The NBA announced Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, Brandon Jennings, and JaVale McGee will compete in this year's Dunk Contest at the 2011 All-Star Game. It's an unusual field, featuring only a point guard (Jennings) and three big men; no high-flying swingmen, like current Magic player Jason Richardson, are to be found. SBNation's own Tom Ziller discussed the competitors, and included video highlights for each entrant, for its NBA page.
Magic center Dwight Howard competed thrice in the Dunk Contest, winning once, and offered his opinions on the forthcoming exhibition to Orlando Pinstriped Post following Wednesday's 97-87 Magic victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.
"There's not [a handicap for big men]," Howard said. "It was just when I was in it. Everyone else can jump but me. I was just tall." Sarcasm tinged his voice.
Which player does the former Dunk champion favor in the competition? It didn't take him long to answer that question.
"I think the surprise is gonna be JaVale McGee," Howard said. "Nobody talks about him. But the guy's a legit 7-2 and he can jump pretty high."
Howard didn't know McGee has tried dunking from the foul line twice in game situtations this season, and the first thing he wanted to know when I informed him of those attempts was, "Two feet?" Howard's still thinking like a Dunk Contest participant, clearly. When told McGee tried a one-footed takeoff both times, he shook his head, laughed, and said, "That's not a good Dunk Contest dunk."
Howard has no plans to take part in this year's contest. "I'm straight," he said when asked if he might consider filling in for Jennings, who's recovering from a broken foot, should the Bucks rule Jennings out. And then he started joking again.
"If I didn't get fouled as much as I do," he said, "I might get in it. But I might get a tech called if I miss a dunk." He's referencing his league-leading technical foul tally (11, after the league rescinded three), and thus willing to have fun at his own expense.