Dennis Smith Jr.’s life is a bit of a whirlwind right now. Last week, the second-year guard became part of a blockbuster trade that netted the Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingins. In exchange, Smith, Wesley Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan were sent to New York City. Smith will have been a Knick for just over two weeks when he heads to Charlotte to take part in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Feb. 16.
But Smith seems thrilled to be a New York Knick, as it was the team he thought was going to initially select him in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Knicks took Frank Ntilikina at No. 8 instead, and Smith went to Dallas with the very next pick. Smith doesn’t hold a grudge against the franchise he now finds himself playing for, though, and instead wants to represent the Knicks to the fullest with his performance in the dunk contest, so much so that he’s enlisting the help of a pretty famous rapper.
“I got to try to put it on for the Knicks,’’ Smith told the NY Post. “I’ve been bouncing ideas of J. Cole on a text group. It should be dope.”
Both J. Cole, who is headlining the NBA All-Star Game halftime show, and Smith are Fayetteville natives, and have been friends for a long time. Cole recently name-dropped Smith during his guest verse on 21 Savage’s hit “A Lot.”
If Smith really wants to go full J. Cole for the dunk contest, he should take inspiration from the song titles of some of Cole’s biggest hits. For instance, he could perform the “Middle Child,” where he dunks over a teammate who happens to be the second of three kids in his family. Or, he could execute the “Let Nas Down,” where Nas throws him an alley-oop, only for Smith to miss the dunk terribly. There’s lots of opportunities here, Dennis. You got this.