NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson III is the NBA’s new dunk king, with an assist from Indiana teammate Paul George, the Pacers’ mascot and a Pacers cheerleader.
Robinson leaped over all three, snagging the ball from George along the way before finishing with an emphatic two-handed reverse jam, giving him a perfect score — and the title — on his final dunk Saturday night in the NBA All-Star slam dunk competition.
Pacers swingman Glenn Robinson III outlasted Suns rookie Derrick Jones Jr. to take the top grade in the 2017 Slam Dunk Contest.
The Houston Rockets guard, formerly of New Orleans, needed an extra round to win the 2017 3-point contest.
Grades are in after 7-3 Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis defeated Gordon Hayward to win the 2017 Skills Challenge.
“I know I’m a jumper,” Robinson said. “Like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way, but when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”
Robinson edged Phoenix’s Derrick Jones Jr., who was done in by his failure to complete his difficult first dunk in the two-dunk final round.
Jones still managed a perfect score on his second dunk, when he received a bounce-pass in the paint, put it between his legs and threw down a left-handed jam. But Robinson made sure it wasn’t enough.
Both dunk finalists delighted the crowd with soaring slams over teammates and other dunks that showcased the explosive spring in their vertical leaps.
“I thought I would go up against Derrick in the finals,” Robinson said. “I’ve seen the things that he can do. That guy can jump.”
Robinson’s first dunk was one of his best. He leap-frogged one man sitting on another’s shoulders, grabbed the ball from the elevated man’s hands and slammed it home. He said 2000 dunk champ Vince Carter was one of his primary influences, along with Michael Jordan, of course.
“Vince Carter did one of his best dunks first, and it kind of intimidated people. That’s what I wanted to go out and do,” Robinson said. “Who knows if it worked, but they missed some of their dunks, and it gave me a little more room.”
Afterward, he couldn’t take his hands off of the trophy — a gold basketball — and made it sound as if that would remain the case through the weekend.
“I know I’m not letting go of her right there,” he said. “She’s following me everywhere I go. It’s Mardi Gras. We’re going to have a good time.”
Jones jumped over four teammates, including Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss, in the first round. Jones also drew roars from the crowd when he took a pass off the side of the backboard from Booker with his right hand and put the ball between his legs to his left for a roundhouse jam.
The dunk that cost him was a bold one. He tried to leap a friend and the Suns’ gorilla mascot, grab the ball on the way over, put it between his legs and then finish with a windmill. But he couldn’t get the dunk to go down in the allotted three attempts.
DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers and Aaron Gordon of Orlando were unable to emerge from the first round. Jordan dunked over DJ turntables, and Gordon dunked after receiving a bounce pass from a drone that had flown over the court with the “Star Wars” theme music playing.
Gordon wins 3-point contest in tiebreaker
And Gordon did it in New Orleans, where he played the previous five seasons before leaving last summer in free agency.
Gordon posted a score of 21 in the tiebreaker, and Irving, the 2013 winner, had 18. They had finished with a score of 20 apiece in the final round, so they each had to shoot 25 more balls to decide it.
“I wasn’t really concentrating on how many I made,” Gordon said. “It’s all about just knocking down the shot. I never counted in my head or anything. I just go out there and just shoot the ball.”
Golden State splash brother Klay Thompson, last year’s champion, was stunningly eliminated in the first round, missing a final shot from the corner that could have put him through to the next round ahead of Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.
Porzingis best in Skills Challenge
Big men continue to reign supreme in the NBA All-Star skills competition, after Kristaps Porzingis, the New York Knicks’ 7-foot-3 forward, defeated Utah’s Gordon Hayward in the finals.
Those vanquished in earlier rounds included guards John Wall of Washington and Isaiah Thomas of Boston, because they couldn’t make their initial 3-pointers required to close out the course before Hayward did.
Porzingis emerged from the big men’s division, which included the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and Denver’s Nikola Jokic.
Porzingis and Hayward were neck and neck until the end of the course, but Porzingis hit his 3 first to end it.
“It’s a good feeling that I’m able to showcase my skill with my size and show to the kids that you’re capable of doing that even if you’re tall and lanky like me,” Porzingis said. “I think a lot of kids now growing up will improve those perimeter skills just seeing guys like — I don’t want to mention myself, but big guys with perimeter skills that can do it.”
The three-round, obstacle-course competition tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills. Karl-Anthony Towns, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 7-foot center, won last year’s competition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.