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Michael Jordan's Top 9 Most Famous Plays & Dunks

Matthew Sands has been an online writer for over eight years. His articles often focus on pop culture and music history.

The All-Time Great

Most people will agree that Michael Jordan is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. Many consider him to be one of the most dominant athletes to ever play in their respective sport.

In discussions about the top five athletes of all time, the name Michael Jordan often appears on the list. Few athletes have ever achieved such a broad appeal within the public eye. And MJ didn't just have broad appeal, he inspired general awe and excitement. That is why I have made this homage to one of the all-time greats.

One of my inspirations for starting this list was from watching the best and most complete Jordan DVD in existence today. Ultimate Jordan (especially the anniversary box set edition) is hands down the best and most complete reel of Jordan moments and highlights available.

The box set version even has five full games of some of MJ's best performances. It also goes into the whole history of Jordan from high school all the way to his game-winning shot against the Jazz. It has all his best dunks and highlights. It even includes old classics like Come Fly With Me, Michael Jordan's Playground, and Air Time (what Jordan fan doesn't remember growing up with those?). The set is a must-have for any Jordan fan and is highly recommended for the value. It has everything you would want and then some.

Jordan getting ready to shoot a free throw.

Jordan getting ready to shoot a free throw.

That brings me to my compilation of Micheal Jordan's top highlights and dunks throughout his career. I tried to choose a mixture of his most iconic moments and also some of his very most well known dunks.

MJ was, and still is, one of the best dunkers the game has ever seen, and he had a flair for the dramatic. This was a wonderful combination. On with the list!

9. Sinks Free Throw With Eyes Closed

This video is hilarious. Dikembe Mutombo of the Nuggets seems to be taunting MJ to shoot the last free throw with his eyes closed. Jordan just laughs, closes his eyes, and sinks it easily.

Watch later as he's walking off and doesn't even care. The announcers are totally clueless too. Classic.

8. Put Back Dunk Off Scottie Pippen's Missed Free Throw

MJ had quite a few highlight-worthy putback dunks off missed free throws during his career, but this is one of the best. He seems to come out of nowhere and throw it down with such authority and grace. The video quality isn't that great, but it has the original audio which makes it worth it. The announcers love it and it is such a great example of Jordan creating magic out of nowhere.

7. Cradle Dunk Vs. Knicks

This one is old-school Michael Jordan at his best. Always putting on a show for the crowd. He makes it look so easy and natural. This highlight looks like one from a dunk contest but it's during a game. Oh yeah, he also steals the ball to set up his own dunk. Fantastic. Don't you just love those old vintage jerseys and short shorts?

6. Six 3's In First Half Vs. Blazers

In game 1 of the '92 NBA Finals, MJ produced one of the best performances of his career. He managed to hit 6 threes in the first half, causing even himself to wonder what was going on. This was also before Jordan really became known for his shooting ability and more for his dramatic dunks and layups. It's his now-famous "shrug" game. Truly electric stuff.

5. The "Move" or Switch Hand Layup

This is one of the most famous and iconic moves and images of Jordan. The "Move", also known as the "Switch Hand" layup. Michael said that he was going to go for a dunk then quickly changed his mind. Seems like the Lakers were content with letting him dunk the ball but MJ had other ideas.

Classic image of Jordan sticking his tongue out while dunking.

Classic image of Jordan sticking his tongue out while dunking.

4. "Air" Jordan Dunk (87 Dunk Contest)

This one might be my personal favorite. Vintage Jordan all the way. This is one of the best examples of why he was nicknamed "Air" Jordan. The announcers and the fans agree as well. His total grace and authority are almost too much to believe and must be savored in slow motion.

3. Game Winning Shot Vs. Cavs

For whatever reason, this shot has become one of the most famous Jordan highlights. He's got a lot, but this buzzer-beater in the playoffs to beat the Cavs is special. He hadn't yet won a championship and you can tell how excited he is.

It's also a great reminder that, yes, Jordan played in the 80s. Just look at those fans.

2. Dunk From the Free Throw Line

There's nothing else like it. The free-throw line dunk. One of the most iconic images, and moments, in all of sports. The billion-dollar Jordan brand has been made out of this image. It has been etched in people's minds and is now a symbol all its own.

It had been done before and it's been done since, but no one else has done it like Jordan.

The Epic Free Throw Line Dunk Captured Beautifully

The famous poster capturing one of Michael Jordan's most iconic moments of his career and sports in general.

The famous poster capturing one of Michael Jordan's most iconic moments of his career and sports in general.

1. Game Winning Shot vs. Jazz

MJ showing, yet again, what set him far and away from the rest. He was never once afraid to take the final shot and make it. This is the dagger that beat the Jazz and earned Michael and the Bulls their sixth NBA title.

You're too cool Michael. Too cool.


ChrisStyles from USA on November 19, 2012:

Favorite Jordan moment: the comeback after playing minor league baseball... MSG Knicks home court on NBC, people questioning if Jordan still has it or he's lost it... drops a double nickel (55 pts) on the Knicks (the Ewing/Oakley/Mason years) and proves that he was back on stage for real. Not a single moment, but that crowd was so electrified in NY it was awesome.

Matthew Sands (author) on July 26, 2012:

Thanks for the kind words! I changed the text to mention Mutombo as the one taunting, thanks for pointing that out.

OutDaremagazine from United Kingdom on July 26, 2012:

This is a really great hub post. Gave an awesome because i think you spent a good amount of time on the search for videos, and because they are awesome lol. Nice work!

AJ Flanigan from Griffin, GA on July 25, 2012:

Great hub. No complaints from me on the order. Just one thing, it was Mt. Mutumbo that was taunting MJ to shoot with his eyes closed.