Robinson takes home dunk contest trophy
Nate Robinson is the NBA’s first three-time slam dunk champion, and
that’s enough for him. The 5-foot-9 New York Knicks guard says he’s
done with the marquee event of Saturday night’s All-Star
“No, no, no, no, no. I don’t think I can bear that anymore.
I’m just happy with this third one,” he said. “This is the last
Robinson barely won another title, garnering 51 percent of
the fan vote to hold off Toronto rookie DeMar DeRozan in a largely
forgettable dunk contest.
DeRozan advanced to the final round after getting a perfect
score of 50 on his second dunk of the first round.
After bringing several Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders on the
court with him, Robinson’s final dunk came when he threw the ball
off the backboard, grabbed it and turned midair for a two-handed
“The best thing I brought with me, the Dallas cheerleaders of
course,” Robinson said. “I asked if they could help me out with the
dunk. They did their job and I did mine.”
While not using the cheerleaders as props – “They’re way too
beautiful for that,” he said – Robinson celebrated his final dunk
by grabbing a pair of silver and blue pompoms from one of them and
waving them in the air.
Fan voting determined the final round after DeRozan advanced
by getting five 10s from a judging panel that included former dunk
champions Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkins. The 5-foot-7 Webb, a
Dallas native, won the event the only other time it was held in his
hometown in 1986.
Robinson won the dunk title as a rookie in 2006, then beat
Dwight Howard to win again last year.
DeRozan’s perfect score came after he caught a pass off the
side of the backboard and slammed it with his right hand on the
other side of the hoop.
DeRozan got a spot in the competition by winning the
first-ever All-Star Slam Dunk-In, beating Los Angeles Clippers
guard Eric Gordon at halftime of the rookie challenge on Friday
Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace and Shannon Brown of the Los
Angeles Lakers were eliminated after the first round.
While Robinson reigned again, Boston’s Paul Pierce arrived
for All-Star weekend wanting to make up for an embarrassing
Consider it done.
Pierce won the 3-Point Shootout, proving his lackluster
performance the last time he was in the competition was an
“I worked on it, I really took pride in it. In ’02 I stunk it
up. I wanted to come in here and put on a show,” Pierce said. “I
had to work on getting the technique down and knowing what side to
pull the ball from, stuff like that. I knew if I got hot I could
Pierce had 20 points in the final round, making all five of
the 2-point money balls, to beat Golden State’s Stephen Curry (17)
and Denver’s Chauncey Billups (14).
When Pierce last competed in the Shootout in 2002, he scored
only eight points – what he called leading into this week’s
competition “almost a record low.”
Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash also was a winner Saturday
night, beating a trio of 20-somethings to capture another Skills
Challenge title six days after he turned 36.
With a time of 29.9 seconds in the final round of the
obstacle course-like skills competition, Nash beat Dallas native
and 2008 champion Deron Williams of Utah, who is 11 years younger.
It’s been quite a run this weekend for the Canadian, who
helped light the Olympic cauldron at Friday’s opening ceremonies in
Vancouver, British Columbia. He also will be on the court Sunday
for the All-Star game in the same area where he played from
“I got my second wind,” said Nash, who jokingly asked his
younger opponents before the competition if he could start from the
second station instead of doing the entire course.
Nash, whose other Skills Challenge title came in 2005, didn’t
have any practice on the course before the competition.
“I tried my best without my warmup,” Nash said. “I missed the
run-through because I was a little disjointed from the trip. … I
was kind of hoping for the best.”
Nash completed every obstacle in the final round in one try –
save for a second shot from the top of the key. Williams was
perfect until needing five shots at the outlet pass, when he had
already exceeded Nash’s winning time.
Milwaukee rookie guard Brandon Jennings and Oklahoma City’s
Russell Westbrook, 21, were eliminated after the first round.
Westbrook replaced defending champion Derrick Rose of Chicago, who
sat out with a bruised right hip.
Defending 3-point champion Daequan Cook of Miami was
eliminated after the first round. His 15 points were the same as
Phoenix’s Channing Frye and New York’s Danilo Gallinari. Curry had
18 points in the first round, while Pierce and Billups had 17.
In Saturday night’s opening event, hometown favorite and
former Nash teammate Dirk Nowitzki hit a shot from midcourt to cap
Team Texas’ victory in the Shooting Stars competition.
Texas, which also consisted of San Antonio Silver Stars
player Becky Hammon and former Houston guard Kenny Smith, beat Team
Los Angeles with a time of 34.3 in the finals. The Texas trio
needed 13 shots to complete the final round.
Lakers All-Star Pau Gasol, former NBA player Brent Barry and
Marie Ferdinand-Harris of the Los Angeles Sparks came in second,
finishing in 55.2 seconds.
Saturday night’s events were at the American Airlines Center,
but Sunday’s All-Star game will be at Cowboys Stadium, where more
than 90,000 people are expected to attend.
“The whole weekend is special because Dallas can showcase
what we have. The new stadium is going to be amazing,” Nowitzki
said. “We’ll all be part of history in the biggest crowd and this
is a good way to start it off.”