BBNBA: All-Star Saturday Recap

Zack Geogheganover 2 years


Aritcle written by:Zack GeogheganZack Geoghegan


[caption id="attachment_256469" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Hamidou Diallo Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo dunks over Shaquille O'Neal en route to winning the 2019 NBA Dunk Contest. (Photo via Joe Murphy/NBAE Getty Images)[/caption] Three former Kentucky players went into Saturday night's All-Star festivities with a chance to take home an award for their respective competitions. Even though De'Aaron Fox and Devin Booker couldn't win the Skills Challenge or the 3-Point Contest, the overwhelming underdog, Hamidou Diallo, took home the honors of winning the Slam Dunk Contest in impressive fashion. But before we dive into Diallo's creatively eye-popping and delectable yams, let's explore just how far Fox and Booker went in their events.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Fox was bested in round one of this event going up against Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young. Fox and Young were neck-and-neck after running around the "cone drill" portion and Fox took a major lead by slipping his first pass right through the net while Young missed all three of his attempts. Fox got comfortable with his advantage and lazed into his final shot, which allowed Young to come all the way back down the court and hit a desperation shot that snuck in not even a half-a-second before Fox's did. Young would go on to face fellow rookie Luka Doncic in the second round and then lost to eventual champion Jayson Tatum in the final round. Tatum won the event in a similar fashion to how Young beat Fox, by knocking down an even deeper desperation shot.

MTN DEW 3-Point Contest

Of the 10 participants in this event, only the top three highest scores were permitted to advance to the next round. If only it could have been bumped up to four. In the first round, Devin Booker drilled all five of his money ball shots - placed in the right corner, the only area of the court this season where he has not hit a three, according to - but failed to advance to the next round despite a score of 23. Booker finished just behind Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry (27 points in round one), Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (26), and Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (25). Harris would go on to win the event in the final round, scoring 26 points and two more than Curry, to deprive Booker the chance of winning the contest in back-to-back seasons.

AT&T Dunk Contest

Now for the juicy stuff. Hamidou Diallo was far-and-away the best dunker among his peers on Saturday night. Going up against Dennis Smith Jr., John Collins, and Charlotte's own Miles Bridges, Diallo was a severe underdog but blew everyone away with one particular second-round dunk. His first dunk was straight nasty, immediately showcasing his insane leaping ability. His Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, Russell Westbrook, threw him a perfectly placed pass off the side off the backboard that Diallo then proceeded to rifle through the net with a left-handed windmill for a score of a 48. But it was the swag he exuded after the dunk that made me grin from ear to ear. That's a kid who knows he can fly higher than 99 percent of the entire galaxy. His second dunk is the one that will be remembered for years - if not decades - to come. This dunk has already gone down in basketball lore. There's an argument it's one of the most well-executed dunk contest dunks of all-time. It was a perfect infusion of past dunk contests combined with Diallo's unreal athleticism. He honey-dipped (shoutout to Vince Carter) and jumped over SHAQUILLE-FREAKING-O'NEAL (Shaq is 7-foot-1, by the way). He wore a Superman shirt underneath his pre-cut jersey. It was glorious and exactly what this otherwise dull dunk contest needed. What's most amazing is he didn't even need to whip that dunk out just yet. He only required a score of 36 to advance to the next round but decided to break the Internet anyways. Then in the final round, Diallo proved that there was no worthy adversary to his talents. His next dunk was essentially him saying "I promise I can jump higher than anyone in this building" and boy was he correct. Then with his final dunk, Diallo brought in Migos rapper, Quavo, to aide him to victory. Diallo's Thunder teammates including Westbrook, Paul George, and Raymond Felton were all more than happy to brag about their rook's first major NBA accomplishment. “Great dunk,” Diallo said about his second dunk, according to “The atmosphere was great and I came out and gave the crowd what they were looking for.” *Edit* Diallo is the first former Wildcat to win the NBA Dunk Contest since Kenny "Sky" Walker in 1989. John Wall was a part of Team East in 2014 that won the contest, comprised of Paul George and Terrence Ross. Wall won the overall fan voting. It was the first and only year the NBA divided the contest into teams.* And the excitement doesn't end there, folks. Make sure to check out the NBA All-Star Game which takes place Sunday night at 8 p.m. on TNT. Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis (who is expected to play) will both take the court for Team LeBron.
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