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Oladipo dealt with trade rumors in his first three seasons in Orlando, had a unique learning experience alongside Russell Westbrook last season with the Thunder, and now has his mind on All-Star Weekend with the Pacers. He’s also starring in his return to Indiana, where he played collegiately for the Hoosiers. “Being able to play in the game, it’s going to be surreal,” Oladipo said. “Having my family and friends there for the entire weekend, it’s going to be a good time for me. I’ve watched it twice as a Rising Star, not going at all and viewing the whole weekend — it’s important to be there. It’s a weekend NBA players all look forward to, and to be part of it is an honor. Representing this team as an All-Star is important to me, and it will be a special weekend doing the dunk contest and my first All-Star Game.”
Scott Agness: Oladipo says he hasn’t started to think about or plan for the dunk contest, that his goal is to go in and have fun … but I think he’s downplaying it. He’ll shift his focus Wednesday night after their game in Brooklyn.
Tracy McGrady (guard/forward, Toronto Raptors): I just felt like I wasn't a creative dunker like that. I was like, "Why would I want to get into it knowing that [Vince is] gonna win?" I see his dunks every day and how creative he is. [1] Vince Carter: Until the last minute, I think after [practice one day] we were fooling around -- he was doing some stuff, throwing the ball off the wall, just all kinds of stuff -- and he finally was like, "All right, I'm gonna do it." It was tough. Even prior to [All-Star Saturday], maybe Thursday, he was like, "Man, I don't think I wanna do it." He was gonna back out!
Francis: That was my first dunk contest. [I'd been in ones] in the 'hoods and in the streets, yeah, but nothing professional. Every dunk that I did in the dunk contest in Oakland -- I practiced zero dunks. Zero. You can ask the coach, the GM, anybody. I didn't even practice any of them. Dave Haggith (manager of media relations, Toronto Raptors): That was the thing that amazed me the most. On the night of the dunk contest, I hadn't seen any of those dunks from either [Vince or Tracy] before.
Vince Carter: I didn't hear anything. The yell -- it was so loud, it was like I was in a box screaming with nobody else there. I just went numb for a second. ... That dunk I did in San Antonio. Barely made it. So that's why I scratched [it]. That dunk was a scratch. But then all of a sudden, I was like, "The hell with it. Let's go." As I took that first dribble, and if you watch it on the second dribble I smacked the ball real hard and that's when I felt like I powered up, you know, like Mario Bros. And I just felt like I gained two, three inches [when I jumped]. When I took off and turned around, the rim was right here [at eye level]. It took minutes for the crowd to calm down, long enough for Stackhouse and Davis to complete their first-round dunks in relative anonymity. "[Stackhouse] was just shaking his shoulders, like, 'Really?'" Miller says.
Vince Carter: They didn't quite tell us about the partner thing, so we didn't practice that at all. I didn't know. So I was like, "What the heck could I do?" I had saw in a magazine -- this is about the time the Strength Shoe was out -- and there was a picture of this guy in the air and he had his hands between his legs, jumping up in the air. So I said, "OK, I'm gonna try it." So I said to Tracy: "Just stand here and bounce it and get the hell out the way." He said, "What are you gonna do?" I said, "Just bounce it and back up. About this high."
Donovan Mitchell: Career night for the old man 🙏🏾🙏🏾 @Joeingles7 let’s keep it going !!!. Joe Ingles: only reason u in dunk competition is coz my passes make u look good.
Jared Weiss: Kemba Walker has replaced Kristaps Porzingis in the All-Star game and Andre Drummond will replace The Unicorn in the Skills Challenge.
The Australian Labor Party member goes on to say that he also can’t believe Joe Ingles was left out of the 3-point contest, and (jokingly?) says: “It makes me think there is some kind of anti-Australian conspiracy going on at the league head office at the moment. If you thought that Australia was angry about The Simpsons versus Australia TV episode, you ain’t seen nothing yet, Yanks.”
Mike Bresnahan: Lonzo Ball (knee) isn’t certain he’ll play in the Rising Stars game a week from Friday. “If my body won’t let me, then I can’t do it,” he said Wednesday. All-Star weekend will be at Staples Center.
