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Is this the most disrespectful dunk in NBA history, or the most respectful dunk in NBA history?


The dunk above, one of the iconic slams of Shawn Kemp’s career and of all-basketball-time, happened during the 1992 NBA playoffs.


The sequence: A Supersonic throws up a floater, which is skillfully swatted by Warriors big man Chris Gatling. The problem is, Gatling’s block lands right in the hands of Shawn Kemp, who was the basketball-playing equivalent of a man whose thumb was perma-quivering over a big red button that was linked to a pound of dynamite.


Once the ball is secured, Kemp takes one echoing step, and destroys Gatling with a poster, seeming to elevate even higher after absorbing contact in mid-air. When Kemp lands, he stares down Gatling, who proceeds to dap up the man who just put him on the NBA’s eternal highlight reel.


So, the question: Is this the most disrespectful dunk in NBA history, or the most respectful dunk in NBA history?


The case for disrespect:Gatling is kissing the ring. There’s a reason why this has never happened before or since. When you get dunked on, you look the other way and simply pretend it didn’t happen, like a proud general admitting defeat.


The case for respect:This exchange is, by definition, one of absolute respect. An olive branch was extended. And, by Kemp, it was graciously accepted. On this day, game truly recognized game.


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