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Julius Erving on Where Zach LaVine Ranks Among Greatest Dunkers

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

All-time NBA great Julius Erving sat down with Complex recently, and there he discussed the league's dunk contest and some of the current star dunkers in the league.

One player that easily comes to mind is Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who has won the past two dunk contests at All-Star Weekend. He barely edged out Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon in this year's contest, in what many now consider the best dunk contest ever.

Erving was asked about who he thinks were the greatest dunkers in NBA history, and he included LaVine on that list.

“I’ll tell you; Zach has put on a show the last couple of years. He has to get kudos. I don’t know if the surprise factor and the timing coordination dunks that he does are as impactful as what Vince Carter brought to the scene when he did a few things that hadn’t been seen before. I think with Connie Hawkins, myself, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, there’s a lineage there, and I think Vince shook it up a little bit there with a couple of dunks there. I’m gonna let him reside in that spot right there.”

Erving was then asked about this year's dunk contest.

“It was clearly as good as the Wilkins-Jordan showdown, and I had a showdown with David Thompson back in ’76 which was the last year in the ABA. It doesn’t get acknowledged as much, but it was a great showdown. But Zach and [Aaron] Gordon, in terms of the guys who are judging and to hear what they had to say during that time, records are made to be broken, and standards of the bar are established to be challenged so somebody can go above it. I would put those two guys, the things they did this past show in Toronto, at the top of the bar. Even for them to chase next year, or put some new guys next year to go after it…they have raised the bar to a different level.”

-- Josh Dhani

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