Jim Eichenhofer: Utah's Quin Snyder pregame, asked what advice he's given Donovan Mitchell about #NBA dunk contest: "I could dunk at one point in my life. I can’t anymore, I don’t think. I wouldn’t try. So I don’t really have a lot of advice as far as what his creative repertoire entails."
Earl K. Sneed: Dennis Smith Jr. says Vince Carter told him to “go out and win it” before the dunk contest All-Star Weekend. Carter’s nod meant a lot to the rookie. Smith Jr. says he has a dunk he’s never done before that he’ll break out that night.
Josh Robbins: Aaron Gordon will not play tonight in Miami because of his strained hip flexor, and he also has withdrawn from the All-Star dunk contest, the team announced.
Fred Katz: Paul George says he will practice for the 3-Point contest this year, which he didn’t do last time. No strategy yet. But money ball rack is gonna be on the wings.
Harrison Wind: Michael Malone joked (but was completely serious) that Jamal Murray will be on a back to back for the Rising Stars game (Nuggets play Thursday night in Milwaukee). He said hopefully Jamal tells them not to play him a lot in the showcase.
Eric Woodyard: Donovan Mitchell wouldn't confirm the Skills Challenge. "I would love to do it," he said. "That would be amazing if I did it. Just being part of that weekend would be a huge honor and I heard that Lou (Williams) might be doing it to so going against him would be pretty cool."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell will participate in the Skills Challenge on All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, league sources tell ESPN.
Larry Nance Jr. on the dunk contest: "Yeah, I’d be interested in it. If the league asked me, if the league decided to extend an invitation, I would love to do it. It’s something that I’ve been saying for a long time now – that it’s something I would love to do – and I still stand by that."
Kyle Kuzma: Ditto

http://twitter.com/JoelEmbiid/status/956919664000622592
Jason Jones: Bogdan Bogdanovic said he was surprised to make the Rising Stars game. He'd hoped to make the roster, but was still surprised.
Josh Lewenberg: VanVleet on Rising Stars snub-"Obviously I got a lot of texts. Family & friends were pretty disappointed. But whatever. I'm not a guy that needs motivation. I dont put a lot of stock into that stuff. It would have been a nice accomplishment & a nod of respect but it didnt happen"
Earl K. Sneed: Rick Carlisle on @Dennis Smith in the Rising Stars Game; "It's great opportunity. He's earned it. He's one of the best. There's no question about that. And if he gets into the dunk contest, that will be great. I just hope he can get a couple of days rest in there, too."
Alex Kennedy: The NBA announced the Rising Stars Challenge participants. Once again, rather than doing a Rookie vs. Sophomore format, they'll do a World vs. U.S.A. format. Here are the rosters for both teams:

https://twitter.com/AlexKennedyNBA/status/956305514236928002
Brian Seltzer: Inside locker room, Saric reacting to Rising Stars Challenge selection. “For me it means a lot.” Also said he felt sad for Simmons that he didn’t make it to All-Star Game itself.
Kevin Love said he likely will accept an invitation to participate in the 3-point contest on All-Star Saturday in Los Angeles. Love was selected to the All-Star Game for the fifth time on Tuesday and was also asked to do the 3-point contest. He told cleveland.com he would likely accept because it would be his first time in the 3-point contest as a Cavalier and he'd frame his jersey.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker plans to participate in the three-point shooting contest on All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, league sources tell ESPN.
Scott Agness: I’m told that nothing is finalized re: Victor Oladipo competing in the Slam Dunk Contest. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but that’s where it stands right now.
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo and Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. are committing to the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The NBA plans to officially announce the participants next week for the Feb. 16 event in Los Angeles. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. is a strong candidate to be the fourth participant, but has yet to make a final decision, league sources said.
As NBA All-Star weekend approaches Feb. 16-18, the reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world. “Definitely. Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game. I like his game,” Robinson said. “I know a lot of people do and a lot of fans is excited and that’s the most important part. So I think that he definitely is going to be on that list to be in it. “Unfortunately I can’t do it this year because of my ankle but I would love to get back in it but it was a helluva experience for me,” he added. “Last year, going down there I was kind of the underdog and people didn’t expect for me to win it or didn’t know what I had in storage but (Donovan’s) got some bunnies so he will come up with something.”
