Feb 19, 2011 the moment we have all been waiting for, Blake Griffin headlines the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. This Los Angeles Clippers rookie along with DeMar DeRozan, JaVale McGee and Serge Ibaka will be putting on a dunking show during the NBA All-Star weekend. Won the previous two years by the 5′ 9″ guard Nate Robinson, Blake Griffin is heavily favored to pull off the victory in this year’s competition.
Teamed up with coach Kenny Smith, this 6′ 10″ 251 lb Los Angeles Clippers forward already has rookie of the year locked up. He also set the franchise record for consecutive double-doubles at 23, scored a 47 points in a game (the highest of any player in the 2010-11 season) booked and seems to create dunk highlights every time he touches the basketball. On top of that, he has started a fundraiser called Dunking for Dollars. He donates $100 to fight child obesity every time he makes a dunk.
Coach Darryl Dawkins will be working with this 6′ 7″ 220 lb Toronto Raptors guard/forward, who is taking Brandon Jennings’ spot due to a foot injury. DeRozan is in his second year in the NBA, but has been dunking since the 6th grade. With a second place finish (losing 51% to 49%) in last year’s Slam Dunk Competition, DeRozan will not make a win easy for Griffin.
With Chris Webber as his mentor, this 7′ 0″ 252 lb Washington Wizards center is the big man in the contest. Also in his second year in the NBA, McGee is one of the league’s best shot blockers. With a posted draft combine vertical jump of 32.5″, McGee should theoretically be able to dunk on a 12′ rim. Judging from the video below of his practice, McGee is going to use this explosive power to please the crowd with some creative, high energy dunks.
Teammate Kevin Durant is playing the role of coach for Ibaka, the 6′ 10″ 235 lb Oklahoma City Thunder forward. From the Republic of Congo, Ibaka is another young NBA shot blocking expert. It has been reported, Ibaka’s vertical was too high to measure with the device used at the Adidas Nations in New Orleans, which means at least 42″. With a vertical like that, Ibaka is sure to throw down some monster dunks.
This year’s Slam Dunk Contest has the makings of a great one. Blake Griffin alone makes it worth watching, but with DeRozan’s skills, McGee’s power, and Ibaka’s hops, this is a must watch even. Check back after the contest for a recap and of course, video highlights.