Orlando, Fla His nickname is the Human Pogo Stick, and Utah’s Jeremy Evans set out to put some bounce back into the Slam Dunk Contest.
Evans endeared himself to the fans with a mix of props and creativity, and they voted him the winner of one of the marquee events of the NBA’s All-Star Saturday festivities.
Evans, who got into the competition as a replacement for injured New York guard Iman Shumpert, earned 29 percent of the 3 million votes cast by fans. He beat out Houston’s Chase Budinger, Indiana’s Paul George and Minnesota’s Derrick Williams for the Jazz’s first-ever trophy in the contest.
In a departure from past dunk competitions, fans were given complete voting power and cast their ballots by text message after each of the four participants competed in three one-dunk rounds.
Evans dunked with a camera on his head, slammed two basketballs while jumping over a seated assistant and donned a Karl Malone jersey while dunking over mailman-dressed comedian Kevin Hart. Budinger got just as many cheers from the Amway Center fans as Evans, and some in the celebrity-filled crowd sighed when the winner was announced.
Budinger got his loudest cheer when he donned a Cedric Ceballos jersey and imitated his 1992 blindfolded dunk, completing it with a reverse slam.
Kevin Love knows something about dunking. He does most of his dirty work inside for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he got to show off his outside touch on Saturday night. Love beat out Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant to win the Three-Point Shootout.
The former UCLA star was consistent throughout, but had to survive a tiebreaker in the first round and sweat out the last few shots from Durant to pull out the 17-14 victory in the final.
Love is in the middle for a breakout year for Minnesota, averaging 25 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. But he also has connected on 49 of 141 3-point attempts for the Timberwolves.
Celebrities lined the court for the appetizer before Sunday’s NBA All-Star game, and the first event saw the continuation of the good vibes that New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has brought to the Big Apple recently
With Knicks super fan Spike Lee looking on, Team New York had the touch from the outside and won the Shooting Stars event. Former Knicks star Allan Houston nailed his third attempt at a half-court shot to give his team consisting of current Knicks guard Landry Fields and Cappie Pondexter of the WNBA’s New York Liberty the victory.
San Antonio point guard Tony Parker then won the Skills Competition. Parker was the only one of six participants to break 30 seconds in the first round (29.2) and this time of 32.8 in the final run on the obstacle course was better than Boston’s Rajon Rondo (34.6) and New Jersey’s Deron Williams (41.4).
Love was tied for third after the opening round of the Shootout and beat Miami’s Mario Chalmers 5-4 in a tiebreaker.