He wants to be in the All-Star Weekend dunk contest - and thinks he deserves to be there, too. After the Mavericks’ shootaround at Pepsi Center on Tuesday, Smith clearly laid out his thoughts on the Verizon Slam Dunk event that will be on Saturday night, Feb. 17, in Los Angeles. “That’s something I’d like to do,” the 20-year-old said. “If I’m given the opportunity, I’m definitely willing to do it. “That’s the event that I watched a lot growing up, and it’s probably the most exciting event of the All-Star weekend, except the actual game.”
After the Mavericks’ shootaround at Pepsi Center on Tuesday, Dennis Smith Jr. clearly laid out his thoughts on the Verizon Slam Dunk event that will be on Saturday night, Feb. 17, in Los Angeles. “That’s something I’d like to do,” the 20-year-old said. “If I’m given the opportunity, I’m definitely willing to do it. That’s the event that I watched a lot growing up, and it’s probably the most exciting event of the All-Star weekend, except the actual game.”
The reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world. “Definitely. Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game. I like his game,” Glenn Robinson III said. “I know a lot of people do and a lot of fans is excited and that’s the most important part. So I think that he definitely is going to be on that list to be in it.”
Glenn Robinson III: “Unfortunately I can’t do it this year because of my ankle but I would love to get back in it but it was a helluva experience for me,” he added. “Last year, going down there I was kind of the underdog and people didn’t expect for me to win it or didn’t know what I had in storage but (Donovan’s) got some bunnies so he will come up with something.”
Oladipo is enjoying the finest year of his pro career, averaging All-Star numbers with 24.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his fifth season. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard is also open to participating. He posted a game-high 28 points in Indiana’s 109-94 victory in Utah Monday. “I don’t know. We’ll see,” Oladipo said of the dunk contest. “Given the opportunity, I might go out there and help Glenn defend his gem since he can’t do it.”
Sam Smith: Breaking news: Zach LaVine out of dunk contest. His choice? "Andrew Wiggins; that was one of the only other dudes that could really beat me."
As noted by SLAM Magazine's Ryne Nelson, Mitchell appeared on I Am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast, where he said he would be open to an invitation. “I would love to do it," he said. "That would be amazing...I got some dunks that I think would be cool."
Kerry Eggers‏: Gregg Popovich, on @Dame_Lillard’s chance to be All-Star: “He’s a hell of a player, one of the best guards in the league. (Making All-Star team) is just very difficult to do. There are a lot of good players. He’s certainly more than deserving to be talked about in that regard.”
If the opportunity presented itself, Donovan Mitchell is open to the idea of possibly competing in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest. It’s certainly not on his mind every day, as the Jazz are in the midst of a brutal road stretch, but All-Star Weekend is set for Feb. 16-18 in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. That’ll be here in no time. “It would be great, but I haven’t paid any attention to that whatsoever,” Mitchell said. “Not even the whole weekend. That’s not even been on my head at all.”
Glenn Robinson III isn’t the only Indiana Pacers player to win the NBA dunk contest. In fact, Fred Jones won in 2004, and Darnell Hillman won in 1977. But something was different about the 1977 contest. Hillman never received his trophy ... not until Wednesday night, at least. While Hillman and Fred Jones were on hand to celebrate Robinson’s recent win, the Pacers made sure Hillman got his trophy as well. The best part is Hillman was completely surprised by the gesture from the Pacers.
These days, Gordon drives a Tesla, backs a mental awareness app called Lucid, and collects gadgets like they’re stamps or baseball cards. “Aaron and Drew discovered those full-wall projectors,” Davis quipped. “I’d come home and these grown people are doing blanket pillow forts in the family room watching the full projector set up.” The idea for a “Drone Dunk” came to Gordon this past year as he puzzled over how to top his 2016 performance in Toronto, which featured the Magic’s mascot spinning on a hoverboard. While surfing the Internet, Gordon had his “Aha” moment when he stumbled on a video of a drone delivering packages. “I thought, ‘Why not?’ Why couldn’t it just deliver a basketball? What if it just dropped an alley-oop?” No question, a drone is a clear step up from a hoverboard.
