NEW YORK — Zach LaVine made the Dunk Contest fun again.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Timberwolves rookie brought the All-Star Saturday night Dunk Contest back. We thought that before only to see it fade away once again.
But at least for a night, LaVine brought the dunk contest back — it was must watch. It was thrilling. In part that was because he started out with a bang.
Next he did this.
Those two dunks had the crowd in Barclays Center on their feet and people referencing Vince Carter.
“I came up with (those dunks) in high school, I’ve been working on them since high school,” LaVine said after the game.
That he could do those dunks in high school is just frightening. But the rookie knew hot to play to the crowd.
“I just wanted to come out here, put a jolt through the crowd, get everybody out of their seats,” LaVine said.
He did that.
But it wasn’t just LaVine, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo had an insane first dunk as well.
Mason Plumlee had a couple nice dunks, but the Nets’ center laughed at the idea he had any home court advantage.
“Zach would have won this no matter where we held it,” Plumlee said.
There were high hopes for the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Greek Freak may be one of those people who is a phenomenal in-game dunker who can’t really translate that to an exhibition setting.
LaVine not only one but brings hope for future dunk contests — he said he wants to do this again. Maybe defend his title in Toronto in 2016. The best quote of the night came when asked which one of those dunks was the one Andrew Wiggins tweeted about, saying it almost made him faint.
“That’s the funny thing, I didn’t do that one,” LaVine said. “I got some tricks in the bag still.”
If the Dunk Contest is going to continue to thrive, it needs more star power. LaVine said he would try to help with that by recruiting Wiggins to do it next year (and it’s not hard to picture the Canadian wanting to do it in his native land). Maybe other bigger names will want to challenge LaVine.
But LaVine brought the Dunk Contest back. At least for a night.