In the world of NBA slam dunks, they don't come much bigger than Julius 'Dr. J' Erving. The former Philadelphia 76ers star, who won one championship and a MVP award, wowed crowds around the country with his incredible hops. The now-66-year-old is truly dunking royalty, and in a recent interview with Complex, he included Minnesota Timberwolves youngster Zach LaVine in that category.
While there was some contention around his victory at the 2016 All-Star weekend in Toronto, there is no doubting the back-to-back champion has helped reinvent the dunk contest; a competition that was beginning to play second fiddle to the star-studded three-point contest.
The guard and Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon put on a show for the ages in a contest that was dubbed the greatest since the legendary battle between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins - if not ever. And Erving, who won the ABA dunk contest in 1976, believes LaVine deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the legendary dunking figures.
"I'll tell you, Zach has put on a show the last couple of years. He has to get kudos. I don't know if the surprise factor and the timing coordination dunks that he does are as impactful as what Vince Carter brought to the scene when he did a few things that hadn't been seen before.
"I think with Connie Hawkins, myself, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, there's a lineage there, and I think Vince shook it up a little bit there with a couple of dunks there. I'm gonna let him reside in that spot right there."
It is a huge honour to bestow on such a young talent, but one that is truly deserved. Every NBA fan is hoping for a repeat of Toronto in 2017. Gordan for a shot at redemption, LaVine with the chance at a hat trick and the potential for even more mind-blowing dunks - it needs to happen.