THERE’S no bigger sign of dominance in basketball than executing an emphatic slam dunk.
Over the years, NBA stars have refined their craft to pull off incredible acrobatic dunks at the rim.
The slam dunk is one of basketball’s most iconic shotsCredit: AFP
It has its origins almost 100 years agoCredit: Getty
But many fans new to the sport aren’t aware of the origins of the slam dunk, despite it being the sport’s most recognizable move.
To find its origins, you have to go way back to the 1930s.
Joe Fortenberry of the McPherson Globe Refiners was putting on a show at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
The six-foot-eight star captained the US team in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
And he is widely believed to be the first player ever to perform what we now call a dunk.
The term was immortalized by Arthur Daley, a sports writer for The New York Times.
He described vividly Fortenberry’s athletic movement of rising to the hoop and placing the ball in the basket from above.
Daley wrote: “[Fortenberry] pitched the ball downward into the hoop, much like a cafeteria customer dunking a roll in coffee.”
Although popularizing the term, Daley’s use of the word dunk was reportedly not the first instance.
According to Evin Demirel of the Daily Beast, the “term had been used at least three times in the preceding two years, indicating the act wasn’t unknown in the early 1930s.”
Since that era, the art of the showboat dunk has only increased.
The NBA now holds an annual Slam Dunk contest at every All-Star Weekend.
While in the 2018/19 season, there were an incredible 11,393 drunks attempted across all 30 teams throughout the campaign.
It heralded the first time in NBA history that more than 10,000 had been attempted across a single season.