If you look back at the history of dunking, there are a few points where things changed. Wilt Chamberlain could dunk from the foul line so foul line dunks were outlawed.
Chamberlain and Bill Russell could dunk but rarely did so with more power than was needed.
Connie Hawkins was one of the first guys who brought people out of their seats with dunks and later ABA stars Julius Erving and David Thompson started to electrify fans with insanely athletic dunks that had some pop behind them - especially Erving, who felt unleashed when he was able to start dunking in the ABA.
But it wasn’t until Erving’s Philadelphia 76er teammate, Daryl Dawkins, started destroying backboards in the ‘70s NBA that things took their next change.
Dawkins put enormous stress on backboards and his habit of destroying them on powerful dunks forced equipment makers to adapt and the breakaway rim came into being.
But it wasn’t perfect. Rims and backboards are still destroyed periodically and once, Shaquille O’ Neal wrecked the hydraulics of a stanchion.
But really, Dawkins was the exuberant power dunker who made people realize the game had changed and so the equipment had to as well.