OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder rookie guard Hamidou Diallo, the NBA’s slam dunk contest winner this season, underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow on Wednesday.
The team said he is expected to return to basketball-related activities in about four weeks. Dr. David Altchek performed the surgery in New York.
Diallo appeared in 51 games for the Thunder this season and averaged 3.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. He has not played in the first-round playoff series against Portland.
After one season at Kentucky, the Thunder took him with the 45th pick in the 2018 draft. In the dunk contest, he won the crowd over in the first round by dunking over Shaquille O’Neal and hanging on the rim by his elbow as he ripped his jersey open his jersey to show a “Superman” shirt.
Hamidou Diallo is Superman for a night, wins 2019 Slam Dunk Contest
CHARLOTTE, N.C.— The Oklahoma City Thunder have more athletes on the wing than those couple of guys whose names you know playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday.
They have Hamidou Diallo, and he can climb the ladder with the best of them and knows how to throw it down.
Diallo had the best dunk of the night — a Superman-themed elbow dunk over Shaq — and is deservingly your 2019 All-Star Dunk Contest.
The problem with practicing a dunk over Shaq is the man himself is not around to practice with.
“It’s tough,” Diallo said. “My man Chuck (Millan) from Team Flight Brothers, we tried a bunch of things. We tried having people stand, putting basketballs on top of them, just to make sure I could clear the shot. So it was tough.”
Diallo edged out the Knicks’ Dennis Smith Jr. in the Finals. On his first Finals dunk, Smith tried to go with a between the legs 360 but missed twice. He changed it up for his third and final dunk attempt, a high bounce tomahawk, but he missed that one too. The judges generously gave him a 33, but he was destined to lose after that.
Smith still put on a show. On his second finals dunk, he brought out Stephen Curry and Dwyane Wade, taking the pass from Curry and leaping over Wade, and after a couple of misses he finally nailed it — for a full 50 from the judges (which the crowd in the arena didn’t agree with).
The contest itself was hit and miss (and for stretches much more miss), and the crowd in the arena did not seem into it, but there were highlights.
John Collins came out first and had one of the more underrated dunks of the night, slapping the backboard on one side then reverse dunking on the other. The judges gave him 8s across the board, which was low for a high degree of difficulty dunk.
Diallo was next and pulled Russell Westbrook out of the crowd. Westbrook threw it off the side of the backboard and Diallo grabbed it and threw it down. His 48 (out of 50) had him in the lead after the first round.
In the second round, Diallo brought out Shaq for that dunk of the night. That got him into the Finals.
Smith Jr. was next and started with a high bounce catch and dunk but had to do it a couple times after he missed the first one. His second dunk was one of the best of the evening — he brought out J Cole (Sunday’s halftime performer), put on Cole’s high school jersey, then did not hold back.
Charlotte’s Miles Bridges had the hometown crowd behind him, but when he missed every dunk attempt in the first round his night was destined to be short. For his second attempt, he brought out Charlotte legend Muggsy Bogues, rocked the Larry Johnson jersey, then went off the side of the backboard with Kemba Walker for a perfect 50.
Oklahoma City Thunder guards Raymond Felton and Dennis Schröder have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area during an altercation and participating in the altercation which spilled over into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. As part of the same incident, Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez has been fined $25,000 for escalating the altercation, Thunder forward Jerami Grant has been fined $20,000 for escalating the altercation, and Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been fined $15,000 for instigating the altercation by shoving Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.
The NBA automatically suspends players one game for leaving the bench during a fight. It’s a good rule that players know. Even peacemakers, like Schroder and Felton appeared to be, can easily escalate situations. In the heat of an altercation, more people entering the fracas tends to create more hostility.
Monday’s fight spilled over the sideline near the Thunder’s bench, giving out-of-the-game Oklahoma City players a little more leeway to be involved. Schroder got right in the midst of the action, and his suspension was clear. But Hamidou Diallo was right behind Felton in the area between the bench and the fight. Apparently, Felton went just too far, and Diallo didn’t.
These suspensions will significantly affect the Thunder.
They’ll miss both their backup point guards against the Kings tonight. Oklahoma City must get creative when Westbrook rests – if Westbrook rests.
The Thunder are also in line to save $293,090 in luxury tax. Because Oklahoma City is so far into the repeater tax, even these one-game suspensions matter so much to the bottom line.
Schroder will lose $106,897. Felton will lose $16,510. Of course, Lopez ($25,000), Grant ($20,000) and Dunn ($15,000) also lose money. One-game suspensions for leaving the bench during a fight always trigger debate about that rule. But at least the fines seem fair here.
Hamidou Diallo’s frightening leg injury fortunately turns out to be just sprain
Wednesday night it was Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo who went down with what appeared to be a gruesome injury and had to be carted off the court. Here’s a video of the injury, but be warned the injury looks bad and may not be suitable for everyone to watch.
Fortunately, however, when doctors looked at it later in the locker room it was diagnosed as “just” a severe sprain.
Thunder team spokesperson says that any severe lower body injuries have been ruled out for Hamidou Diallo by Warriors team physicians. He’ll be evaluated further tomorrow in OKC.