But then his biggest fear, the dunk’s timing, spoiled the show. Gordon’s first effort at the alley-oop finish, which involved passing the ball through his legs to dunk with his right hand, wasn’t particularly close. The drone team quickly reloaded the basketball and the pilots quickly repositioned the drone for a second effort, and then a third. The contest organizers then allowed him a fourth try, which he converted to earn 38 points out of a possible 50. Instead of celebrating, he shook his head with a somewhat disgusted smile, and his score reflected the judges’ intolerance for the missed attempts. “You can’t [recover],” he told SI.com by telephone, still sounding clearly disappointed more than an hour after the contest’s end. “After I didn’t get the first one down, I knew I was eliminated. I knew it was pretty much over after that.”
After years of campaigning to be in the Skills Challenge, Kings’ All-Star DeMarcus Cousins likes what he’s seen from the big men as they’ve now won it for the second consecutive season. New York’s Kristaps Porzingis knocked off Cousins on his way to winning the Skills Challenge, beating Utah small forward Gordon Hayward in the final. “He knocked my ball out man,” Cousins said after Porzingis eliminating him. “He knocked my shot out. I’m just glad one of the bigs won. It’s bigger than one individual in this; it’s about the bigs winning. We have to defend our crown.”
The Indiana Pacers shooting guard ran from the right and soared up and over his teammate, Paul George, grabbing the ball on the way and floating long enough to clear the Pacers mascot and a dancer too. His reverse slam, with his head grazing the rim along the way, was enough to win the event that, while entertaining, was nowhere near electric as last year’s legendary affair. And to think, Robinson is really a novice at this whole dunk thing. "It's crazy. Like I said, I couldn't dunk until my sophomore year in high school, and now not even a decade later, I won an NBA dunk contest," he said. "Going into this, I hadn't really practiced any trick dunks. I hadn't really got time. I focused on playing. I focused on starting and playing to the best of my ability. When they gave me this chance, it took me a week to come up with some things that nobody's ever seen in the NBA dunk contest. It was tough."
Ben Golliver: Aaron Gordon tells me he won't compete in 2018 Dunk Contest. "This event takes a lot out of you when you approach it as seriously as I do."
He attempted to innovate again Saturday, beginning with the drone dunk. “I had two drone dunks,” Gordon said. “That was just supposed to be the one that was just going to get me going. I like to do creative things. I like to do over-the-top things. I guess I did a little too much.” Gordon was asked to describe the second drone dunk he had planned. He declined to do so. He said he might save it for a future competition. “This is very disappointing,” Gordon said.
Zach LaVine: My Boi @Glenn Robinson III congratulations my guy happy for you! pic.twitter.com/C6uoNmRge5
George Hill: Congrats To The Lil Bro @Glenn Robinson III 2017 NBA AllStar Dunk Champ!!!Congrats #OverlyDedicated #Indy… instagram.com/p/BQrZnD1gRvf/
Jason Terry: The Big Dog has baaaaaarked!!!! @NBAAllStar #SlamDunkContest
Gordon, who has made 184 three-pointers and is shooting 38.5% from that distance this season, got the best of Irving – the 2013 champion – in the tiebreaker, outscoring him 21-19. "Towards the end, you get a little tired," said Gordon, a first-time Three-Point Contest participant. "I wasn't really concentrating on how many I made. It's all about just focusing on just knocking down the shot. I never count it in my head or anything. You just go out there and shoot the ball. That last rack, it was just mostly fatigue."
Alexis Ajinca: Congrats brother well deserved @Eric Gordon #EricGordon #Best3PtsShooter #ASG2017
Nenê: Yes siirrrrrrr!!!!! @Eric Gordon 🏀🏀💰💰💰 Ball 🔒🔒🚀🚀
Storyline: All-Star Contests
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Pau Gasol done with Spain, not sure about club career

Pau, 41, confirmed his retirement on COPE, stating that he will now reflect and assess his future, while he has not decided about retirement yet. He spent the previous season with FC Barcelona. During his time with the senior Spanish NT, he has won 11 medals in three different international competitions, including gold in the 2006 FIBA World Cup and gold at the 2009, 2011 and 2015 EuroBasket.
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