Lets face it, the public is not exactly thrilled with this year’s dunk contest field. After LeBron declared at last year’s All Star Weekend in Phoenix that he was going to enter the 2010 contest, a lot of fans were let down when his name wasn’t announced as a participant last Monday. With Dwight Howard also MIA, this year’s field definitely lacks some star power.
Two-time champ, Nate Robinson, will be going for his third title, but even he knows and admits, his novelty act has worn off a little with the fans.
“I know people are probably getting sick of seeing me dunk,” the 5-9 Robinson told Newsday last week.
Even if that holds true, there’s still a good reason why you should tune in to watch All Star Saturday Night. And that reason is Shannon Brown. Anybody who has paid any sort of attention to the NBA this season knows what this 6-4 guard is capable of doing above the rim. Shannon is my pick to take home the dunk contest.
Brown is one of the rare high-flyers who can explode off of one or two feet. We’ve seen several instances where Shannon’s head is rim-level, whether he’s catching an alley-oop or blocking a fast break layup. You can certainly make the argument that he is one of the top three athletes in the league. However, it remains to be seen whether he’s one of the most creative dunkers in the league. We’ll find out on Saturday, Feb. 13, when he takes on Robinson, Gerald Wallace and the winner of the Dunk-In: DeMar DeRozan or Eric Gordon.
In the midst of the media zoo that was going on in the Lakers’ locker room, some 45 minutes before their game against the Knicks on Friday night, I was able to catch Shannon for a quick Q&A right at the end of media availability.
Dime: Have you already been planning for the dunk contest? How many dunks do you have in your repertoire?
Shannon Brown: Yeah, I’ve been giving it some thought. I got enough for a dunk contest. You know, the way the dunk contest is set up, with the passers and props and stuff, it’s going to be a great time.
Dime: Speaking of passers, have you chosen a teammate yet?
SB: I ain’t chose nobody yet. A couple of guys have asked me, but I haven’t chose nobody yet.
Dime: You’re from Chicago and there are a lot of great dunkers from there like Paul McPherson and Ronnie Fields. Did you learn some things watching them?
SB: Oh yeah, absolutely. I came up watching pretty much those guys you mentioned. I used to go to DePaul games and watching Paul McPherson and Q-Rich (Quentin Richardson), Steve Hunter and Big Lance (Williams). Even guys like Will Bynum – he had a TV show (Chicago Preps) that had him, Eddy Curry, Luther Head. All those guys came before me, even guys from my high school (Proviso East) like Michael Finley and Sherrell Ford. So I had a great group of guys and dunkers from back home that I looked up to.
Dime: When you were in high school, did you have a huge rep around Chicago?
SB: Yeah, I think I had a good reputation for dunking around town because I wasn’t as big as some of those guys. I was about 6-feet, 6-1 dunking on people. People looked at it almost as amazing.
Dime: What is the sickest dunk you’ve done in a dunk contest?
SB: I’d only really done the McDonald’s Dunk Contest. My best dunk was probably a 360 or something like that.
Dime: What do you know about your competition in this year’s dunk contest?
SB: Obviously Nate’s been in the dunk contest a couple of times and he’s
a great dunker, I respect him a lot. I know he’s going to come up with some new stuff. I played on the same team as Gerald Wallace, and I know how he can get up and sky. And then Eric Gordon. I haven’t really seen him dunk, but I know he’s got hops, i know he can jump. And DeMar DeRozan, I know he’s got bounce too. I’d seen him do stuff in college as well as this year.
Do you guys think Shannon Brown has creativity to go along with his ridiculous hops?