As a franchise, the Magic certainly have a bit of a history with the All-Star Weekend’s Dunk Contest.
The crowning of a champion.
The best ‘runner up’ performance ever.
And the best, err … lay-up that the competition has ever seen.
2022 offers the chance for the team to add another page to their slam dunk chronicle, this time courtesy of the contributions of Cole Anthony. The dynamic second-year guard will be representing the pinstripes at All-Star Saturday, throwing down against Jalen Green, Obi Toppin and Juan Toscano-Anderson for the right to hoist the dunker’s trophy. He’s currently +300 to walk away the winner, odds that feel pretty favorable for a guy with particular pedigree when it comes to stuffing the ball home.
Green is listed as the favorite at +200, Toppin is just behind him at +205 and Toscano-Anderson is the underdog at +340.
Despite being the shortest contestant in the field, Anthony will like his chances heading into this one. There’s always something visually impressive about the sight of a shorter player getting up and throwing one down, so the inches he’s ceding likely actually work to his benefit. Some may also try to use the fact that Cole only has 16 total career dunks to his name as a reason to dispute his candidacy. The good news, however, is that Saturday night’s showdown is a matter of quality over quantity, and Anthony’s resume of 16 features some absolute hammers.
Also worth considering is the fact that Cole has in spades the two key elements that any great dunker requires: namely, the hops to soar above the rim and the ice-cold confidence required to believe that you do so better than anyone else out there. When you combine that pair of features you inevitably end up with the type of player that plans some crazy stuff when given the opportunity of a league-wide showcase.
When the dust settles on Saturday night, there’s plenty of reason to believe that it’s Cole Anthony who will be the last dunker left standing.