Anfernee Simons beat out Indiana Pacers’ Cassius Stanley and New York’s Obi Toppin to win the 2021 dunk contest.
Stanley should have recieved more points for his first dunk, but that was made moot by his second in which he fudged his dunk attempt by touching the rim and missing. He re-did the dunk nailing it his second time, but it was too late. He was elimated in the first round.
Obi Toppin showcased his leaping ability with some powerfuly athletic dunks including a windmill dunk over Julius Randle and his father Obadiah Toppin.
But, the judges comprised of past slam dunk winners(Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, Dee Brown, Josh Richardson, and Josh Smith) valued novelty and Simons brought some fresh material to the contest.
On his first dunk, Simons had a smaller plastic rim with suction cups stuck up on the backboard high above the basket. The ball was set on it, and Simoms came from behind the the basket on the right, rose up, grabbed the ball off the makeshift rim and dunked it, illustrating his mad hops.
His second dunk was a call back and reconstruction of Tracy McGrady’s final dunk in the 2000 Slam Dunk contest. Simons put on Mcgrady’s Raptor Jersey, bounced the ball in front of him before executing a 360 windmill dunk with a flourish.
Simons’ final dunk will perhaps be the most talked about. He bounced the ball in front of him before going for a one handed windmill and very nearly kissed the rim. He got as he close as he could to the metal without busting his teeth (though that would have been legendary) or hitting himself in the face with the ball, and gave a smooch before dunking it at the last moment.
He then blew a kiss to the rim again as he landed.
The last round was changed from past contests to prevent scoring controversy. Instead of scoring the final dunks with points, the judges watched both dunks then put up the name of the player they thought performed the superior dunk.
Wilkins, Brown, and Richardson chose Simons while Webb and Smith chose Toppin.
Simons accepted his trophy humbly saying, “It’s definitely a dream come true. Just watching the dunk contest over the years growing up, it’s one of the premier contests if not the premier contest next to the game in All-Star Weekend. Having a chance to come in and be a part of it and win it, it’s surreal.”
The Blazers now have the past two slam dunk winners on their roster. Simons of course won it this year, while Derrick Jones Jr beat out Aaron Gordon to win it in 2020.
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