NBA All-Star Weekend 2019: Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo edges Dennis Smith Jr. to win underwhelming Dunk Contest

The latest edition of All-Star Saturday Night has come to a close. After plenty of excitement in the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest, we got to the main event: the Slam Dunk Contest. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to the rest of the night. 

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo outscored New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. in the championship round to take the title despite some controversial judging on Smith's second dunk. On his final dunk, he vaulted over Quavo from Migos and threw it down with two hands to clinch the title.

The contest got off to a slow start, and never really picked up. John Collins went safe with his first dunk, Dennis Smith Jr. took multiple tries to put down his opening slam and Miles Bridges never actually completed his initial effort. Collins and Bridges threw down decent dunks in their second attempts, but neither did enough to advance to the championship round. 

In truth, the second dunks of the first round from Diallo and Smith Jr. were the climax of the event. Diallo stole the show by jumping over Shaquille O'Neal and finishing with his elbow in the rim -- while flashing the Superman logo under his jersey. Meanwhile, Smith jumped over rapper J. Cole to throw down a high-flying slam. 

But in the championship round, Smith flubbed his first dunk attempt, which led to Diallo throwing down a fairly basic one to put some points on the board. Then, for his second attempt, Smith tried to vault over Dwyane Wade while catching a lob from Steph Curry. The problem was, it didn't look super impressive after Diallo had already jumped over Shaq. Plus, he missed half a dozen attempts before finally getting one to go. Still, the judges gave him a 50 once he did complete it, to much confusion from everyone watching. 

There was no controversy, though, as Diallo flew over Quavo to seal the victory in his first Dunk Contest appearance. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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