Anfernee Simons made history at halftime of the NBA All-Star game on Sunday by becoming the first Portland Trail Blazer to win the 2021 AT&T Slam Dunk.
Simons captured the trophy by defeating Knicks rookie Obi Toppin in the finals of a competition that also included Cassius Stanley, the first player on a two-way contract to compete in the AT&T Slam Dunk.
Simons rose high above the basket for his contest-winning dunk and appeared to be attempting to kiss the rim before stopping just short on the successful one-handed jam.
The tallest competitor in the field at 6-foot-9, Toppin took the ball in between his legs from just beyond the free-throw line for a one-handed jam in the finals.
The majority of the fireworks came in the early going of the AT&T Slam Dunk because each of the competitors completed successful jams in front of the panel of judges that included former dunk contest winners in Spud Webb, Dee Brown, Josh Smith, Jason Richardson and Dominique Wilkins.
Having not yet netted a dunk in an NBA game, Stanley started off the opening round of the competition by throwing himself an alley-oop, before catching the ball, taking it through his legs, and completing the jam with his left hand. The judges gave Stanley a total score of 44.
Next up, Toppin rocked the rim with a two-handed reverse tomahawk dunk. Toppin tossed himself a lob, caught the ball on the bounce and took it through his legs before the jam which resulted in a total score of 48 from the panel.
Simons concluded the opening round with a score of 46 on his first dunk attempt. With the ball stationed atop the square on the backboard on a miniature Nerf basket, Simons jumped off both legs and yanked the ball off the mini hoop for a two-handed jam into the main basket. The attempt resulted in a total score of 46 from the five-man panel of judges.
Anfernee Simons' dunk from the AT&T 5G Slam Cam!
— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2021
Considered by many to be the favorite due to his 44-inch vertical leap at the NBA Combine, Stanley was eliminated in the second round after missing his first attempt and finishing with a basic one-handed dunk that led to a score of 37.
The second round of the competition produced the most stellar jams of the night from both Simons and Toppin.
Toppin scored a 46 on his second-round dunk by stationing New York Knicks teammate Julius Randle under the basket along with his father, Obi Toppin Sr. Toppin missed his first attempt, but wowed everyone in attendance by clearing his father and teammate on the second try of a windmill jam with the ball cuffed in between his right hand and wrist. Toppin scored a 46 on that dunk.
Simons topped that by paying homage to Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady. Simons put on a McGrady Toronto jersey and mimicked the former Raptor’s jam from the 2000 All-Star Game. Simons tossed up a lob and completed a 360-degree two-handed jam. The judges gave Simons four 10s and a nine on that dunk for a total score of 49.
–Michael C. Wright, NBA.com
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About the 2021 AT&T Slam Dunk
A new AT&T Slam Dunk champion was crowned this year as first-time participants Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers, Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers and Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks competed for the title on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The 36th AT&T Slam Dunk took place at halftime of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, airing on TNT and ESPN Radio.
— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) March 3, 2021
Simons (pronounced SIGH-mons) is averaging 8.2 points and shooting a career-high 40.7 percent from three-point range in his third NBA season. The 6-3 guard was selected by Portland with the 24th pick in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm.
Stanley, a 6-5 rookie guard on a two-way contract, was selected by the Pacers with the 54th pick in NBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm. He recorded a maximum vertical leap of 44 inches in the 2020 NBA Draft Combine, tied for the third-highest mark since 2000.
Toppin, a 6-9 rookie forward, was selected by the Knicks with the eighth pick in NBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm. As a redshirt sophomore at the University of Dayton last season, Toppin led the nation in dunks and was named the consensus National Player of the Year.
Led by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, five past AT&T Slam Dunk champions will serve as the judges. Wilkins (1985 and 1990 champion) will be joined by Dee Brown (1991), Jason Richardson (2002 and 2003), Josh Smith (2005) and Spud Webb (1986). Wilkins, Smith and Webb won their Slam Dunk titles while representing the Atlanta Hawks. Richardson won the last Slam Dunk competition in Atlanta, in 2003.
AT&T Slam Dunk will be a two-round competition. In the first round, the three competitors will perform two dunks each. The five judges will score each dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a maximum score of 50 and a minimum score of 30. The two players with the highest combined score for their two dunks (a maximum of 100 and a minimum of 60) will advance to the final round.
In the final round, the two competitors will perform one dunk each. The winner will be determined by “Judges’ Choice” instead of individual score. The judges will choose the winner by raising a card that has the dunker’s name on it. Click here for a complete explanation of the rules for AT&T Slam Dunk.
AT&T Slam Dunk Winners
- 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, LA 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
- 2006 – Nate Robinson, New York
- 2007 – Gerald Green, Boston
- 2008 – Dwight Howard, Orlando
- 2009 – Nate Robinson, New York
- 2010 – Nate Robinson, New York
- 2011 – Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
- 2012 – Jeremy Evans, Utah
- 2013 – Terrence Ross, Toronto
- 2014 – East (Paul George, Terrence Ross, John Wall)
- 2015 – Zach LaVine, Minnesota
- 2016 – Zach LaVine, Minnesota
- 2017 – Glenn Robinson III, Indiana
- 2018 – Donovan Mitchell, Utah
- 2019 – Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City
- 2020 – Derrick Jones, Jr., Miami
- 2021 – Anfernee Simons, Portland