While all of the greatest sports movies and television shows may highlight slam dunks, many who watch and play the game on a collegiate level are against dunking. For years, from the 1930s to the 1980s, people talked of banning slam dunks or raising the rim to make it impossible—or at least more difficult—to dunk. While basketball players had an average height of 5 feet, 10 inches in 1940, the average height grew when teams realized that they could simply acquire tall players to stand near the hoop and either get the rebounds or dunk the basketball. These players were referred to as “goal tenders,” and players were making upwards of a dozen blocks per game. The goaltending rule was finally put into effect in 1944. Four rules were changed in the NCAA, including the banning of goaltending and the banning of passing over the backboard.
Wilt Chamberlain entered the game in 1956 and stirred up talks of changes for rim height. Baskets had become so easy for players of his height that fans were starting to lose interest in the game. Dunking was officially banned in the NCAA in 1967, as a star player from UCLA, Lew Alcindor—now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—dominated every game with his height. With standard basketball rim height sitting at ten feet, coaches also tried to have the rim raised to twelve feet, and some even suggesting it be raised to fourteen feet. The dunking ban was ultimately lifted in 1976, but the controversy has remained. A magazine in the early 1980s compared slam dunking to how gorillas in a zoo would play basketball, and coaches still regularly call for the moving up of the rim.