SLAM Magazine: Dwight paying tribute to Kobe on this du…

SLAM Magazine: Dwight paying tribute to Kobe on this dunk 🙏🏿🙏🏿 #ATTSlamDunk (via @NBAonTNT) pic.twitter.com/sw5VXbghmu

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Malika Andrews: Derrick Jones Jr. said that he expected the judges to make it so there would have been a third “dunk off” round after Aaron Gordon dinked over Tacko Fall: “He clipped Tacko’s head, so they couldn’t give him a 50. I expected them to give him a 48 so we could go again.”
Andre Iguodala: The right guy won.... Kenny wasn’t behind the judges table....
Jorge Sierra: No dunk titles for Gordon, but he will get a lot of sympathy out of this. That’s worth something. Nikola Vucevic: That’s worth nothing when you get robbed twice
Karl-Anthony Towns: #DunkContest pic.twitter.com/BBLp9iSVzM

http://twitter.com/KarlTowns/status/1228886910929686528
Ja Morant: judges are wilding 🤦🏽‍♂️
Austin Rivers: Nahhh that’s not cool.... AG been robbed twice now.
Alex Kennedy: Dwight Howard said he would compete in the dunk contest again in the future. He joked that he needs to practice between-the-leg dunks and look more like a small forward next time.
Josh Robbins: Aaron Gordon said during his post-contest press conference he was retiring from the dunk contest. But that shouldn't be interpreted as some kind of protest about tonight's result. In the weeks preceding the contest, Gordon said 2020 would be his final dunk contest.
Nicole Auerbach: I need Ja and Zion in next year’s dunk contest. Ja Morant: nah.
Tania Ganguli: Dwight Howard's plan on that second dunk was to have Kobe Bryant bring him the Superman cape. Once Bryant did that, Howard planned to show Bryant the 24 on his chest. He said Bryant had agreed to do it.
Chase Hughes: Davis Bertans teared up after the 3PT contest when asked about Kobe Bryant, whom he never met: "Him and his daughter, just seeing that and me having a daughter right now, those emotions that we're having together... it's more about him being a father to his daughters."
SportsCenter: Aaron Gordon says he feels like he should have two trophies and likely won’t do the dunk contest again. (via @Rachel__Nichols)
Gordon also lost the 2016 dunk contest in similarly heartbreaking fashion to Zach Levine. "It’s a wrap, bro," the Orlando Magic forward told reporters afterwards, signaling his dunk contest career is over. "I feel like I should have two trophies. ... Jumping over somebody 7-5 and dunking is no easy feat. What did I get, like a 47? Come on, man. What are we doing?"
Derrick Jones Jr. claimed the Slam Dunk Contest title, out-dueling Aaron Gordon in a thrilling double-tiebreaker dunk-off. Jones’ final slam received a score of 48 to barely beat out Gordon’s score of 47. Gordon’s final dunk saw him leap over 7-foot-5 center Tacko Fall to get the crowd on its feet and send fellow NBA stars on the sidelines into a frenzy. But it wasn’t enough to appease the five-judge panel.
There was no shortage of perfect scores on Saturday night. Gordon had five, two in the first round, two in the second and then one in the dunk-off rounds. His off-the-backboard extended 360 in the bonus rounds drew the most raves, with All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpograbbing Gordon in excitement afterwards. "We're here to do four dunks," Gordon said. "So out of four dunks, it should be the best out of four dunks."
It looked like Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was headed for his second 3-Point Contest championship. But then Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield got hot, sinking four of his final five shots on his money-ball rack and edging Booker for his first 3-Point Contest title. Hield, who is third in the NBA at 3.8 3s made per game, had 27 points in the final round, outscoring Booker (26) and Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (22).
Hield needed to make the final shot to win, and he did. Hield made two of his first five shots, then made 17 of his next 20 from the regular five-ball racks. "I was talking to Book, and Book said he's been in it before, and said he already got one, and that gave me motivation to get one," Hield said. "He said coming every time brings more pressure. As a shooter, you want to win one. Every shooter wants to win one, and I feel like that."
