March 27, 2014
By Alex Boeder

He might not be summer or autumn or winter, but D.J. Stephens is the most spring of all springs.

If you know anything about Stephens, you probably know that his 46-inch vertical marks the highest running vertical jump ever measured by the NBA. Higher than Vince Carter or Rudy Gay or Derrick Rose or Anyone Else. He also holds the record for no-step vertical, at 40 inches.

Stephens could also reach higher (12 feet, 5.5 inches) than Shaquille O’Neal Version 1992 (12 feet, 5 inches) if they both jumped as high as they could, which is to say no one has a higher max vertical reach. (Hat-tip to DraftExpress.)

Now he is set to suit up (up) for the Bucks after signing a 10-day contract.


A short hoops biography.

Stephens played four years for the Memphis Tigers from 2009-13. Despite standing just 6-5, he played most of his college career at power forward or center.

Never a scorer, he never even averaged 10+ points in a season. But he also played within himself, shooting a robust 62.7 % from the field at Memphis while carrying a very low usage rate for a pro prospect. He enjoyed dunking and others enjoyed him dunking.

As a senior, he led Conference-USA in two notable categories: blocks per game (2.8) and two-point FG% (.702). And those 2.8 blocks per game came in just 23.6 minutes. He was rewarded with Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Before getting the call from the Bucks this season, Stephens played for Ilysiakos in the Greek League. He averaged 9.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks in 18 games.

Dunks for (10) Days

Is it a coincidence that the Bucks have signed three of the best dunkers in the world to three 10-day contracts in a row this season?

First it was (the correct) Tony Mitchell. Then Chris Wright.

They both shot 1-1 on dunks with the Bucks.

Now, Stephens.

Bucks Dunks Leaders Since 2000

I have been counting every Bucks dunk since 2000 just in case. Here we are.

Actually: Basketball-Reference has been counting. Thanks for that.

Favorite Bucks Dunkers Since 2000

This timeframe is for a few reasons. First: To match the theme above. Second: YouTube was founded in 2005, so it is hard to find quality pre-2000 clips. Third: It is with poor timing that I missed the Bucks championship, the extremely successfully 1980s, and the vast majority of Bucks basketball before 2000.

So credits to Ricky Pierce, Terry Cummings, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Greg Smith, Blue Edwards, and the rest.

For the purpose of this list, I am focusing on in-game dunks by players in Bucks jerseys. Thus, Kendall Gill dunks with Charlotte don’t count, Keyon Dooling dunks with Los Angeles don’t count, and so on. Quantity of dunks is lightly considered, so Tony Mitchell doesn’t make it despite a really good one for example, but quality is the main measurement here.

Top 10 Notes

Some notes on the list:

Anyone who has typed anything about Shaun Livingston since 2006 has said one or two things, and the second one is that he is still smooth. That is correct forever.

Carlos Delfino always could be counted on for the random annual expected-but-unexpected throwdown, and he earns bonus points in the clip below for smashing in a big game in traffic against two defenders, including hoppy Josh Smith and friend Zaza Pachulia.

Hakim Warrick just caught the ball and tried to dunk, no matter where he caught the ball on the court, and there is some nobility in that type of principle.

Only played one season in Milwaukee, but Richard Jefferson had some nice ones.

Expect Giannis Antetkounmpo to rise, so to speak, on this list.

I could not locate a Bucks Marcus Haislip clip, if you were there you were there. Please note that in the Tennessee dunk below he actually shot the ball.

Tim Thomas, so many things.

Resolution is rough, but there is a charm to seeing Darvin Ham all pixilated against Alonzo Mourning all pixilated.

The Ray Allen threes and twos were in equal style in these times.

Desmond Mason is in the top 25 mix of all time dunkers.

10 – Shaun Livingston

9 – Carlos Delfino

8 – Hakim Warrick

7 – Richard Jefferson

6 – Giannis Antetokounmpo

5 – Marcus Haislip

4 – Tim Thomas

3 – Darvin Ham

2 – Ray Allen

1 – Desmond Mason

Alex Boeder

Writing and the Bucks. Two of my passions. So it is good to be here. I have reported on media row for just about every Bucks home game since 2009. I started writing for the Bucks in 2012. Before that, I co-founded and wrote for BrewHoop. I have written for the Milwaukee BrewersSB NationESPN MilwaukeeSlam Online, and so on. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @alexboeder or email me at adboeder@gmail.com.