Former UCLA guard Zach LaVine to participate in 2015 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest

January 28, 2015

The 2015 NBA Slam Dunk contest will showcase four up-and-coming players, including former UCLA Bruins guard Zach LaVine, and also will feature a format change that brings back some tradition to the event.

The participants in the 30th edition of the contest are: the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ LaVine, the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo, and the Brooklyn Nets’ Mason Plumlee.

Other than the rookie LaVine, the field consists of second-year players.

LaVine ranks second among rookies in assists (3.4 apg) and is tied for fourth in scoring (8.0 ppg). A victory for the explosive 19-year-old LaVine would make him the second-youngest winner in Slam Dunk history (Kobe Bryant was 18 when he claimed the 1997 event in Cleveland).  Expect a windmill or two from LaVine, who frequently dunks that way on breakaways in games.

Antetokounmpo, 20, is the first Bucks player to appear in the contest since Ray Allen in 1997.  The high-flying 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 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 has improved his field goal percentage from 41.9 to 45.9.

Plumlee, a true big man, 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 winner 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).

In an upgrade from last year's pathetic and confusing format, the contest will return to a classic two-round event.

The four participants can perform any dunk they choose without time limits, and 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.

TNT will televise the Slam Dunk contest live on Saturday, February 14, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn during All-Star Saturday Night.

All-Star Saturday Night will also include the Shooting Stars, the Skills Challenge, and the Three-Point Contest.


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)

By Staff of and news services

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