By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com
ORLANDO -- Tony Parker was at the bottom of the Skills Challenge in 2003 in Atlanta. Same thing in 2009 in Phoenix.
Which brought him to Saturday -- 2012 -- at Amway Center.
"I was very confident before the competition, finishing last the first two times I did it," he said. "I was very confident."
Parker overcame history and spending the night with his tongue in his cheek to win the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of All-Star Weekend.
The Spurs point guard, a reserve on the Western Conference squad for the main event tonight, clocked the fastest time, 29.2 seconds, in the first round of the obstacle course that requires a chest pass and a bounce pass through a target, a shot from the top of the key and an outlet pass before finishing with a dunk or layup. He was followed by Deron Williams (28.3 seconds), Rajon Rondo and John Wall (32.8), Russell Westbrook (33.8) and Kyrie Irving (42.2), eliminating Westbrook and Irving while forcing Rondo and Wall into an extra run as a tiebreaker to determine the third finalist. Rondo easily won that slalom.
Once in the last round, Parker clocked 32.8 seconds with a circuit clean of mistakes other than needing a second bounce pass. Rondo was second at 34.6 and Williams third with 41.4.
"The first time I did it, it was the first time they did the event and I was with Jason Kidd and Gary Payton and I was nervous because coming from Europe and from France and everything was big, the All-Star game," Parker said. "And then in 2009, I was just bad. I was just bad. This year I was a lot better. I have to say Cheryl Miller called it right before the competition. She said, 'Third time's a charm. You need to win this one.' "
Stephen Curry takes 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Stephen Curry dominated the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, posting the only sub-30 second score of the night to take the title, beating fellow guards Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook.
Nash flies to victory in Taco Bell Skills Competition
Steve Nash tacked on a bit more at the start: Fly to Vancouver, carry the torch in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, fly to Dallas to practice for the Western Conference All-Stars, then do the Skills Challenge. All in a 24-hour-plus period.
Nash out-dueled Deron Williams in the final round to take home his second Taco Bell Skills Challenge title (he also won in 2005).
Top Pick Rose Finishes Skills Challenge With Flair
Finishing off his winning time of 35.3 seconds with an emphatic double-pump reverse dunk, the Chicago Bulls guard became the first rookie to win the PlayStation Skills Challenge when he defeated New Jersey's Devin Harris in the championship round of the 2009 Skills Challenge.
Deron Williams Breezes To Skills Title
Deron Williams shook off some jitters in the first round and was flawless in the finals (no missed shots, every pass through the hoops) to edge Chris Paul for the 2008 Playstation Skills Challenge title. Williams' final time of 25.5 seconds was just one tick off the all-time mark set by Steve Nash in the first round in 2005.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade took home the PlayStation Skills Challenge title for the second straight year, posting a final-round time of 26.4 seconds to best Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant. Wade's first-round time of 31.3 seconds was second only to Bryant (29.8) and eliminated Cleveland's LeBron James (35.4) and New Orleans/Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (39.6).