The energy was high inside the Staples Center for one of the most highly-anticipated All-Star Weekend events, The Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. This year marked a full circle milestone for the contest, seeing the son of its first champion, Larry Nance, compete for the title.
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The panel of judges was an eclectic group, with producer DJ Khaled, actor Mark Wahlberg, comedian Chris Rock, former WNBA Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie, and basketball legend Julius "Dr. J” Irving giving the scores. While there were plenty of celebrities and players in attendance, all of the focus was on the court. Well, almost all of it.
World’s collided when the competitors asked some of the stars in the stands to help with their dunks. The Black Panther himself Chadwick Boseman blessed Victor Oladipo with his super hero mask for an unfortunately underwhelming dunk. Dennis Smith Jr. was also eliminated in the first round, but still managed to complete a 50 pointer before exiting.
It was between rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell and Larry Nance Jr., who both included their family members in the final round. Mitchell first soared over his little sister, along with comedian Kevin Hart and his son, for an amazing dunk. Nance Jr. not only wore his father’s old jersey and did his winning dunk, but also had him toss up the ball for his last attempt of the night.
As great as Nance Jr.’s performance was, he couldn't beat Mitchell, one of the most celebrated up-and-comers in the league. For his final dunk, he wore legend Vince Carter’s old jersey and successfully pulled off his 2000 Dunk Contest stunner, the reverse 360. With as many nods to the past as there were giant leaps forward, this years contest was one to watch. Check out all the highlights below...