Oklahoma City All-Star forward Kevin Durant sent shock waves around the basketball world with his in-your-face, jaw-dropping slam dunk over Mavericks center Brendan Haywood in Game 2 of the 2011 Western Conference playoff series, a game in which the Thunder won 106-100 to tie the series at 1 apiece.
It was an emphatic statement by the 22-year-old, two-time NBA scoring champion. With one filthy move, Durant sent a resounding message that the Thunder may be young and inexperienced and probably in virgin territory at this stage of the game, but they are coming hard and fast, and the rest of the league better recognize their burgeoning greatness.
Durant took a pass from Eric Maynor at the top of the arc, dribbled right past Peja Stojakovic like he wasn’t even there, met Haywood at the rim, jumped higher than he has ever jumped before, and threw down a one-handed slam that got everyone jumping out of their seats.
It was one of those powerful moments that will be played over and over again for years to come, similar to Michael Jordan dunking over Patrick Ewing, or Kevin Johnson’s throw-down over Hakeem Olajuwon, or LeBron James (when he was still the King of Cleveland) seemingly taking on the entire Celtics team for a vicious dunk, prompting TNT commentator Kevin Harlan to utter the famous line of “LeBron James! With no regard for human life!”