The WNBA, renowned for its outstanding basketball talent, is a league that has shattered barriers and defied expectations. While the ability to dunk has traditionally been associated with male players, the women of the WNBA are proving that gender is no limitation when it comes to soaring above the rim. In this article, we will delve into the world of WNBA players who possess the incredible skill of dunking, showcasing their physical prowess, and highlighting the impact they have made on the game.
Breaking Stereotypes and Challenging Norms
For decades, the belief that dunking was an exclusively male domain persisted. However, a new era has dawned upon the basketball landscape, and talented WNBA players are breaking free from these limiting stereotypes. They have proven that dunking is not solely based on gender but rather on individual skill, athleticism, and determination. These remarkable athletes have inspired a generation of basketball players and fans alike, forever changing the perception of what women can achieve on the court.
Rising Above: The Phenomenal Athletes
The most prevalent dunker in WNBA history is Brittney Griner. Standing at an impressive height of 6'9" and boasting a wingspan of 7'4", her above average height and wingspan have allowed her to dunk 13 times in WNBA games (through 2018) . She also was the first woman to dunk in a WNBA playoff game back in 2014.
This article wouldn't be complete without the mention of Lisa Leslie. Known for her elegance and finesse, Leslie was the first woman to ever dunk in a WNBA game back in 2002. We've written previously about athletes who have broken records that nobody thought could be broken. For example, nobody thought it was possible to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Once Roger Bannister did it, the feat was quickly accomplished by other runners. In a similar vein, Leslie paved the way for dunking in the WNBA.
Candace Parker is a two-time WNBA champion...she's also dunked twice in WNBA games. Parker was a basketball phenom at a young age and dunked at the age of 15 in an Illinois high school game. The dunk is believed to have the been the first by a female athlete in the state of Illinois. After spending the previous 15 years with LA and Chicago, Parker signed with the Las Vegas Aces for 16th WNBA season.
Michelle Snow, Sylvia Fowles, Glory Johnson, Jonquel Jones, Elena Delle Donne, Awak Kuier, Tina Charles, and Liz Cambage have all dunked in WNBA games. Will there be more in 2023? Only time will tell.
The Evolution of Dunking in the WNBA
The increasing number of WNBA players showcasing their dunking abilities is a testament to the evolution of the game and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Through rigorous training, commitment, and a burning desire to push boundaries, these athletes have expanded the realm of what is possible on the basketball court.
It's been fun to see the game of basketball continue to evolve. Shooting 30-foot three pointers was considered a "terrible shot" until Steph Curry started hitting them with remarkable efficiency. Caitlin Clark has become somewhat of a female version of Steph, where she's not only taking but making shots that most in the women's game would've previously considered bad shots.
The number of WNBA players that can dunk is probably at all-time high. I'm looking forward to continuing to see this list grow, both with more dunkers, as well as different types of dunks.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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