Pacers guard Victor Oladipo will compete in the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, the NBA announced Thursday. Oladipo will compete against the Orland Magic's Aaron Gordon, the Los Angeles Lakers' Larry Nance Jr., and the Dallas Mavericks' Dennis Smith Jr.
The Slam Dunk Contest is the final event of All-Star Saturday Night, which also includes the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest. All-Star Saturday Night begins at 8:00 PM ET (5:00 PM PT) on Saturday, Feb. 17 and will be broadcast live on TNT.
Oladipo previously competed in the 2015 Slam Dunk Contest in New York as a member of the Orlando Magic, where he was runner-up to Minnesota's Zach LaVine.
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Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III won the Slam Dunk Contest last season in New Orleans, but was unable to defend his title this season as he recovers from left ankle surgery after breaking a bone in the preseason. Robinson's injury was a key motivating factor in Oladipo's decision to participate in this year's Slam Dunk Contest.
"I thought it would be a great opportunity," Oladipo said. "I think the biggest reason is Glenn couldn't really do it this year and I wanted to help him defend his title.
"It's going to be a great experience. It's going to be fun. I've done it before and hopefully this time I can come out with a win."
Last week, the NBA announced that Oladipo was selected by the coaches as a reserve in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game and was drafted onto Team LeBron. It is Oladipo's first All-Star selection in his fifth NBA season (his first with the Pacers).
Oladipo is currently averaging 23.9 points, 4.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game this season, all career-best marks. The 6-4 guard is shooting 48.8 percent from the field, 39.2 percent from 3-point range, and 80.2 percent from the free throw line. He ranks 13th in the NBA in scoring and is tied for sixth in steals per game.
He is the ninth Pacers player to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend (Darnell Hillman won a season-long dunk competition over the course of the 1976-77 season). Other past participants include Terrence Stansbury (1984 and 1985), Kenny Williams (1991), Antonio Davis (1994), Jonathan Bender (2001), Fred Jones (2004), Paul George (2012 and 2014), Gerald Green (2014), and Robinson (2017). Jones and Robinson both won in the years they entered.