How basketball’s first dunker won gold on Hitler’s home court | 1st | Episode 2

imagine basketball without ducks it's

like baseball without homeruns or hockey

without fights in other words it sucks

but dunks weren't always a part of the

game it's difficult to pinpoint the

exact moment they became a part of

basketball but history takes us back to

a stage set by Nazi Germany and a time

when dunks were so frightening that

Japan tried to ban tall players


the dunk is one of the most exciting

plays and sports children around the

globe grow up imitating the players who

dunk the best you're probably saying to

yourself I get it of course dunks are

[ __ ] awesome

but who dunked first why won't anyone

tell me who dunked first you're welcome

the evolution of the dunk has many

beginnings the most recent being in July

of 2002 when Lisa Leslie became the

first player to dunk in the WNBA at 6'5

Leslie was more than five inches taller

than her average WNBA counterpart what

makes it so momentous is that it never

happened again ever that's not true but

it would be three years before there's

another WNBA dunk courtesy of you

guessed it Lisa Leslie the first person

to dunk in any type of situation was

Jack Inglis in 1910 but he dunked in

probably the least impressive way

possible back then basketball barely

resembled today's game courts were in a

cage backboards were rare and there was

no out of bounds so Jack climbed up the

cage alongside the basket and when his

teammate passed him the ball he simply

dropped it in no flash no excitement and

the only air he got was the light wind

that licked the inside of his highly

exposed thighs

satisfied me neither the first dunk

needs a big crowd and an even bigger

stage the man who most credit with the

first dunk in an organized game is Joe

Fortenberry this pastie sack of limbs

was born in happy Texas where arms and

legs give birth to basketball players

who play in converse bowling shoes he

took his unique layup as people called

it from a YMCA in New York City to the

Berlin Olympics

Fortenberry Center for the US basketball

team in 1936 started garnering attention

during the trial games leading up to the

Olympics so much so that the New York

Times sent reporter Arthur Daley to

cover a game being played on the west

side of New York City it was here that

Daley witnessed Fortenberry 's warm-up

layups which he described as like a

cafeteria customer dunking a roll in

coffee Daly's description was a major

influence and coining the term dunk

basketball would never be the same the

stage was set the u.s. was headed to

Germany with a secret weapon Joe King

Fortenberry basketball dunker the 1936

Berlin Olympics will always be

remembered for Jesse Owens defiant feat

of athletic mastery but following an

opening ceremonies that featured an

alarming amount of Nazis a Hindenburg

flyover and 25,000 frightened pigeons

all over the attendees basketball was

quietly making its first appearance as

an Olympic sport at this point

Fortin buries dunking ability was

already causing a stir japan was calling

for all players above the height of six

five to be banned from international

play and america was cruising to the

gold medal game the u.s. won their first

round match-up by forfeit their opponent

spain never showed up

they were busy with this spanish civil

war great excuse and the u.s. made easy

work of estonia the philippines and

mexico setting up a gold medal game

against our enemy to the north Canada

the final game was played outside in the

rain on a slippery clay tennis court

which sounds epic but those are horrific

basketball conditions the final score

was nineteen eight nineteen points to

eight points the u.s. wins the first

ever Olympic gold medal for basketball

and the medal is awarded by James

Naismith the inventor of basketball




there was no game defining moment when

Fortenberry lifted off and took down the

Third Reich with one gigantic slam but

part of his game involved jumping up and

dropping the ball in from above the rim

so history awarded him first dunker was

he actually the first it's not

completely clear but we do know that

Fortenberry dunked America to a gold

medal on Hitler's home turf before we

even knew what a dunk was