Jim Bakker’s career with the Harlem Globetrotters is a short, dark chapter in the fancy book of prominent Christians who have dipped their crisp toes into the warm waters of “America’s Prime Basket-Based Pastime.”
Although Bakker’s stint with the Harlem Bouncy Ball Bouncers was filled with controversy and lasted a mere 2 weeks, it was filled with jaw-dropping, pants-wrinkling, eye-popping dunks that are celebrated to this day. Here’s a list of Bakker’s top-ten dunks before he was kicked off the team for insisting on letting a wild badger loose inside the locker room prior to every game:
10. The 360 Fancy Plumber
The “Fancy Plumber” is one of the Globetrotter’s signature dunks. Players pull out a moist plunger from beneath their shirts, which they later use to plunge the ball down the “rim toilet.” The 360 was the icing on the cake.
9. The Triple Simba
This dunk is what inspired the famous scene where an old monkey holds up kitten in the Disney classic, The Lion King. In this vintage dunk, Bakker held the ball with both hands up in the air like a feline baby three times before slamming it down with the vigor of a much younger monkey-man.
8. The Upside-Down Grandma
You’re likely familiar with the “granny shot.” The “Upside-Down Grandma” is similar, except the dunker must jump above the rim, rotate himself so that he is upside down, then slam the ball into the Orange Ring of Fame like an angry, upside-down granny shot. Bakker is regarded as first baller to pull this beauty off.
7. The Double Scooter
For this family-friendly dunk, two of Bakker’s Globetrotting teammates rode scooters around on the basketball court yelling insults to the opposing players. This distraction allowed Bakker to climb up a ladder and quickly throw an orange sphere down the hole, to the crowd’s delight.
6. The Dutch Submarine
One of Bakker’s signature dunks was the “Dutch Submarine,” where Bakker would jump through the top of the basketball hoop head first as he clutched the ball between his knees. There is no way to defend against this bad boy.
5. The 3 Point Dunk
Bakker is the only man to ever complete a three-point dunk. The Globetrotters were down by two points late in the fourth quarter. Bakker was supposed to inbound the ball from beneath his own basket. Instead he simply held the ball and charged down the court with a look of fury on his face. He inexplicably jumped from behind the three-point line. Several of Bakker’s teammates were able to hold him in the air like a ballerina before he dunked the ball. Unfortunately the play didn’t count and Globetrotters lost, but the crowd was pleased nonetheless.
The famous choir anthem, Go get ’em Bakker, you slick ol’ Quaker was born.
4. Fire Ball Windmill Slam
Who can forget the time Bakker doused the bounce ball in gasoline, lit it with one of the four smoking cigarettes he held in his mouth during games, and then windmill dunked it with a pair of oven mitts?
3. “Halloween Time, suckas!”
This child favorite involved Bakker showering the opposing team and crowd with hundreds of lollypops kept in his trousers whilst he performed a backwards ball-dunking, all while he screamed “Halloween time, suckas!” Ironically, this dunk was performed in early May.
2. Through Four Legs
This impossible dunk occurred when Bakker and a teammate jumped in the air together. Bakker put the ball through his own legs, followed by his teammates legs before forcefully pushing it through the Cylinder of Point Scoring for two.
1. The “Dive Right In!”
Bakker’s most memorable dunk involved a large, inflatable swimming pool which the coaching staff wheeled beneath the hoop mid-game. One of Bakker’s teammates acted as an improvised diving board as Bakker propelled himself up in the air, gracefully performed a 360 tomahawk jam, then cannon-balled into the pool. Each fan in the splash zone received a complimentary Bakker headband.