10 Landmark Firsts in the History of Basketball

Even though the 7-foot tall Bob Kurland never played professionally, he was one of the first players to regularly dunk in games and is credited with being the first player to ever dunk a basketball. This was in the 1940s, roughly 30 years before the first dunk contest, when dunks were considered nothing more than high-percentage shots and did not excite the spectators like they do today.

Kurland is considered one of the first true big men, famous for his defensive goaltending and the reason why the NCAA made it a violation. Playing at Oklahoma State, he was the biggest rival of DePaul’s George Mikan, an NBA Hall of Famer credited with revolutionizing the big man game.