LEHI, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Lehi is jamming this week.
Some of the best slam dunkers you will ever see are at The Dunk Camp this week, teaching aspiring jammers the best way to throw it down.
Jordan Kilganon is maybe the best professional dunker in the world, and he loves coming to Lehi every year.
“Every single time here, it’s the best week of my life,” said Kilganan, who has a 49.5 inch vertical leap and 1.4 million followers on Instagram. “It’s like a bunch of dunk nerds in one place, and it’s like my favorite thing in the world. I quit basketball just so I could do dunking. It’s so fun to me, especially the creativity aspect, make up new dunks.”
Utah’s Andy Nicholson founded The Dunk Camp five years ago after he started dunking consistently at the age of 43.
“I thought, you know what? I’ve been to basketball camp,” he said. “I love going to basketball camp. But there’s no dunk camp. There should be a dunk camp. There’s nothing like it. You can feel the energy in the gym.”
Nicholson was able to get some of the top dunkers in the world to come to Lehi through social media.
“People thought it was pretty cool that an old guy was throwing down,” he said. “Through social media I got to be friends with all these pro dunkers.”
Guys like Jordan Southerland, who was the stunt double for Dr. J in the HBO show “Winning Time”. He’s traveled all over the globe showing off his world class hops.
“I’ve gone to over 20 countries at this point,” Southerland said. “I’m almost on my second passport and never paid for an overseas flight. It’s taken me around the world. I literally have to go to Italy right after dunk camp. Straight from Utah to Italy.”
While players in the NBA are obviously more talented at the game of basketball, Nicholson says when it comes to strictly dunking, these high-flying pros can compete with them.
“NBA players don’t work on this as much,” Nicholson said. “So to be fair, their focus is on basketball. But yeah, these guys I would say would easily win an NBA dunk contest just because of the things they can do. It’s just unbelievable.”
The best part for the professionals is to teach the kids dunking skills.
“It’s so satisfying to the soul because I grew up my whole life doing it by myself,” Kilganon said. “I figured out all these tricks on my own. Now, I can finally teach it. I can finally share with other people.”
“That’s what we do it for, to inspire them,” Southerland added. “They can come meet us, and we can help them train so we can create that next generation.”
“We had three guys get the first dunk of their life this morning on ten feet,” Nicholson said.
So what does it take to become a great dunker?
“What makes a great dunker is three main aspects for me,” Southerland said. “Power, style and jumping ability. If you can jump really high, if you can do stylish dunks, and you dunk it really hard, that will classify you as a great dunker.”
You can see these great dunkers in action Thursday night at American Fork High School at 7:00 p.m.