A “tomahawk” dunk is when the ball is held with both hands above or behind a player’s head, and then sent “chopping” like a tomahawk through the basket. The “tomahawk” dunk has been cited in print since at least 1972, when it described a dunk by Julius Erving.
Wikipedia: Slam dunk
A Slam dunk is a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air and manually powers the ball downward through the basket with one or both hands over the rim. This is considered a normal field goal attempt; if successful it is worth two points. The term “slam dunk” was coined by Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn. Prior to that, it was known as a dunk shot.
When performed, much of the audience was speechless, including the judges, because none had seen these types of dunks before (although, Carter’s 360 windmill dunk is closely reminiscent of Kenny Walker’s winning “Tomahawk” dunk in 1989 except that he was going against the grain which requires more hops).
December 11, 1972
The Net-ripping, Backboard-shaking, Mind-blowing Dr. J.
Like many of the most flamboyant black stars, Erving is a legend on his home turf in Roosevelt, N.Y., a largely black Long Island suburb. THIS IS WHERE JULIUS ERVING LEARNED THE GAME OF BASKETBALL reads the neatly painted sign at Roosevelt Park. It was there and at Centennial Park and at other playgrounds in nearby Hempstead that Erving developed his many dunks. They range from a simple hop directly under the basket that results in the ball being casually flipped through the hoop like a wad of paper dropped into a trash can, to all manner of reverse slams; change of hands, twisting spectaculars; rim-assisted reverses; high tomahawks; and—whoosh!—the ultimate foul line takeoff job.
27 February 1975, Lowell (MA) Sun, “Celts go on rampage” by Frank Sharkey, pg. 19, col. 3:
When the regulars weren’t plowing past the helpless Knicks it was Paul Westphal with his famous “Tomahawk dunk” wilh 14 points and five assisfs, Glenn McDonald netting six on some pretty twisting layups and seven for Kevin Stacom.
27 November 1977, New York (NY) Times, “Albert King Is Finding A Tough, New World” by Tony Kornheiser, Sports, pg. 189:
One minute later, King made his most spectacular move—the game’s two-handed tomahawk dunk, not coming off a dribble, in heavy traffic.
March 06, 1978
Iceman Cometh And Scoreth
San Antonio’s Spurs are burning up the NBA Central and the main reason is ultra-cool Guard George Gervin
Being a contemporary and onetime teammate of Dr. J as well as having similar abilities (Gervin lacks only Erving’s strength), the Iceman has suffered the inevitable comparisons. There was the famous ABA dunk contest that Erving won while Gervin was missing three of five slammers, including his unique “afterthought dunk” wherein Ice glides by the rim one way while reaching back and—boinnnnng—tomahawking the ball the other.
Define a tomahawk dunk?
4 years ago
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Tomahawk dunks are when the ball is raised above the player’s head with usually two hands and then brought behind the players head before being dunked in a chopping motion.
Improving Basketball Skills : How to Tomahawk Dunk a Basketball
Uploaded by expertvillage on Oct 16, 2008
To tomahawk dunk a basketball, bring the ball behind the head and slam the dunk into the basket with authority to avoid a foul. Find out how to start a tomahawk dunk in basketball with this free video from a semiprofessional basketball player.