Dime Q&A: Nate Robinson On Everything Dunk Contest

Although his reel of in-game dunks is about as short as he is, it’s hard to argue with that fact that Nate Robinson is one of the best dunkers in NBA history. He’s competed in four of the last five dunk contests, and won three of them – making him the only three-time dunk champion in NBA history. And when you think about it, at 5-9, it would be incredible if he just did dunked, period. So in anticipation of this year’s All-Star Saturday Night, we got up with Kryptonate to talk about his dunk legacy and this year’s contest.

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Dime: How did you used to prepare for the dunk contest?
Nate Robinson: You have to know the dunks you’re going to do ahead of time and execute. Don’t make a detour; stay on the path to your final destination. That’s what I did. The dunks that I knew, I did, and the rest I practiced. Try and take it form there.

Dime: What’s your fondest dunk contest memory?
NR: Well, my first one I was real nervous, but I was dunking in front of all my favorite players. I have this picture on my wall and you can see Iverson, Jason Terry, Kobe and Chauncey – all those guys were there just watching. Then I have another one with D-Wade, Shaq, LeBron and Chris Paul. The picture is awesome. Oh yeah, and jumping over Dwight. That was just awesome.

Dime: Now that this year’s field is set – Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, JaVale McGee and DeMar DeRozan – who do you think is going to win?
NR: I’m not sure. Is this a big man dunk contest? I’m not sure what happened here. Blake, we see him dunk in the game, but what can he do? All I know is that my boy T-Will (Terrence Williams) needs to be in this thing. But right now you gotta go with Griffin. You see what he does in the games.

Dime: Break him down for us.
NR: I compare Griffin to a Shawn Kemp. Kemp did a dunk contest, and he didn’t do too good. Blake lives for the dunk and the kid is out of this world. He has a lot of flair, a lot of swag to him. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Dime: You’re not the first person to tell us that T-Will should be in it. What would he bring to the table?
NR: Flair, swagger and entertainment. He’s my brother. Me and him do dunks together when we workout, and he always does this dunk that is ridiculous. It’s unbelievable. I can’t tell you what he does, but he has a couple you-scratch-your-head type of dunks. Look at his one-foot windmill. It’s ridiculous.

Dime: What would your ultimate dunk contest be this year?
NR: I would love to see Derrick Rose, T-Will, Blake and James White. For this year, those would be my four guys. I might come out of retirement for that.

Dime: Is there anything you would change about the dunk contest?
NR: I wish they brought back music. You used to be able to pick your own song to come out to. They need to bring that back.

Dime: Who’s your favorite dunker of all time?
NR: Vince Carter is my favorite of all time and the best ever to step foot on this planet. Ever. I would pay to see Vince and James White go at it. That would be awesome. It’s your prototypical two-foot jumper versus one-foot jumper.

Dime: What’s the first dunk contest that you can remember watching as a kid?
NR: I remember watching a lot, but the first one I really remember is of course Vince Carter against Steve Francis (in 2000). I was a big Steve Francis fan at the time.

Dime: Last question. Where are all your trophies?
NR: I gave one to my grandma, and the other two are at my house in Seattle. It’s kind of cool that I won one for each one of my kids.

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