As all basketball players know, dunking is an incredible feat to see properly executed that can bring a lot of excitement to a game.
In the NBA, it’s evolved beyond the casual highlight reels to full-on slam dunk contests where the best participate for two rounds of pure glory.
What you might not be too familiar with is that dunking has actually garnered a large enough following to become a full-on profession, with the likes of professional dunkers coming onto the scene sporting at times slams more impressive than those done by NBA players.
One such professional dunker that rose from humble beginnings and jumped onto the spotlight is Jordan Kilganon, who some will fondly remember as the guy who “dunked in jeans” in the NBA All-star game back in 2016.
Although this event could be considered his big break, Kilganon had already established himself on YouTube where he would routinely deliver the same level of amazement and shock from his own videos, sporting innovative dunks that would drive sports fans crazy.
Therein lies the process by which Jordan Kilganon managed to not only become a venerable figure in the dunking scene but also get the attention of millions of people while doing so.
Jordan Kilganon’s Rise to Fame
Looking at Jordan Kilganon’s 2016 debut in the NBA All-star Weekend in Toronto, the whole thing went by in a flash.
During a timeout in the 4th quarter of the game, while the Phoenix Suns Sol Patrol was performing a set of slams using a trampoline, an average looking guy wearing a red jersey and jeans came out onto the court.
The real tell that something was up was when Kilganon asked the administration to remove both the trampoline and landing mats.
He basically popped off with a double-clutch dunk before taking off his jersey and getting to the real show stopper, the “Scorpion” dunk, which is one of over 120 signature dunks that he’s invented.
Here’s the clip:
Even some of the NBA’s more seasoned veterans like Isaiah, DeRozan, and Wade, were left baffled at what they had witnessed.
Kilganon was already by this point well known online, but this event is what really made him go viral.
Who Is Jordan Kilganon?
At the height of 6’1″, Jordan Kilganon is a professional dunker from Ontario, Canada, who has participated and won in several elite dunking competitions.
With nicknames like “Mission Impossible” and “The Dude Who Dunked in Jeans”, they’re a clear indication that he performs some of the most mind-boggling dunks ever seen, often while sporting a set of jeans.
The clip we saw from before was just a preview; he’s appeared on the scene at multiple events, from The Dunk King to the Dunk League and more, bringing the same amount of excitement and creativity to each one.
He’s also a member of “Dunk Elite”, a team that includes some of the world’s best dunkers, which has given him the liberty to travel between countries and compete at various dunk contests from around the globe.
As a professional dunker, Kilganon is constantly innovating new ways of approaching the sport, whether it be scheming a new move from home or making one up on the spot.
Something that he casually mentioned in an interview was that he tries to do at least one new dunk per show, which helps explain how the number of dunks he’s discovered has managed to hit triple digits.
He actually credits his dunks to other people that he’s researched and drawn inspiration from, particularly when it comes to developing a new technique.
Kilganon’s goal so far is to become the best dunker in the world, and that certainly seems like a possibility given the guy’s execution and athleticism.
Jordan Kilganon’s Vertical Jump
Officially, Jordan Kilganon’s vertical jump is 49.5 inches (126 cm). This was verified on a post he released back on June 25th of 2019.
To put that into perspective, the average jump height for NBA players is 28″ (71 cm), putting him an entire foot and a half higher when it comes to his vertical. Yeah, that’s a lot.
He also has two recordings of his box jump, the greater of the two showing him clear 75-inches, which would technically make him the world record holder for the highest box jump (although this has yet to be acknowledged as an official record by the likes of Guinness World Records.)
That’s impressive, even amongst pro athletes.
How Does Jordan Kilganon Jump So High?
I bet you’re wondering how this guy managed to get such a high vertical.
While it’s true that genetics can have a role in determining factors like athleticism, no one is born jumping 50 feet in the air, and for Kilganon that was hardly the case.
As a teenager, he was actually a pretty good athlete, dabbling in a couple of different sports like track, volleyball, and baseball, and winning MVP in all of them.
He even played as a point guard, but the one thing that’s stayed with him throughout the years has been his obsession with dunking, which apparently started from as little as three years old.
In high school, he went so far as to have daily dunking sessions that would average 3 to 4 hours, as he slowly progressed from practicing on 8 & 9-foot rims to a full 10-foot rim by the age of 16.
By the way, these numbers are just averages, he’s stated that there were days where he’d spend as little as 30 minutes to as much as 9 hours practicing.
