It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it’s been six years since Josh Smith put his name in the NBA All-Star history books with an impressive Slam Dunk contest showing that earned him the 2005 dunk championship.
In what was argubaly the best contest since Vince went HAM in 2000 — featuring a J.R. Smith behind-the-back dunk and a Steve Nash alley-oop header to Amar’e Stoudemire — Josh wowed the Denver crowd with a windmill over a seated Kenyon Martin, and another powerful windmill while wearing a Dominique Wilkins jersey, among others. With 2011 All-Star Saturday Night around the corner, we got up with Josh before last night’s Hawks/Knicks game to break down this year’s dunk contestants and discuss jammin’ strategy:
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Dime: As a former Slam Dunk champion, can you give any tips as to how to prepare for the contest?
Josh Smith: Don’t miss (laughs). First and foremost, you definitely have to be creative. I mean, all the dunks have been done before; it’s rare to see a new dunk. You have to add some flair and finesse and be real creative with your dunking.
Dime: Did you have a game plan when you won it in ‘05?
JS: Yeah, I had a routine of four dunks. I just prayed that it wouldn’t be a tie, because I’d have to come off the dome with something original otherwise (laughs). But I had a set of dunks that I prepared and my main concern was just making them.
Dime: Who is your favorite going into this year’s contest?
JS: Blake Griffin is promising. I think the power of his dunks will outweigh anything above anybody else’s because he dunks the ball so hard and gets up so high. I think that’s what is going to catch everybody’s eye.
Dime: What do you think of JaVale McGee’s chances?
JS: He’s tall, so I think he’s going to be like a Dwight Howard. He’ll get up real high and be impressive.
Dime: What about Ibaka and DeRozan?
JS: I think DeRozan is going to put up a good effort too. He’s one of my favorites as well. But I haven’t really seen Serge do a lot of stuff, so I don’t know what to expect.
Dime: If you could add four more dunkers to the field, who would it be?
JS: I would go with Sonny Weems … DeAndre Jordan … Hmmm. Who else can jump?
Dime: J.R. Smith?
JS: Yeah, but I’m trying to go with somebody who’d want to do it. J.R.’s done it two or three times, so he’s always in there. You know what? I’d go with (Jeremy) Evans from Utah. People are talking about this other guy in Detroit … he’s a rookie. I heard he could do some funky stuff too …
Dime: Terrico White?
JS: Yup! Yeah, him!
Dime: Who is your favorite dunker of all-time?
JS: Vince Carter.
Dime: Going into All-Star break, do you guys look at the standings and look who is ahead or behind the Hawks?
JS: Nah, we just try to worry about what’s in front of us and our next opponent. We really don’t look ahead or look at the standings we just try to go out there and play basketball, and all that stuff will take care of itself.