NEW YORK – The 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk at NBA All-Star 2015 in New York City will feature four exciting, up-and-coming players and a format change that adds an old-school feel to the 30th edition of the contest.
A first-time champion will be crowned as three surging second-year players and a leading rookie will all make their debuts in the league’s signature above-the-rim showcase: the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Zach LaVine, the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo and the Brooklyn Nets’ Mason Plumlee. (Click on the player names for highlights of each competitor or http://www.nba.com/video/channels/allstar/2015/01/27/20150127-dunk-contest-rollin.nba/index.html for compilation video on NBA.com.)
TNT will televise the Sprite Slam Dunk live on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, part of Turner Sports’ 30th year of All-Star coverage.
Returning to a classic format, the Sprite Slam Dunk will be a two-round event in which the four participants can perform any dunk they choose without time limits. The players will have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round. Five judges will score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. All four competitors will get two dunks in the first round. The two dunkers with the highest combined score for their two dunks will advance to the head-to-head final round. The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the final round will be the champion.
The three second-year players in the contest have all built on promising rookie campaigns this season. Antetokounmpo, the first Bucks player to appear in the Sprite Slam Dunk since Ray Allen in 1997, has scored in double figures in 28 of his 44 games this season after doing so 23 times in 77 games last season. The 20-year-old forward from Greece has a chance to make history as both the first Milwaukee player and first international player to win the title.
Oladipo, the 2013-14 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up, has increased his scoring average from 13.8 points in his first season to 16.5 points in his second season and improved his field goal percentage from 41.9 to 45.9.
Plumlee, whose career 62.6 shooting percentage is the highest among players selected in the 2013 NBA Draft, is averaging 10.4 points and 6.7 rebounds for Brooklyn this season, including 13.9 points and 8.0 rebounds in 27 starts. He will attempt to become the first Nets player to win the Sprite Slam Dunk and the fourth player to claim the title at his home arena, an exclusive club composed of the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan (1988), Minnesota’s Isaiah Rider (1994) and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (2011).
The only first-year player in the field, LaVine ranks second among rookies in assists (3.4 apg) and is tied for fourth in scoring (8.0 ppg). A victory for the 19-year-old LaVine would make him the second-youngest winner in Sprite Slam Dunk history (Kobe Bryant was 18 when he claimed the 1997 event in Cleveland).
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will also include the Degree Shooting Stars, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. The 64th NBA All-Star Game will tip off Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden. The game will be seen by fans in 215 countries and territories and will be heard in 47 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 13th consecutive year.
Below is the lineup for the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk and a list of previous winners:
2015 SPRITE SLAM DUNK PARTICIPANTS
Participant, Team Pos. Ht. Wt.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks F 6-11 217
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves G 6-5 183
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic G 6-4 210
Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets C 6-11 235
SPRITE SLAM DUNK YEAR-BY-YEAR WINNERS
1984—Larry Nance, Phoenix 2001—Desmond Mason, Seattle
1985—Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta 2002—Jason Richardson, Golden State
1986—Spud Webb, Atlanta 2003—Jason Richardson, Golden State
1987—Michael Jordan, Chicago 2004—Fred Jones, Indiana
1988—Michael Jordan, Chicago 2005—Josh Smith, Atlanta
1989—Kenny Walker, New York 2006—Nate Robinson, New York
1990—Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta 2007—Gerald Green, Boston
1991—Dee Brown, Boston 2008—Dwight Howard, Orlando
1992—Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix 2009—Nate Robinson, New York
1993—Harold Miner, Miami 2010—Nate Robinson, New York
1994—Isaiah Rider, Minnesota 2011—Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
1995—Harold Miner, Miami 2012—Jeremy Evans, Utah
1996—Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers 2013—Terrence Ross, Toronto
1997—Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 2014—Eastern Conference (Paul George, Terrence Ross, John Wall*)
2000—Vince Carter, Toronto *Dunker of the Night