DENVER, Feb. 16 -- Western Conference All-Star Amaré Stoudemire highlights the field of four in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk to be held on NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online, February 19 in Denver, CO.

The Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will feature four exciting young aerial artists in their first, second or third season in a two-round competition. In addition to Stoudemire, Chris Andersen and rookie J.R. Smith of the New Orleans Hornets and rookie Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks will participate.

The contestants in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will be competing for $60,000 in prize money, with $25,000 going to the winner. Second place is worth $15,000, third place and fourth place will receive $10,000 each.

Stoudemire will do double duty at All-Star 2005.
(NBAE Images)
For the first time, the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk participants will be competing on behalf of charitable organizations and will be cheered on by children from each organization. Stoudemire is competing on behalf of I.G. Homes Boys & Girls Club in Phoenix, Josh Smith will be representing John H. Harland Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta and J.R. Smith and Andersen will both be participating on behalf of the Second Harvest Kids Café in New Orleans. Also, through Sprite's Write-In Thirst Campaign, four lucky winners will be matched with the dunkers and the consumer paired with the winning dunker will collect $25,000.

The judges of this year’s Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk are the participants from the inaugural ABA dunk contest that took place in Denver in 1976. Joining the 1976 slam dunk contest winner Julius Erving are George Gervin, Artis Gilmore, David Thompson and Muhsin, formerly known as Larry Kenon.

The Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will be broadcast live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online and will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, RadioShack Shooting Stars and PlayStation Skills Challenge. NBA All-Star Saturday Night will be televised live nationally on TNT in the United States and on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada at 6 p.m. MT/ 8 p.m. ET. Live audio broadcasts are available on ESPN Radio and on in 15 languages.

As a part of the NBA's wireless All-Star package, the Verizon Wireless: 2005 NBA All-Star TXT Play will provide its customers with the opportunity to predict who they think will win this year's Sprite Rising Slam Dunk through a wireless poll sent to their wireless phones.

Sprite is the world’s leading lemon-lime soft drink and has been the official soft drink of the NBA since 1994. The NBA and players like LeBron James reinforce the brand’s “Obey Your Thirst” message. For almost 20 years, Sprite has celebrated urban youth culture by embracing the music, fashion and attitude through which young people express themselves.

Attached is a list of previous winners and the lineup for the 2005 Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk:

1984—Larry Nance, Phoenix
1985—Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1986—Spud Webb, Atlanta
1987—Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988—Michael Jordan, Chicago
1989—Kenny Walker, New York
1990—Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta
1991—Dee Brown, Boston
1992—Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix
1993—Harold Miner, Miami
1994—Isaiah Rider, Minnesota
1995—Harold Miner, Miami
1996—Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers
1997—Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
2000—Vince Carter, Toronto
2001—Desmond Mason, Seattle
2002—Jason Richardson, Golden State
2003—Jason Richardson, Golden State
2004—Fred Jones, Indiana

Participant, Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Charity
Chris Andersen, New Orleans F 6’10” 228 Second Harvest Kids Café (New Orleans)
J.R. Smith, New Orleans G 6’6” 220 Second Harvest Kids Café (New Orleans)
Josh Smith, Atlanta F 6’9” 225 John H. Harland Boys & Girls Club (Atlanta)
Amaré Stoudemire, Phoenix C 6’10” 245 I.G. Homes Boys & Girls Club (Phoenix)