The NBA Slam Dunk contest continued its consistency at disappointing fans last night (February 15) in New Orleans. Nevertheless, John Wall came through as the champion and there were a handful of great jams amidst the general struggle.
Reports the Associated Press:
Wall’s sensational slam finished off a clean sweep for the Washington star, Paul George and Terrence Ross in the contest’s new battle format, helping the Eastern Conference earn a 2-2 tie against the West on All-Star Saturday night.
Answering Sacramento rookie Ben McLemore’s dunk in which he leaped over Shaquille O’Neal seated in a king’s throne, Wall took the ball from Wizards mascot G-Man, who held it above his head, then brought it down between his legs and slammed down a reverse dunk.
Judges Dominique Wilkins, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving all gave the victory to Wall in his matchup, after previously picking George over Harrison Barnes, and defending champion Ross over Damian Lillard.
This year’s contest featured a new format that was supposed to make it more exciting, but that didn’t happen.
There were only two rounds, the first of which was a freestyle round where the two 3-man teams (East vs. West) basically did warm up dunks. Team East (John Wall, Terrence Ross, and Paul George) defeated Team West (Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, and Ben McLemore) but some amazing dunks, especially one from McLemore, got lost in the sauce.
The second and final round featured two players matching off one dunk at a time. That was it. No final showdown, just knock out your dunk, fans vote and pick a winner. Even Drake being used as a prop by Terrence Ross or Ben McClemore jumping over a seated Shaquille O’Neal couldn’t save this show. It was anticlimactic, to say the least.
As for the rest of All-Star Saturday Night, San Antonio Spurs’ Marco Belinelli won the 3-point contest, the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and the WNBA’s Swin Cash won the Shooting Stars and Lillard and the Utah Jazz’s Trey Burke won the Skills Challenge.
Check out Wall’s winning dunk below and best slams of the night on the following pages.