Josh Smith nails two 50-point dunks in the final
Q&A with Josh Smith and Dominique Wilkins
Feb. 19, 2005 - Atlanta Hawks rookie Josh Smith consulted with a veteran of dunk contests, Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, before nailing two 50-point dunks to defeat Amare Stoudemire in the final round of the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk title on Saturday night.
Smith swapped his Hawks jersey for a 'Nique throwback before breaking out the Human Highlight Film's signature windmill jam, bringing the ball to his knees, head level with the rim. On his final dunk, Smith elevated with a 360-degree jam.
Here's what Josh Smith and Dominique Wilkins had to say following the event.
Q. How much advice did Dominique give you going into this? Did you receive some from him?
Josh Smith: Yes, when I got chosen, Dominique helped me a lot. He was just telling me that start with my good dunks early and just come out with a lot of enthusiasm. He helped me along the way.
Q. When did you guys decide to take the jersey off and put Dominique's jersey on, and talk about the origin of that.
Smith: Well, I kind of surprised him with that. He didn't know I was going to do that, but I was going to do a dunk symbolizing what he did in his previous years. I did that and he was real excited and shocked that I would do that.
Q. Can you talk about, did you watch Dominique before, growing up, or see any footage of him and what he's meant to you as a mentor, if at all?
Smith: I grew up watching him. He's been a mentor. He was good all over the place. He had post-up, jumpshot and just getting his teammates involved. He was a real big person in my life to follow.
Q. You guys talked afterwards; what did you say to each other?
Dominique Wilkins: Those are trade secrets, we can't give those away because we're coming back next year. (Laughter).
Q. After you saw Nash and Amare's dunk, throwing the ball off of Nash's head, did you worry a little bit? Did you think you have to do something to top that? Did it psyche you at all?
Smith: Yeah, it did. That was a good dunk by Amare and Steve, and I knew I had to pull something out of my hat, you know, to get by and win.
Q. Did you decide to go with the Dr. J, the Dominique, was that your idea to honor the legends in the home of the dunk contest here?
Smith: Yes, it was. I had a little help, though, but I knew I was going to do a tribute dunk for Dominique.
Q. What did you think of his whole performance from beginning to end?
Wilkins: Well, you know, he was talking about after he won, him, you know, filling my shoes. But he has his own shoes now. He don't have to fill anybody's shoes. He shocked me with some of the stuff he did.
I think the whole jersey thing kind of made everybody a little nervous. Like I say, he shocked me with that one. That was outstanding.
You have to give Amare credit because the dunk he did was pretty nice. That's pretty hard because it's a timing dunk. But Josh, I think his athletic ability really shows well, especially on television, a crowd, you have everybody anticipating something outstanding coming. He didn't let them down. I think he exceeded far more than what they thought he could do.
Q. There's only two ways that that dunk could have gone, sheer glory or true embarrassment, were you ever scared at one point?
Smith: No, I knew I had the dunk all along. When I came down here on Thursday, I worked on it and I was confident in making that dunk.