I don’t pay much attention to the Slam Dunk Contest in normal years. Sure, I’ve been impressed with some of the highlights of the past few years, but I’m certainly not tempted to find the contest while it’s airing. This year I might not even pay attention to the highlights given that there’s a field of four players I’ve barely ever heard of.
The contest features — and I use that term lightly — Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets; Paul George of the Indiana Pacers; Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz; and Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Iman Shumpert was scheduled to be a part of the show and was going to employ Jeremy Lin, but now he’s hurt and there’s one less reason to watch. Or maybe I’m just a Scrooge. As George tells it, there are no players in the contest that can’t wow the fans. Maybe they’ll make a name for themselves in the process.
Paul George joined Fox Sports Radio with Fox Sports Daybreak to discuss how he got involved in the contest, how he can win it, what he’s got lined up in terms of dunks, his favorite dunk contest memory, how he’s become so much better shooting the ball from outside, if he would date Kim Kardashian and which guy he’s looking forward to competing against in the dunk contest.
How did you get into the Slam Dunk Contest?:
“It really came from my agency pushing for me and my teammates and my organization pushing for me to be in it. … It’s the game of basketball. I once heard Kobe Bryant say you’re supposed to be embarrassed sometimes because some of these guys are great in this league. That’s what I play hard for. Every now and I’m going to get a play where it doesn’t go my way, but that’s what I like to compete for, just to challenge myself.”
This competition is going to be based on fan favorites, yet none of the players are real big names. How do you plan on winning it?:
“I’m sure the actual basketball fans and fans of the dunk contest [will watch]. I’ve got some dunks lined up that will have them off their feet and some stuff they haven’t seen before. I think the real and honest fans of the dunk contest will appreciate the dunks that I’ve got for them.”
Can you give us a sneak preview of what you’ve got planned?:
“I can’t throw it all out there. Well, I mean, I’m trying to get either Larry Bird out there or I’ll definitely use Roy and maybe another 7-footer.”
You were listed as 6-foot-8 coming out of college, but is it true you’re now 6-10?:
“I’m not 6-10 exactly, I’m 6-9 and maybe a little change. I did grow this past summer, so they weren’t lying about that.”
What’s your favorite memory of dunk contests in the past?:
“My favorite dunk contest was when Jordan and Dominique Wilkins went at it. That was definitely something fun to watch. They definitely gave a show for the fans. It was crazy, it was a lot of creativity, a lot of power in their dunks. It’s something that’ll be with me forever.”
You could be in the 3-point contest as well. How is a guy of your stature so good from beyond the arc?:
“I struggled last season, so with the lockout and everything, I had a lot of time to really get comfortable back there. So now it’s just shooting it with confidence this year and my teammates have been finding me. It always helps when you’ve got Roy Hibbert and David West, two guys who demand double teams. That offense leaves me with open 3s.”
Would you date Kim Kardashian?:
“Um, I would not. She’s a beautiful girl, but that’s not what I want my name to be associated with.”
Who will be the stiffest competition in the dunk contest?:
“I don’t know. Me and Derrick Williams have been going at it ever since this summer, so I look forward to going against him in the dunk contest. There’ll definitely be some bragging rights back to this summer.”