Like Spud Webb before him, Robinson capitalized off his shortness, but Nate also has a 48-inch vertical leap. To some this may be a surprising inclusion, but as big as Dwight Howard is, he's still a ridiculous athlete. He's probably the most underrated of the bunch, but he's by no means the least athletic. Darryl Dawkins might have had that athleticism though because he wasn't just any mere mortal; instead he was an alien from the planet Lovetron. So, it's obvious the guy got some hoops.
Picking the most athletic NBA player of the 1950s is kind of like picking the best baseball player at the Double-A level. Then there was his 48-inch vertical jump. You'll lose. No player popularized the above-the-rim style of play more than Dr. J.
Thanks to his extraordinary leaping ability (his vertical is reportedly 40 inches or more), Robinson can finish with ease and is effective at either end of the alley-oop (one of the highlight plays of the first half of the season was Robinson's alley-oop dunk against Arizona). Part of the reason that Bob McAdoo was able to win an MVP award and three scoring titles was his athleticism, which was much greater than many of the other big men of his day and age. Joining Arizin on the Philadelphia Warriors, Neil Johnston was another tremendously gifted scorer, this time because of the proficiency of his right-handed hook shot, a shot that helped him lead the league in field-goal percentage three times. Baylor was a terrific scorer and a lot of that was due to his ability to slash through the lane and get to the rim, utilizing his athleticism in the process. Granted, this wasn't exactly true in the beginning of the league's history as the 1950s weren't exactly filled with athleticism, but it was from then on. There's a reason he gets so many blocks from behind on fast-break opportunities.
Clyde was a great rebounder for a guard thanks to his terrific vertical and he was never afraid to use his stylish athleticism to look good on the court. Blake Griffin jumped over a car and dunked a basketball.
One of the reasons that the NBA is so appealing is that it takes some of the greatest athletes in the world, throws them onto the same court and then lets them entertain fans, using a little orange ball in the process. The first true superstar in the NBA, George Mikan was the centerpiece for the Minneapolis Lakers' early dynasty. Steven Jackson: Dark Horse Commercial of the Year Candidate, Brian Wilson vs. James Harden: The Battle of the Beards. Even though he wasn't exactly the best teammate or model citizen, J.R. Rider could jump with the best of them. Not many players in NBA history have been more skilled at the jumping trifecta: getting high into the air, staying in the air for a long time and looking good while doing it. He supposedly even ran a sub-11-second 100-yard dash once. Oh yeah, that was in just one season. While there were certainly more athletic guards during the 1970s, McAdoo's relative athleticism compared to the other 6'9" players, who were supposed to be relegated to post play, earns him this spot. In addition to his basketball prowess, which he achieved partially because he was a much better athlete than anyone at the time and he stood over seven feet tall, Wilt was a terrific track and field athlete. He was a physical monster at the time, such a dominant force that the league actually had to widen the paint in order to attempt to stop him.
David Thompson was one of the greatest dunkers of all time, mostly because of his ability to jump so high and stay in the air so long that it seemed like he was walking on the sky. He had to be athletic because his progeny most certainly was; his son, Danny Schayes, was an NBA center for 18 years and his grandchildren have taken home multiple Olympic medals in track and field as well as volleyball.
Adam Fromal is a syndicated writer and Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Clyde Drexler was pretty damn talented when it came to gliding through the air en route to the rim for a powerful and crowd-pleasing slam dunk. Michael Jordan is quite possibly the most gifted athlete to ever pick up a basketball. His unbelievable combination of size, speed and hops is unmatchable. But since I have to do it, Paul Arizin is the choice here. He can run up and down the court with guards and doesn't even breathe heavily after.
If so, whether you are overweight, underweight, or just average, this article will help you increase your vertical jump. "First time I touched a backboard, I was 12. 1 in this decade. Even though he (much like the other players of this era) wasn't exactly a high-flyer, Arizin is the founding father of the jump shot, meaning that he did have at least a little bit of hops. Blake Griffin did this too. That was the primary reason that he captured not one, not two, but three slam dunk titles, making him the only player in NBA history to do so.
His vertical at age 32 may have even outdone his 43.5-inch reading as a young prospect. Other than Michael Jordan, LeBron James is the most athletic player to ever play basketball. #holdat”
Winning the first NBA Slam Dunk Contest and earning the nickname "The High Ayatolla of Slamola" in the process tends to get you considered for lists like this. Wilt Chamberlain may very well be a top-five athlete in all of NBA history. Johnston was athletic enough to make it professionally in both basketball and baseball. As overrated as he is in some areas, he's tremendously underrated in this one. This 5 ft 9-inch height player build a 43.5 inches records in NBA history. Although Nate could dunk at that young age already, it took him some hard training to reach his current vertical leap. His leaping ability is sickening and that's probably understating it. Follow him on Twitter. The pioneer of backboard shattering, Gus Johnson stood just 6'6" but was able to jump high enough in the air to generate enough power to complete destroy three backboards in his career. Get the latest news, stats, videos, highlights and more about point guard When I think of Elgin Baylor, I think of a much earlier version of Dwyane Wade. He was capable of jumping as high as anyone in the league and utilized that ability to its full extent, often reaching well above the height of the rim to reject ill-advised shots. Do you dream of soaring through the air like LeBron James , Nate Robinson , or Michael Jordan ? If you had to create a model athlete in today's game (note: athlete, not necessarily complete basketball player), it would probably look exactly like LeBron. One of the original aerial acrobats in NBA history, Connie Hawkins' name and playing style lent themselves perfectly to his moniker: The Hawk.
Then there's his jumping ability.
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