunked, it would be a top dunk if his head was at the rim, notice how bad his jump was, he almost blew it.

  21. MBisFamous45 says:

    This is THE dunk of the year. Power. Flair. A little bit of Blake Griffin and Vince Carter together. I enjoyed watching this dunk.

  22. RafaelMercedes says:

    until now, PG is the best dunk that I’ve ever seen in a serious game, that was insanity,

    • 0_o? says:

      You know the name Vince Carter? try searching in Youtube.. V-I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y..and you’ll forget about the best dunks you’ve ever seen.

  23. Memo says:

    No fluidity?? IT’S NOT A DUNK CONTEST!!!! it’s a IN GAME REVERSE 360 windmill dunk, with da pressure of getting blocked or booed/laughed at if u miss it. So far….. dunk of tha season, all the other dunkers would agree.

  24. dino says:

    @Kristofer Logan that was a 360 not a 360 windmill

  25. pacquiaoverated says:

    not even close, just one 360 and hall windmill dunk these pg fanboys praising him like he is the best dunker? lol vc been doing those dunk night in night out, from the moment he stepped into the league, even griffin doing that as well, not just one lol one dunk another wannabe, vc is the god of in game dunking stop the comparison. one dunk…. lmao

  26. Vince Carter says:

    urgh…..Vince Carter used to do that every single game…
    the difference is VC did it with beauty

  27. bilal says:

    Are you stupid, is this what you call dunk of the year ? it is no close to dunk of the year. that kid was wide open.

  28. okc2014 says:

    Paul George can’t be stopped. For me, I’m old school, liked Dr J’s dunks. Dunks today are sometimes overrated. Sometimes they go for the dunk and don’t even make it, then it looks foolish. Two points are 2 points. I must admit, I love Kevin Durant’s dunks, and I have seen him, Rudy Gay, Carmello Anthony, Al Horford, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka dunk, and have been close enough where I can here the intensity of it all. It’s pretty cool to see and hear.

  29. Paul George says:

    I absolutey agree with Vince. My move was awkward, no fluidity last night. Nothing beats the original. Vince Carter FTW!

    • shane jones says:

      Vincent’s shot was a thing of beauty but if you watch closely you see that he comes from the side of the rim which makes it easier to be fluid. To me it looks like PG has more rotation because he is coming from the rim straight on… it also looks more difficult. It almost looks like a different dunk. This is one of the reasons LOVE it!

  30. Dean says:

    Everyone is comparing this to Vince, but this isn’t the first time George has done this dunk. He did it when he was in the dunk contest and he shut the lights off and had a glow in the dark uniform. No one remembers it because you couldn’t see it…

  31. vince carter says:

    Guys, you must be crazy to think PG’s dunk is the best “IN-GAME” Dunk.

    Now this is what you call the REAL BEST IN GAME DUNK:

  32. bradmaliik says:

    Why does everyone keep comparing it to VC’s dunk? This is an in-game dunk in the FOURTH QTR! Degree of difficulty must be a factor. Who has legs to pull that dunk off? Dunk of the year maybe not but don’t hate because he’s not your “favourite” player. Best IN-GAME dunk IMHO

  33. Chris says:

    That dunk was even better because it was on the clippers who have been show boating all year! Clipper land, how does it taste?

  34. jayd says:

    Very nice. Not a 10 on a dunk contest but I give It a 9. Nice dough. Pg is the man

  35. shem7 says:

    now im a fan of PG!!

  36. Lithuanian says:

    are you crazy???/ some people are jus jelous, probably most of you are LA fans or smth. That was DUNK OF THE YEAR for sure !!! Havent seen anything like this since prime-Vince Carter, maaaaan !!!

  37. sally says:

    Lebron did two of them in a row playing the Bobcats tonight…what is so great about PG doing “one”. I think he thinks he’s pretty impressive and I think the league is trying to sensationalize Indiana this season ….but I can’t see what is so great about him …just another excellent shooter…he doesn’t do anything else…the league is full of those kind !!!

    • Aragorn500 says:

      Just to let you know sally, the Pacers have not had nearly as much publicity as the Heat. secondly, Paul George is way more than just a shooter, he can dunk for one thing. Thirdly, I love LeBron, but his duo of dunks was not a windmill, nor a 360. They were plainly reverse dunks. P.S. I love LBJ, but I don’t try to make all other teams and players look bad,while mamaking my self look bad. I love the Heat, but a lot of heat fans I can not stand!

  38. Maybe Ramon Sessions Dunk is much better. check it out

    • LOL says:

      wow. didnt dunk ON him man. give it up. nice dunk but hardlydunked onhim.. lbj tried the swat from behind.. Sessions has ZERO chance to dunk ON LBj

  39. Chris says:

    It’s a great dunk, but dunking with a clear run never compares to dunking right in the face of someone

  40. rokec says:

    @David Vaughn; Do you know WINDMILL dunk is?? From what you’ve wrote I guess you don’t know!! Oladipo’s dunk was NOT a WINDMILL dunk! It was just 360 dunk and nothing more!!
    This is a WINDMILL dunk:

    This one is from VC…the other one 360 WINDMILL dunk is from PG from yesterdays game vs. LAC.

    I have no idea where do you see here the WINDMILL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL6QEsivlBo
    I don’t know either are you blind or am I missing something.

