Kurt Russell, you know him, you love him, you either want to be him or want him to be your dad. But more importantly can he, and most specifically, can the characters he plays dunk? Russell’s career has spanned more than 50 years and he’s played everything from a teenage computer to some of the most famous people in American history to an entire fucking planet. My guy’s got range, but how high can that range jump? The easy answer to my question would be no, Kurt Russell definitely can’t dunk. Listed at somewhere around 5’11” which gives an average standing reach of about 7’4″ he would need a vertical of 32 inches just to touch the rim. Given that most people need to jump about six inches over the rim to actually dunk the basketball, our guy Kurt would need a vertical of no less than 38 inches in order to dunk, which means he would need the athletic ability of a young six-foot NBA superstar Chris Paul. Lets take a look at some of his most iconic roles and ask the question everyone wants to know the answer to: which Kurt Russell characters can dunk?
A couple of mitigating factors here in determining if Kurt Russell Elvis can dunk. First, Elvis was about the same height as Russell, somewhere around 5’11” to six-feet. Young Elvis was an athlete and played football while growing up. Lastly the TV movie Elvis doesn’t depict the last several years of Elvis’ life, the fat Elvis years. That being said, there’s no fucking way Kurt Russell Elvis could dunk wearing those cooky outfits while loading up on peanut butter and banana sandwiches, dues gonna puke at the rim and the ball will slip harmlessly out of his hands.
Can Elvis Dunk: No
Snake Plissken, Escape From New York and Escape from LA
We already know that Snake Plissken is the greatest basketball player on the face of the Earth.
He’s got the clutch gene, saving the world and shit, and there’s no doubt in my mind that when the guards go home and he’s just messing around without the weight of the world on his broad shoulders, he could absolutely throws down a wicked tomahawk 360 in the Duke of New York’s face.
Can Snake Plissken dunk: Hell yea
MacReady, The Thing
No chance in hell MacReady is even attempting a dunk when it’s -60 degrees in Antartica and he’s drunk as hell.
Can MacReady Dunk: No, too cold
Jack Burton, Big Trouble in Little China
Jack Burton definitely thinks he can dunk among other things. Supreme confidence goes a long way in actually making it happen. Jack Burton is a master at manifestation. Watch the movie and you’ll see a man with raw athleticism, who is jumping around beating the shit out of 1,000 year old Chinese thunder gods. It’s all in the reflexes. Plus old Jack Burton takes some magic potion to make him invincible, my guy can really shake the pillars of hell, or the backboard on a giant alley-oop.
Can Jack Burton Dunk: Yes sir, the check is in the mail
Lt. Cash, Tango & Cash
Lt. Cash is far more interested in other things than getting in the gym every day to get those legs in dunking shape.
Can Cash Dunk: No
The McCaffreys, Backdraft
Both dead papa and angry brother McCaffrey that Russell confusingly plays were firefighters through and through. They def and daddy son firehouse squat circuit training every day and it would have made a great montage. These dudes kicked the strongest Baldwin’s ass in a win for “real” men everywhere. Somehow hauling hoses across Chicago seems to be the perfect workout in order to be able to dunk.
Can the McCaffreys Dunk: Duh, firefighters kick ass (except you Jack Robinson)
Captain Ron, Captain Ron
Captain Ron has absolutely no idea where he is at any given time and has never touched a basketball in his life. He’s going to fall off his boat before he ever dunks a basketball. Also the eye patch is going to throw off his depth perception.
Can Captain Ron dunk: No
Wyatt Earp, Tombstone
Wyatt Earp is a living legend in Tombstone. The people of the titular city were probably ready to rename it Earpstone, Wyatt Town? Earptopia? whatever a la Tompa Bay after Brady arrived in your grandparents retirement community last year. Earp Dunks all over fat Billy Bob Thorton early in the movie, but to actually dunk a basketball, in the Wild West? With Those hats and coats? Tough gig for the Earp boys. When he gets stuffed by the rim on the first attempt he’s absolutely yelling this at an inanimate object on a desert basketball court as a tumbleweed blows by.
He’s basically the Chris Paul of the Wild West but that Cliff Paul mustache is going to keep him from throwing down a sick jam 100/100 times.
Can Wyatt Earp Dunk: No, but everyone believes he can anyways
Doucebag army guy, Stargate
Like ’90s firefighters, ’90s army bros are notorious for being yoked. He’s definitely sitting in his barracks watching James Spader sleep while doing 5,000 squats in the middle of the night mumbling something like “science bitch” under his breath without breaking eye contact. If he grew up in the Youtube era, when they opened the Stargate, Russell would have his buddy hold up a tiny basketball hoop so Russell could simultaneously dunk on and through the Stargate, and Spader by proxy.
Can Army Russell dunk: Sir yes Sir
Herb Brooks, Miracle
Herb Brooks was a 5’10” hockey player from Minnesota who was born in 1937. While he doesn’t have enough talent to dunk on talent alone, I do know for a fact that he will stand under that rim and jump again and again and again until god dammit he dunks the ball, preferably against the Russians, while he calls himself a candy ass between each try.
Can Herb Brooks dunk: No, but in the most inspiring way possible
The Commander, Sky High
Yea no shit he’s the world’s most powerful superhero.
Can The Commander dunk: Yes, in the most boring Superman way
Stuntman Mike, Deathproof
He himself as a human male cannot dunk a basketball. But as an Evel Knievel stuntman he’s def driving his car off a huge jump at a basketball halftime show and dunking the ball out of the drivers window before crashing into the first 17 rows killing 300 people in the process.
Can Stuntman Mike dunk: No and we should never ask him to.
John Ruth, The Hateful Eight
Kind of a mix between MacReady and Wyatt Earp, John Ruth can’t dunk for a few reasons. One, nobody in history could dunk before 1900, that’s a fact, don’t bother looking it up. Two, the snow is too damn deep. Have you ever tried jumping in snow with all those layers on? Michael Jordan couldn’t jump over a phone book in a giant bearskin coat and moleskin boots. Lastly, he’s gotta hold onto Jennifer Jason Leigh, can’t try to one hand that shit if you’re holding hostages.
Can John Ruth dunk: No
Ego, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
As a full on planet technically he’s dunking when everyone else is, so yea he’s a god damn planet.
Can Ego dunk: Yes
Santa, The Christmas Chronicles 1&2
Couple of things: Santa is an old fat guy so right away you assume he can’t dunk. On the flip side, he’s a magic enthusiast who has flying reindeer and can get around the globe in a single night so perhaps getting to the rim isn’t the biggest task in the world. And Kurt Russell is a hot, seemingly cool Santa, Tim Allen getting fat and old he is not. With his magic there’s no question that Santa could be the starting power forward on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Can Santa dunk: Yes