While everyone will be waiting to see if Nate Robinson can make it three in a row, the search for the nation’s best amateur dunker will culminate when four finalists compete in the inaugural Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown during NBA All-Star Weekend next week. And although the League couldn’t get him to compete, LeBron James will be among the panel of judges who will help determine the winner, along with his boy Drake (who will also perform) and NBA Legend Darryl Dawkins.
Each participant will perform two dunks in the first round. The two with the highest score from the judges will advance to the second and final round. In the finals, each participant will complete two dunks and fans will determine the winner via text message. The champion will receive a $10,000 grand prize and the opportunity to present the trophy to the winner of the Sprite Slam Dunk competition at the American Airlines Center the following night.
Here are the four finalists with some video evidence:
Willie Barnes, 6-6, a.k.a. “Flyte”
Barnes, 28, hailing from Wilson, N.C., brings 10 years of dunking experience to the Showdown and is the winner of the semifinal competition in Washington, D.C.
Taurian Fontenette, 6-2, a.k.a. “Air Up There”
Fontenette, 27, of Hitchcock, Texas, is an 11–year dunking veteran who won the semifinal competition in Dallas.
Haneef Munir, 5-10, a.k.a. “Young Hollywood”
Los Angeles native Munir, 21, has been dunking for more than seven years and won the semifinal competition in his hometown.
Carlos Smothers, 6-0, a.k.a. “Los”
Smothers, 21, from Union City, Calif., is the only finalist to clinch a spot in the Showdown through the online competition by uploading his dunk clip to NBA.com/dunk. He has been dunking since he was 13.
Who do you think is going to win?
The Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown will take place during the NBA All-Star Jam Session at the Dallas Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 12 at 9:00 PM EST. The event will be streamed live on NBA.com and will air on NBA TV on Saturday, Feb.13 at 6:00 p.m. EST.
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