8. Baseline Jam Over Yao Ming
Crime Date: February 18, 2003
Scene of the Crime: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Victim(s): Yao Ming aka The Great Wall
Accomplice(s): Rick Fox
At 7’5 and 300 pounds, very few rookies in the history of the NBA were as imposing as Yao Ming. Many wanted to challenge the man known as ‘The Great Wall,’ but everyone was turned away by the massive big man. But Kobe was no ordinary man.
Kobe would use a perfect Rick Fox screen to shed lockdown defender James Posey. Cuttino Mobley tried to provide some help, but he couldn’t get to the baseline quick enough.
That left Kobe one-on-one with Yao at the rim. Yao offered resistance, but Kobe rose over the outstretched arm, showing that no man, regardless of how tall, could stop young Kobe from finishing at the rim.
Kobe’s dunk over Yao is consistently brought up as in the pantheon of great Kobe dunks simply because of Yao’s size. However, there were other dunks that were more directly over a player, or had higher degrees of difficulty.