Glenn Robinson III Q&A: Dunk Contest Title, All-Star Weekend And More
At this point, it’s safe to say that DeMarcus Cousins getting traded signaled the end of a very brief All-Star afterglow. Mardi Gras is still raging in New Orleans, but the NBA’s annual party disguised as basketball-related-activities is a wrap. And now that we’ve had a little time to reflect, of the best on-court stories from the festivities in New Orleans was the emergence of dunk contest champion Glenn Robinson III.
Robinson, of course, took care of business in Saturday’s showcase event, taking a couple weeks of preparation and spinning them into an impressive victory. His impressive display of jumping over other people took the cake over presumptive favorite Aaron Gordon, dark-horse pick Derrick Jones, and DeAndre Jordan (who decided it would be a great idea to dunk over DJ Khaled). Amid a solid season contributing to the Indiana rotation, the third-year forward and son of former added a nice piece of hardware to his mantle.
The Pacers, currently sixth in the East, head back to practice Wednesday and begin the stretch run Friday at home against the Grizzlies. Robinson took a break from one day of well-deserved vacation in Miami to give The Crossover the scoop on his big weekend.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Jeremy Woo: So who’s the best dunker in your family now?
Glenn Robinson III: Oh, it’s definitely me now. I got a title. They don’t have that. (Laughs)
JW: Coming into the contest, looking at who you were up against, what was your strategy? I know you said you felt like you were being slept on, your grandma thought you were being slept on…
GRIII: Yeah, I think going into it, a lot of people didn’t really expect me to win, I think they thought I was just a guy that the NBA threw in there that didn’t have a chance. My strategy, my first dunk, I just wanted to kind of shut down the place. One of my favorite dunkers is Vince Carter, and when he did that competition, his first dunk, he tried to intimidate all his opponents. I think that’s something that I tried to do.
JW: Now that you’ve won, do you worry about getting pegged as a dunker? You’re averaging career-highs, had a couple good games coming into the break, how do you get people to notice the all-around package?
GRIII: Yeah, that’s definitely something — I’m good friends with (two-time contest champion) Zach LaVine, and and that’s something he had to do, show everyone he had the overall game, and I think he did a great job of that. As far as me, I just really want to continue and do what I do, and I think everyone will see my game is more than just dunking.
JW: Did you ask Zach for any advice coming in?
GRIII: Not really, he just called and said enjoy it, have fun. But we did use to mess around in the gym, try a bunch of crazy stuff. He knew I was going to win. I was his pick.
JW: So how did you come up with the four dunks? How many ideas got thrown out in the creative process?
GRIII: Yeah, it’s tough because everything’s already been done in competition. Really, it’s just about getting the crowd involved and just trying to do new things, it’s not too crazy. I had a little bit of help from Team Flight Brothers, my guy Chuck, he was just giving me some ideas, helping me work on some techniques for a couple of the dunks.
JW: Ok, random question, who were the two guys you jumped over on the first dunk? Were they people you knew? I assume you didn’t just pull them out of the crowd…
GRIII: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. My cousin was actually the black guy on top of the stack—we called it the stack dunk. My cousin was the dude on top, and the guy from up under, he helps out with Chuck, he’s a professional dunker actually, he knows a bit about it and he was helping me. He originally helped in practice, and he was pretty strong, and I was like, look, I need somebody that’s not gonna fall over just in case something happens (laughs).
JW: Yeah, no. You hate to see that. So growing up, was this something you always wanted to do?
GRIII: As a kid I dreamed about being in the dunk contest, and I think for a lot of people, back in the day, the dunk contest was the thing to watch. I think it still is, a lot of people go to All-Star weekend just for the contest. I’ve always dreamed about that.
JW: Are you already planning to defend the title?
GRIII: We’ll see, we’ll see, I’m just gonna enjoy this right now. But definitely, next year I gotta have my creativeness down and try to get some more time to practice. But hey man, it’s gonna be in L.A. next year, I might have to do that.
JW: If you could jump over any person in the world, who would it be?
GRIII: Uhh…probably Barack Obama. That’d be crazy. I’d be nervous jumping over him though.
JW: He is around these days. Call in a favor. Anyway, you’re an Indiana guy, how did it feel to win one for your home state in the Pacers jersey?
GRIII: It’s very cool. I think the only other guy to win it was Fred Jones…
JW: Man, that was so long ago. I barely remember that.
GRIII: Exactly. (Laughs) So yeah, it’s definitely an honor. I believe they’re going to present it to me on Friday at our game, it’ll be cool for all the fans to see.
JW: Definitely. All that aside, how was your weekend on whole?
GRIII: It was great. My first All-Star weekend. With it being in New Orleans, Mardi Gras, traffic was kinda crazy, it was a little hectic, everybody being there and excited for the game.
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JW: Besides, you know, winning the dunk contest, did you get to meet anyone unexpected? I saw you took a photo with Chance (the Rapper)…
GRIII: Yeah, that was probably one of the coolest moments. Because during my first dunk, I’m trying to get the crowd hype, and they’re all probably sitting there like “who’s this guy?” And then Chance stood up and started clapping. So that actually got me going a little bit. The crowd kind of followed him. That was pretty cool.
JW: Before I let you go, last question, you obviously saw Boogie got traded after the game, what was your reaction to that news?
GRIII: It was crazy. Man, they didn’t get much, Buddy Hield and some picks, that’s crazy. I don’t think anybody had thought about that trade. It kind of came out of nowhere.
JW: Yeah. We’re all still a little shocked.