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YouTube Gold: When The Dunk Was Outlawed (And Why)

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time

Clarkson NCAA Archive
 LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 27: Lew Alcindor #33 of the UCLA Bruins looks for a pass against UCLA’s varsity team in the Freshman and Varsity team scrimmage on November 27, 1965 at Pauley Pavilion, in Los Angeles, CA. The freshman defeated the varsity 75-60 with Alcindor scoring 51 points.
Photo by Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

It would probably amaze a lot of people to know that the dunk was outlawed for some time in NCAA basketball. Basketball without the dunk? Seems impossible.

The ban started in 1967 and was lifted in 1976. And why was it banned?

One player: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, simply couldn’t be stopped around the basket.

In his later years in the NBA, Kareem still had a very reliable weapon in the skyhook, but a lot of people remember him, if they are old enough, for that and not too much else.

As a young player, as you’ll see here, he was incredibly lithe and bouncy. UCLA only lost a few games while he was enrolled and won the national championship all three years he was on the varsity team at UCLA (freshmen were not eligible then), losing only two games in three years - and he was injured in one of them.

So it was understandable that the NCAA tried to keep the sport competitive.

During that time though, among many, many others, we did not get to see Kareem, Julius Erving and David Thompson dunk. Thankfully, they gave up on that stupid idea.