Anthony Chiang: Bam Adebayo dedicated the Skills Challenge trophy to his mother, Marilyn Blount. They even took photos together on stage with the trophy. Emotional moment for both of them.
Often times, players that are at the end of the bench and see "garbage time" minutes are the ones that submit their names to dunk during All Star Weekend. Howard said that he doesn't see that trend reversing itself any time soon. "During All Star weekend, a lot of guys are getting ready for the second half of the season," Howard said. "So it is pretty hard to get those guys to want to be in the dunk contest. But, this is the thing that I enjoy. I have been dunking my whole life basically."
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young said he did a couple practice rounds of the 3-point contest when the Hawks were in Cleveland for their last game before the All-Star break. I asked if he won. But he was just competing against himself, trying to get the highest score he could.
USA TODAY Sports: Pat Connaughton admits he’s not as well-known as others in the NBA dunk contest. But he thinks that’s an advantage.
It didn't matter that he didn't win the dunk contest that night (Zach LaVine did). Everything had changed as far as his place in the sport and marketing worlds were concerned. "It took me from a domestic, American-known name to all over the world, people knew who I was," Gordon told ESPN after Thursday night's dunk contest practice session. "After that 2016 dunk contest, people really started to take a liking to me all over the world."
More than three decades later, some details of the classic slam dunk contest showdown between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins are a bit fuzzy to Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich. One of five judges for the competition, the former Los Angeles Lakers' great is, however, certain of a few things: His Airness soared to a slightly higher level than the Human Highlight Reel, there was no pressure to crown Jordan the slam dunk king on his home court and the judges were not in cahoots. “It was very, very close,” Goodrich said of the competition. “They both performed with excellence. I thought that Michael performed just a little bit ahead of Dominique. I cast my vote for Michael.”
TBS broadcasters Bob Neal, Rick Barry and Steve Jones questioned the judging at the end, with a laughing Jones even half-joking: “Note was passed on to the judges.” Goodrich, however, insisted there was no thumb on the scale favouring Jordan, no pressure from the league. “No, absolutely none,” he said. “Nor did, as judges, we confer with one-another. Not at all.”
It is still the dunk contest by which all other dunk contests are measured: Two stars, at the peak of their powers, the players who finished first and second in that season's scoring standings, going head-to-head to decide a winner. Jordan left the old Chicago Stadium that night with the trophy. To this day, many believe Wilkins was the rightful winner. Either way, it was a never-to-be-forgotten show — and now, for the first time since that night 32 years ago, the dunk contest is returning to Chicago on Saturday night. "I did have a homecourt advantage, yes," Jordan said this week in an interview with The Associated Press. "The fans got their money's worth," Wilkins said in a separate interview with AP.
On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, the Magic forward will compete in what he promises will be his final dunk contest, a matchup against former contest champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. Asked what fans can expect, Gordon provided a simple answer: “I’m gonna win.”
On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, the Magic forward will compete in what he promises will be his final dunk contest, a matchup against former contest champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. Asked what fans can expect, Gordon provided a simple answer: “I’m gonna win.”
Christian Clark: Nicolo Melli already had a vacation planned to the Bahamas when he found out he was a late addition to Rising Stars. “Griff told me at the end of the shootaround. I thought he was joking."
Bucks Forward Pat Connaughton took to social media on Wednesday to recruit a Wisconsin sports star for Saturday night at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago. Connaughton is one of four selected for the annual skills competition that's a staple of NBA All Star Weekend. Connaughton tweeted a photo of a note to Christian Yelich that read "Christian, I have a great idea! Meet me in Chicago this weekend. P.C." (Pat Connaughton)
Eric Woodyard: Bucks' Pat Connaughton tells ESPN he's looking to win the dunk contest and has a "few" surprises. "It's not the first underdog story I've had to write," he said. "I'll go into it, I'll have fun with it, but I'll still take it pretty seriously and see what I can do."
The NBA announced the official roster for the All-Star Celebrity Game on Wednesday, with a group that includes Chicago celebrities, basketball stars and recording artists. At the top of the list are Chicago rappers Chance the Rapper and Common, who will serve as captains in the Feb. 14 game at Wintrust Arena and as ambassadors for All-Star Weekend in Chicago. The pair also will perform at halftime of the 69th All-Star Game at the United Center.