Only about 10 years later would he add workout sessions to his training regimen in the form of weight training, but even then, he was still getting in those reps at the court.
Although this tactic may appear absurd, it’s actually quite common when you look at most high-performing athletes.
Winners of their respective fields are often differentiated from the competition in the frequency of their training, exceeding expectations even at the Olympic level.
So while overtraining is still a problem well-worth avoiding, this seems to be a reoccurring trend that no doubt has the potential to deliver amazing gains.
Though you could also rationalize that because of the varied movements involved in dunking, which don’t always make use of the same muscles to the same degree, the chances of overtraining could be slimmed down.
What seems to have worked well for Kilganon in achieving both an explosive leap and an impressive level of athleticism was the frequency of his dunk training, which in this case was extremely specific for his sport.
Not only was he improving on his form, but his body was being tailored for the act of jumping high and maneuvering through space.
No wonder he has such a high reach; he’s literally built for that purpose.
Jordan Kilganon’s Training
His training seems to be a mix of weight training and dunking, with the two complementing each other.
He’s commented on working out and lifting weights, saying that it helped him see further progress in his vertical as he may have plateaued a bit from only dunking.
Looking at it broadly, weights offer the benefit of developing strength, which when paired with dunking could further maximize your leap while keeping you in peak performance.
It’s also a nice change in routine that removes monotony and adds variety, engaging the body through new motions and forcing it to adapt.
This approach shares similarities with the principles found in most vertical training programs which involved using both weight training and jump-specific movements, better known as plyometrics.
For anyone aspiring for a bigger leap or the ability to dunk, it might come as a shock to see someone become a high-flying dunker despite no obvious genetic advantage.
Although he’s gone beyond what most average people are capable of achieving, it’s still possible for you to improve your vertical by an impressive amount.
Jordan Kilganon’s advice is to start off dunking 1 to 2 hours a day 3 times a week, and slowly make your way up to those 3 to 4 hours a day almost every day.
If you can’t dunk on a regular-sized hoop, then practice on a lower one; the point is to get in reps and condition your body, with the added benefit of bettering your coordination and perfecting your dunking technique.
Of course, if you’re looking for a more detailed strategy to increasing your jump that goes beyond frequent dunking sessions, Kilganon also has a vertical jump program called Bounce Kit where he shows his workout regimen in full.
What Is Bounce Kit?
Bounce Kit is a vertical jump training program created by Jordan Kilganon.
It covers the entire process that Jordan used himself to go from barely dunking to becoming one of the best dunkers of all time with a prowess for the sport that’s practically unmatched.
The program itself is divided into three phases, each of which is 1 month long.
The idea is to slowly transition from weight training to plyometrics so that you improve on your strength, speed, and explosiveness, thereby maximizing your vertical to its maximum potential.
The program holds many positives, such as its weight training portion which works well for establishing a solid foundation of strength and priming your body for the plyometric portion.
The presentation of the program is also well-executed, with a helpful video library and a clean dashboard that’s easy to navigate.
At the same time, there are a handful of areas where the program doesn’t do as great of a job, especially when pinned against some of the current leading vertical jump programs.
It mainly suffers from poor program structure with much getting left out and little to no supporting evidence to back up its approach.
It’s also not beginner-friendly as it lacks a buffer phase to prepare you for lifting weights and doing the measurements of your one-rep max can be both confusing and a hassle.
Should You Get Bounce Kit?
Even though it has its flaws, the program is probably the closest you’ll get to training like Jordan Kilganon, and it could even net you some decent results.
With that said, there are definitely other vertical training programs that are more credible and do a better job at the same price or even less, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do a little research before making a choice.
Does Jordan Kilganon Play Basketball?
Considering Jordan Kilganon dunks for a living and has an insane vertical jump, you’d think that he also plays some basketball on the side, but he actually doesn’t.
To be fair, although he could have had the potential to do really well in the NBA, he doesn’t really seem to care much for the sport, and I can’t imagine him getting thrilled over having less time to practice dunking.
He also added a pretty interesting comment in an interview, mentioning that the cardio involved in basketball training is a killer when it comes to maintaining an impressive leap since it reduces one’s explosiveness.
That’s already two drawbacks, but the real question is: how likely is Jordan Kilganon to even get accepted into the NBA?
He’s talented for sure, but not one of the top 500 basketball players in the world, and at the height of 6’1″, he’s not really making any strides as far as his resume goes.
Instead, he’s decided to simply follow his passion for dunking by devoting all of his time and energy to it, and so far, it seems to be paying off.