  41. Chris Lane says:

    that was something extra special..
    if you’ll ask players in the nba they’ll probably tell you “that’s very difficult to do”
    trust me.. Damn! that was special!

  42. Vinsanity like-that dunk blew the roof off the house-it didn’t have to be on an opponent. Besides nobody can do that type of dunk on someone. Just strait Nnnnasty.

  43. Paris says:

    That dunk looked awkward. It was unnatural and just no fluidity like what you would see on a great dunker. Sorry but not “dunk of the year”. Just because it happened during the game doesn’t make it “that” great. Don’t even dare compare it to Vince.

    • Game Time says:

      It wasn’t even a true ‘windmill’ style dunk. Look at it compared to Vince’s and see how Carter’s arm does a full counterclockwise rotation. Curious George has the ball in two hands halfway through his spin. Nice dunk, not even close to Vince’s or dunk of the year.

  44. Kris Wayne says:

    Best Dunk of the Year so far!!! Dunking over people does not make a dunk as good as an athletic, creative and powerful dunk like this dunk of PG.

    • Game Time says:

      Go watch ALL of the dunks Griffin has had just this year. PG’s was really nice, but he’s got nothing close to dunk of the year with that.

  45. mirzahat says:

    Finally, finallyyyyyyy…..a non-Blake Griffin Dunk of the year.

    IMO, this is a true dunk. I does not involve Blake Griffin-like offensive fouls that never get called just because the NBA protects him, getting sick of him jumping in peoples faces with elbows.

    Props to PG, the dunk has elegance, beauty, power,

  46. ninjabonsai says:

    really nice dunk, but the best dunks are definitely those that are through traffic, paul george’s no. 3 dunk on the top 10 of 2013 is a lot better. a deandre jordan’s number one is waaay better

  47. ninjabonsai says:

    really nice dunk, but the best dunks are definitely those that are through traffic, paul george’s no. 3 dunk on the top 10 of 2013 is a lot better. a deandre jordan’s number one is waaay better

  48. FranklinM says:

    Of course a posterizer is harder and usually more impressive (Blake on Humphries) but when you see a dunk that is performed only once or twice in an entire season, even on clear-path fastbreaks, there is no doubt on its greatness. Props to PG for that throw down.

  49. Game Time says:

    Dunk of the year and it’s only the 1st month of the year? This was a nice dunk but he was wide open and I’ve seen ten better dunks this season, half of which go to Blake Griffin.

    • My Eye View says:

      griffon fouls more people on the way to the rim than LeBron Blames does…that’s a fact

      • justsayin says:

        you mean takes more cheap shots than anybody

      • Game Time says:

        Another sissy crying that Griffin fouls people, but probably contradicts himself saying the league is softer today than in the past. Go get that eye checked.

  50. cating says:

    Vince Carter !!

  51. Killa Bee says:

    this dunk was very impressive but.. Gerald Greens alley oop windmill is better IMO.. VC style

  52. Tim says:

    The NBA needs to try their hardest to get this guy in the dunk contest. I know he’s already invited but it sounds like he doesn’t want to do it. If you want to save the dunk contest, UP THE ANTE NBA LEAGUE OFFICE AND PERSUADE HIM!!

  53. NotEvenClose says:

    Griffin’s dunk that was #10 on last weeks list is a better looking dunk in my opinion.

    • mezstah says:

      Number 4 way better then al the others that was a contested dunk. No running jump two hands heavy contact.

  54. David Vaughn says:

    I think its a little upsetting that everyone thinks thats was the 1st 360 windmill dunk of the season.
    Victor Oladipo did it in the beginning of the seasin.

  55. Dooder says:

    Not impressive? hahah yeah okay.

  56. Kristofer Logan says:

    definitely a nice dunk by paul george, not dunk of the year though (that belongs to blake on kris humphries). but also…definitely not on the same level as a vince carter 360 windmill. with all that said, a sweet break away dunk…

  57. dustydreamnz says:

    The Pacers got a bargain with George. Not only for his play but his leadership and showmanship.

  58. btown says:

    that was crazy, really impressive and pg humble about it too

  59. 11 says:

    PG dunk was cool but not impressive, nowhere close to be a top dunk. A top dunk is when you dunk on another player.

    • gabe says:

      nope, that’s a powerful dunk.

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Do you even know how to play basketball? I, myself, cannot dunk but I know the degree of difficulty to pull up a 360 windmill dunk especially IN A LIVE GAME! I’d suggest you just shut up on things you don’t really know and at the same time, save yourself from being a real buzz-kill moving forward in case you need to decide whether or not to comment like this again.

      • LOL says:

        Ummmmmmmmmmmmm is everyone blind thats clearly a 180 LOL. He took off with his BACK TO THE BASKET. In no way does this dunk qualify for a 360. Its still nasty but Im just sayin its def not a 360

      • Sharpie says:

        @ LOL you’re an idiot. Apparently you don’t understand physics. Also @ 11. There is no real difficulty to dunking on another player. Either your strong enough to do it or you aren’t. There is no real way to practice that. What he did involved skill, not just raw power. Also dunking on a guy who’s trying to take a charge isn’t all that great. I don’t know why they put a bunch of those in the bottom video. There is something special about two guys going up and only one winning. You might as well put a regular one handed dunk on the list, if you’re going to put people trying to take charges.

  60. jdub455 says:

    Nasty nasty tribute to vinsanity!! PG is the man!