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FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

World’s best dunker Jordan Kilganon on performing jaw-dropping dunks in front of NBA and Hong Kong stars

The Canadian’s signature ‘Scorpion’ dunk blew away local basketball fans during Dunk Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 10:52pm

Whether it’s in front of Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton or a kid from Hong Kong, the world’s best dunker will always leave you at a loss for words, hands on head and looking around to see if everyone else had witnessed the same thing.

“It’s still really amazing – a lot of people have already seen my videos but seeing dunks in person is different,” said professional dunker Jordan Kilganon, whose unmistakable neon-blue dreadlocks were on show last week for Dunk Kong, Hong Kong’s first slam dunk showcase featuring four-time NBA All-Star Shawn Marion and a host of local and Chinese players.

The 26-year-old Canadian rose to peak fame at the NBA All-Star Weekend two years ago where his signature dunk – The Scorpion – left the likes of basketball superstars Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas in a state of bewilderment.

Similar to the desert arachnid’s sting, Kilganon whips his arm behind his back and pierces the ball into the basket, all whilst jumping over someone else and not once looking at the rim. Wade gave him added props at the All-Star Weekend for performing the dunk in jeans.

The unique dunk is just one of about 130 new dunks he has created in his near decade-long career.

“I love the creative process,” said Kilganon, who majored in product design at university. “To me it gets easier and easier because creativity is a skill – it’s something you can work on – and I don’t feel any pressure from others to create dunks, only myself.

“To be able to transfer [my studies] over to dunking and do things nobody has ever done before is great.”

The wiry 1.85-metre Canadian is neither particularly tall nor athletic compared to the average basketball player but has a vertical leap of 50 inches – half a foot higher than any currently active NBA jumper. Kilganon explains how he achieved such jaw-dropping heights and why dunking in a competition is totally different to dunking in basketball.

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“I’ve always been an athlete but it’s not quite genetics,” said Kilganon, a jack of all trades in high school. “When I found out about dunking [at age 15], I started on seven to eight foot hoops. I would dunk every three to four hours every single day until I couldn’t walk.

“I had some tough choices to make when it came to dunking and I made the leap ... living your life saying ‘what if’ is the worst thing ever.

“I love basketball but I would rather win or lose because it’s my fault. I’ve played on a basketball team where we lost a lot and obviously I could have [played] better, so I like for it to be on me when I win and lose,” Kilganon added.

He may be flying high right now as he travels around the world to showcase his talents, but Kilganon has had his fair share of losses, namely on popular American television dunk show Dunk King.

Kilganon finished third in the competition after narrowly failing to execute what appeared to be a double scorpion dunk in front of the celebrity NBA panel.

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“It was definitely the most depressed I’ve been in my life,” he recalled. “I was [lying] on the ground while everybody was waiting, and I remember Chuck [Charles Barkley] tapped me on the shoulder and helped me up – that was cool.”

Kilganon insists he is still the world’s top dunker and his near-one million social media followers would most likely agree. Having visited Hong Kong for the first time – and the Far East on plenty of occasions – he looks forward to spreading the joys of dunking as he reaches his career peak.

“Hong Kong is pretty cool, definitely a lot busier than I thought,” he said. “I really love coming out to the other side of the world, because the first time I got here and saw people’s reactions, they clearly hadn’t seen anyone dunk like that before.”