Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard Zach LaVine will represent the Wolves in the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest the league announced today. LaVine will dunk against Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Victor Oladipo (Orlando) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn).
“To be selected for this year’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend is very exciting,” LaVine said. “It’s been one of my dreams to compete in the All-Star slam dunk contest ever since I was a little kid. My plan is to give the judges and all NBA fans a great show.”
LaVine, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is averaging 8.0 points, 3.4 assists and 22.8 minutes in 41 games (21 starts). He scored a season-high 28 points in a win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 28 and dished out a season-high 14 assists Dec. 27 at Golden State.
With a vertical jump recorded as high as 46 inches, LaVine has the athleticism to provide many highlight reel dunks. Whether it’s roaring through the lane and soaring to the hoop or leaping to the rafters to catch an alley-oop, LaVine is an impressive and creative dunker. Fans can check out LaVine’s dunking ability for themselves here: http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/zach-lavine-dunk-contest.
LaVine is the sixth Timberwolves player to compete in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. As a rookie, Isaiah Rider won the 1994 Slam Dunk Contest at Target Center with a between-the-legs jam, which he titled the “East Bay Funk Dunk.” Other Timberwolves to participate in past Slam Dunk Contests include Derrick Williams (2012), Gerald Green (2008), Chris Carr (1997) and Doug West (1992). Rider also participated in the 1995 Slam Dunk Contest.
The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest is the centerpiece of All-Star Saturday Night and one of the most anticipated events of the season. This year, the dunkers will try to surpass last year’s winning performance by Washington’s John Wall, who demonstrated his high-flying dunking ability with a reverse, two-handed slam over Wizards mascot G-Wiz. Wall is not returning to defend his title.
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.