NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2006 – The 2005 Slam Dunk champion, Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks, will return to defend his crown in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition to be held on NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by AOL, Feb. 18 at the Toyota Center in Houston. In addition to the reigning champion, the 21st Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition will feature Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers, and rookies Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks and Hakim Warrick of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Smith returns to defend his crown.
(S. Cunningham/NBAE/Getty)
The contestants in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will be competing for $89,750 in prize money, with $35,000 going to the winner. Second place is worth $22,500, third place and fourth place will receive $16,125 each.

The judges of this year’s Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition will include Hall of Famer and former Rockets star Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, who helped lead his hometown team to the NBA title in 1995; Hall of Famer and former Rockets and University of Houston star Elvin Hayes; Hall of Famer and former Houston Rockets star Moses Malone, the third-leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer in NBA history; former Rockets star and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith; and former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

The Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk will be broadcast live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by AOL, which 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 8 p.m. ET.

The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19, will air live on TNT, Rogers Sportsnet and ESPN Radio at 8 p.m. EST. The game will also be telecast in 215 countries and broadcast on

See A.I 2.0 fly on Saturday night.

NBA All-Star brings together the top NBA players and performers for a week of competition, community service and world-class entertainment. Among the many events that reach more than 3.1 billion people in over 200 countries are the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge; Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk; Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout; PlayStation Skills Challenge; RadioShack Shooting Stars; NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Nokia, the league's interactive event that attracts more than 100,000 fans each year; and, the 55th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19.

Sprite is the world’s leading lemon-lime soft drink and has been the official soft drink of the NBA since 1994. The brand's association with the NBA and players like LeBron James help to reinforce Sprite’s straightforward attitude and “Obey Your Thirst” message.

Attached is a list of previous winners and the lineup for the 2006 Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk:

Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk Year-by-Year Winners

1984—Larry Nance, Phoenix

At 5-9, Robinson is the shortest participant in the field.
(Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty)
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
2005—Josh Smith, Atlanta

Participant, Team Pos. Ht. Wt.
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia F F 6’6” 207
Nate Robinson, New York G 5’9” 180
Josh Smith, Atlanta F 6’9” 225
Hakim Warrick, Memphis F 6’9” 219