The NBA and WNBA will be represented in the game as well as former DePaul and Young star Quentin Richardson and WNBA star Chelsea Gray are set to play on Wilbon’s team. On the other side, former NBA forward Darius Miles, WNBA star A’ja Wilson and former Bears defensive tackle Anthony “Spice” Adams will lace up for Smith’s team.
Mark Medina: Dwight Howard said he got word Kobe Bryant agreed to help him out at the dunk contest. Dwight says it’s “heartbreaking” that couldn’t happen.
David Morrow: 3-point shootout field set: Davis Bertans Devonte' Graham Joe Harris Buddy Hield Zach LaVine Damian Lillard Duncan Robinson Trae Young
JD Shaw: Here are the 2020 All-Star Skills Challenge Participants: Bam Adebayo, Patrick Beverley, Spencer Dinwiddie, Khris Middleton, Derrick Rose, Domantas Sabonis, Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum.
Tim Reynolds: The list of 3-point shooters for the contest (I believe all these have been announced along the way): -- Defending champion Joe Harris -- Damian Lillard -- Duncan Robinson -- Trae Young -- Davis Bertans -- Zach LaVine -- Devonte' Graham -- Buddy Hield The new max score is 40.
Shams Charania: Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton has committed to invite to the NBA Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Chicago, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., Connaughton so far set.
Spencer Dinwiddie: The other night I was asked about participating in the Skills Challenge and I want to apologize for my comments. If I am given the opportunity again I am confident I could win it again and continue to represent the league and the Nets in positive way.
Joe Harris has been invited back to NBA All-Star weekend later this month to defend his 3-point crown, according to a league source. But the sweet-shooting Nets forward still hasn’t decided whether he’ll go, or use the time to rest and recharge. Harris led the league in 3-point shooting last season at a career-best 47.4 percent, and last Feb. 16 in Charlotte, he won the 3-Point Contest with 26 points to beat Steph Curry.
Oliver Maroney: Unless something drastic changes, Zach LaVine does not plan on competing in the dunk contest, per sources.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone sent Porter a long text Friday telling him how proud he was of the season he’s put together and underscoring how valuable he’s been to their operation. “He knows I deserve to be a Rising Star, be in that game, but I’m gonna be playing in the playoffs, and that’s worth a lot more to me than playing in that game,” Porter said. “So I’m just gonna keep working, get my rest during that All-Star break and be ready for that second half of the season.”
Of the 10 players named to the U.S. roster, six of them are on teams currently out of the playoffs, including three Charlotte Hornets. Porter can live with being overlooked for the annual showcase if it means playing in games that matter. “I’m really not worried about it,” Porter said. “I’m just gonna keep working. I’m more worried about the team and our team success.”
Serena Winters: Al Horford said he was disappointed & surprised Matisse Thybulle didn't make Rising Stars team. Said Matisse is ‘part of a winning team & having a real impact.’ And ‘what are we rewarding’ if we’re not recognizing defense? 'He deserves to be there.'
On Friday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET, the league’s best rookies and sophomores will take the court during NBA Rising Stars, all wearing jersey patches featuring the Nos. 2 and 24 in the center surrounded by nine stars. The same patch will be worn by the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants competing in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, MTN DEW 3-Point Contest and AT&T Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET.
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Goran Dragic talked to the Slovenian press before Saturday’s prep game against Montenegro and explained his motivation about his return to the Slovenian national team. “I predict the semi-finals, but then anything is possible”, said a smiling Dragic, who is ready to defend the title he won together with a young Luka Doncic back in 2017. However, after five years things are different and Dragic understands it: “In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult. My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but I believe that everyone has their own role in the national team and that there will be no problems. We all understand each other, we are one big team, and that’s why we can make a good result. That chemistry is what other teams don’t have.”
Dragic had also to convince the Chicago Bulls to let him play, something that was not ideal for them: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides. I had to go to Chicago, undergo a medical examination and everything else. When you go to a medical examination, you always wait for the results, because you never know what can happen”.