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If you are defending someone trying to dunk and you can barely reach the backboard when you jump is this impossible or can you do something to defend? Or should you throw in the towel and just give up?

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  • Unless your opponent is very athletic and strong, they are probably not going to be able to dunk it if they have to go through you to do so (unless you give up). Even if you are standing in the restrictive area, you can still "body up" onto a player attempting to dunk. Jul 26 '21 at 7:00
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There's always going to be someone bigger and more physical than you. Every player in the NBA can dunk, and they still get dunked on pretty much every game - the whole point of a dunk is that it's very hard to defend against once the player and ball are in position.

That doesn't mean you can't defend against it though - but rather than worrying about blocking the dunk itself, focus on stopping the player and ball getting into position in the first place. If you're getting dunked on from passes into the low post, work on preventing that pass. If you're getting dunked on from drives, work on keeping the ballhander at the perimeter and preventing them from driving towards the basket.

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I would elaborate on P. Kendall's answer and say that preventing a dunk when a person has an extreme physical advantage on you is all about doing your work early. All dunkers, whether 5'11" leapers or 7'2" giants have preferred flight plans towards the basket. The 5'11" guy, for all his hops, probably is not going to dunk off of a sharp change of direction. The 7'2" center does not want to dunk from far away, because he knows he'll get injured that way. The baseline dunker can be nudged slightly behind the backboard, but not if you are late on your adjustments.

Very few distance dunkers (think guards and forwards) will want to dunk through physical contact, again because of fear of injury, but also because it denies them the gather, the same way bumping a shot blocker keeps him grounded. This doesn't mean bumping them, necessarily; it can be a soft lean that prevents the gather. These guys are all fast as hell, though, so you cannot afford to give them a step or they'll blow by you. Meet them early coming up the floor and deny them their routes. Of course, Do Not Put Them In Danger! I know it's an unspoken rule, but it needs to be said every now and then.

Finally, of course, smile when you get dunked on anyway, because it's a beautiful part of the game, even if you're on the wrong end of it.

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