According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the NBA has already decided upon four exciting contestants for their annual All-Star weekend slam dunk contest — to be held on Saturday February 14, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Here are those four advance names:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
A 6’11” sensation from Greece, Giannis is also a delightful character; a twenty-year-old with wide eyes about fame and America, who the NBA has proudly begun to tailor into one of the upcoming new faces of their game. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s capable of doing things like this:
Like many of his fellow All-Star dunkers, Giannis will also be partaking in the Rising Stars challenge. The catch this year? The game won’t pit sophomores and rookies against each other, but will instead draw from the pool of second- and first-year players to pit USA against the Giannis and the rest of his World squad.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
No one has benefitted more from the Magic’s new uptempo style than Victor Oladipo. It gives him a chance to get up and down the floor and let his athleticism do the talking for him. Like this:
Victor also has a secret weapon in store in the event that the contest still allows for one cooperative dunk with a teammate: savant passer and fellow Magic guard Elfrid Payton.
Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets
You might have a hard time distinguishing Mason from his brother Miles, a center with the Phoenix Suns. The most clear difference between them, though, is Mason’s ability to perform dances like this around the rim:
It’s a down year for the Nets and New York Knicks — the co-host franchises of this year’s midseason celebration. But if Plumlee can win this contest as an underdog contestant, it’ll provide a bright spot for NYC on this glitzy weekend.
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
Next to Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine makes for the most hoptastic young backcourt in the league. Some of the LaVine dunking Vines in circulation are straight-up hard to believe:
This guy, with an open invitation to make music out of basketball with the world’s attention? I won’t be missing it.
— John Wilmes