I Feel a Little Bad About How Much I Love Watching NBA Players Dunking on Children

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24:  James Harden signs autographs at 'Imma Be a Star' Block Party at Audubon Middle School on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for adidas)
James Harden: Better than children at basketball.
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

You’d be excused for thinking a summer without Olympic basketball or the FIBA World Cup would mean a dearth of hoops highlights. This thankfully hasn’t been the case, as the nation’s children have heroically stepped up to get dunked on and crossed over by the NBA’s biggest stars. Please enjoy the eight clips below, which are presented in order from least to most humiliating. Extra points are awarded for cruelty and whether the NBA players appear offended by their child opponents’ attempts on defense.

 Honorable Mention: Joel Embiid sends a man to live with his auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.

While the Sixers center succeeded in making a bunch of full-grown adults look like children at a Philadelphia pick-up game, this list exists to recognize the NBA players brave enough to make children look like even smaller children. To earn a spot in the official rankings, Embiid needs to dunk on someone at least two feet shorter than the hapless rec-leaguers seen here.

7. James Harden Euro-steps through two children.

Depending who you ask, the reigning MVP is either one of the most scintillating offensive talents the league has ever seen or a plodding ball hog who flails wildly the moment someone touches his forearm. Either way, he is effective and unique, and attendees at his July basketball camp in Houston got to enjoy the Harden experience first hand.

Here, the Rockets star slaloms through two kids and tries to draw the foul by raking his arms through the contact but, because this is a camp rather than an NBA game, nothing is called. Highlight truthers will note that the children appear to give Harden a pretty clear lane. Were they placed in such a disadvantageous position? Perhaps. Judging by this promotional video, the camp provides plenty of opportunities for Harden’s young fans to make the man feel better about himself.

6. Trae Young’s grudge match against Chris Paul Jr.

Atlanta Hawks fans hope the No. 5 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft will be the next Steph Curry. The sharpshooting point guard is still a project, though, and he’s preparing to do battle against elite NBA points guards by taking on their children.

Here, Young gives us reasons to be both excited and worried about the career to come. While his long-range jumper is money, he does pick up his pivot foot and carry the ball before his release. He also allows the 9-year-old son of Rockets All-Star Chris Paul to score on him, which doesn’t bode well for Young’s chances against competitors who are old enough to cross the street by themselves.

5. Trae Young confuses an innocent camper.

Young does a little better at his own basketball camp, at the University of Oklahoma, when he picks on a child his own size. He demonstrates the fundamentals of humiliation and sends the young man scampering by flipping the ball up and behind his head. Young gets bonus points for getting the only hype man in Oklahoma to narrate his achievements.

4. Mo Bamba meets an adorable little boy and sends his weak stuff straight to basketball hell.

Go up harder than that, kid!

3. Victor Oladipo proves once and for all that he is more talented than a child.

The degree of difficulty on this Oladipo dunk is rather high, though credit has to go to the camper, who tries so hard and looks pretty frustrated after the Indiana Pacers guard throws it down. You almost had him!

2. Jayson Tatum is needlessly cruel, part one.

Tatum is one of the most exciting talents in the NBA and, at 19 years old, the Celtics star is practically a child himself. At least that’s what the Department of Children and Family Services should be aware of if they decide to take action against Tatum for the above crossover and stare-down against a helpless young man.

1. Jayson Tatum is needlessly cruel, part two.

Despite the child’s perfect defensive stance and low center of gravity (he is approximately 3 feet tall), Tatum manages to put the little defender on skates at least three times before dunking him into the ground.

Don’t feel bad for this kid, as the play creates an interesting logical proof:

Jayson Tatum dunked on LeBron James in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James joined the Lakers.
Jayson Tatum dunked on this poor, helpless child.
Therefore, this poor, helpless child will join the Lakers.

A lineup of LeBron, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and this tiny kid could be the Warriors’ worst nightmare. Let’s get the season started already.