John Wall questions Dunk Contest titles won by Blake Griffin, LeBron James
NEW ORLEANS — Blake Griffin and LeBron James sit atop just about everyone’s list of dream Slam Dunk Contest participants.
The Point Forward selected both 2014 All-Stars when we put together the ideal six-man Dunk Contest field earlier this month, and Wizards guard John Wall, who is competing in this year’s contest, named both Griffin and James when asked for his dream field at All-Star media availability on Friday.
But Wall, who will dunk for the East alongside Paul George and Terrence Ross, went on to question whether Griffin and James deserved to win their most recent Dunk Contest titles.
In possibly the most extravagant moment in contest history, Griffin jumped over the front of a Kia to throw down an alley-oop to win the NBA’s 2011 contest. In Wall’s eyes, both JaVale McGee — who was his Wizards teammate at the time — and DeMar DeRozan had reason to feel shortchanged by the result.
“[McGee] really should have won,” Wall said. “I thought he should have won. Not even because he’s my teammate just because of the stuff he was doing.”
The 2010 No. 1 pick went on to add that jumping over a car, in the manner which Griffin did, isn’t necessarily a high degree-of-difficulty stunt.
“He really didn’t jump over the car,” Wall explained. “If you can dunk, you can do that. All you’ve got to do is make sure you don’t hit the front of the car, then catch the ball and hang on the rim. I have seen guys really jump over the hood of the car and do windmills and stuff. It was big time because it was a Kia and because it was in L.A.”
The Point Forward selected McGee — who dunked dunking three balls in one hoop and two balls in two hoops during the contest — as one of the best Dunk Contest participants who didn’t win.
DeRozan also impressed with a smooth self alley-oop that he finished after swooping underneath the rim and an off-the-side-of-the-backboard slam.
“Even DeMar, I felt like DeMar got snubbed in that Dunk Contest,” Wall continued. “I’m just giving my opinion and being honest. … In my opinion, I feel like they both [got snubbed].”
Even though James has never competed in an NBA Slam Dunk Contest, despite flirting with the idea on multiple occasions, he did win the 2003 Slam Dunk Contest at the McDonald’s All-American game as a high school senior. That victory was disputed by many, who felt Shannon Brown should have been crowned champion.
“I think LeBron’s not really a big Dunk Contest person,” Wall said. “Some people are more in-game dunkers. You look at [the] McDonald’s game. He won it off — I think LeBron just won it off hype. Shannon Brown could have won that one.”
Wall’s East squad will face off against a West team that includes Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore. The fourth-year guard said he believes his own dunking style is naturally suited for the exhibition format.
“Some people are more in-game dunkers than if you throw them a basketball and you’ve got to dunk in front of all these people,” Wall said. “I’m more of a Dunk Contest person. In games, I don’t try all them because I’m not trying to miss and get taken out of the game or be on ‘Not Top 10.’ In the contest, you can miss and be like, ‘I have three more tries.’”