Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke put on the greatest dunk contest that never was.
The Rising Stars Challenge between the World and U.S. teams was pretty exciting and delivered a special payoff for the fans who watched until the final minutes. Zion Williamson was the main attraction for the U.S. team that beat the World team led by Luka Doncic.
The Pelicans rookie phenom already had a number of highlight-reel dunks in the game, including one that literally broke the rim in the first half.
Zion won’t be participating in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night, but he put on a mini dunk contest at the end of the Rising Stars Challenge.
Zion had the fans in the United Center in Chicago on their feet as the greatest dunk contest that never was broke out. Zion didn’t connect on the first attempt but the excitement from the TNT broadcasters calling for Zion to get it again was what All-Star Weekend is all about.
The fans got to see a show with one of the top young stars giving the fans what they want.
Even though he missed the second attempt after throwing the ball off the backboard, the excitement about what Zion would do when he got his paws on the ball was exhilarating. He went down swinging on his third try, but the degree of difficulty was impressive.
I would pay to watch him in the All-Star Dunk Contest next year. In fact, the NBA should pay Zion $1 million to do it.
Brandon Clarke and RJ Barrett did deliver on their own dunk attempts on the other end of the court, but they weren’t as spectacular at what Zion was attempting to pull off.
Zion’s former AAU teammate, Grizzlies point guard and Rookie of the Year favorite, Ja Morant got his turn in the greatest dunk contest that never was couldn’t finish on his challenging attempt either.
This was all just a tease for what’s to come in next year’s Slam Dunk Contest that better feature Zion and Morant.
The official Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on TNT with Dwight Howard, Aaron Gordon, Derrick Jones Jr. and Pat Connaughton in the field.