Utah Jazz’s Jeremy Evans Dunks Two Basketballs To Become 2012 Slam Dunk Champ
The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Florida is underway, and amongst the festivities on Saturday (February 25) was been the Three-Point Contest, the Skills Challenge, and of course … the annual Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
Despite lesser known names taking part in the event this year, it ended with young stars making their mark, especially Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans.
Evans, a former D-Leaguer who was a replacement for injured New York guard Iman Shumpert, gave fans a show, mixing up his dunks with props and creativity … and they gave right back, voting him the winner of one of the marquee events of the evening.
He won with 29% of the fans’ votes (around 4 million total), his best dunk being his second where he slammed two basketballs in the hoop while jumping over a seated assistant — yea, this boy has hops. However, Evans also paid his respects to one of the greatest Jazz players of all-time, Karl Malone, donning his jersey and performing the Mailman’s trademark hand-behind-the-head dunk while leaping over a mailman-dressed Kevin Hart.
After hoisting up the Slam Dunk trophy, the young player expressed his excitement.
“It’s amazing,” Evans said. “I came in and they asked me how long I’ve been practicing and I think I found time maybe Tuesday, Wednesday and that I was really going to be in it. Thursday night, I came in, they gave me 45 minutes on the court. That’s about it.”
He said he used YouTube to come up with the chair dunk, watching the Team Flight Brothers, but credits the fans for his win, saying they helped him choose what dunks he performed during the competition.
“Without them, I feel like it may have went a different way or one of the guys would have won it,” Evans said. “I feel like they chose what they felt was the best dunk.”
Evans beat out the Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger in a tight race, said NBA.com, but also won over the other two competitors, Indiana’s Paul George and Minnesota’s Derrick Williams.
Other highlights dunks were George’s lights-out dunk, where he wore a glow-in-the-dark uniform and completed a 360 windmill in the dark arena (he also jumped over two of his teammates — 7’2″ Roy Hibbert and Dahntay Jones); and Budinger pulling Diddy out of the crowd, donning a red cap backwards, and proved that white men can jump when he soared over the hip-hop mogul for the first dunk of the contest.
“When I have kids I’m going to tell that I jumped over P-Diddy,” he said, calling it his favorite dunk of the night.
The winner Evans hopes his performance will help put him on the map in the league and among fans. “People didn’t really know who I was before this, but after tonight, hopefully they know my name.”
In the Three-Point shootout, the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love walked away the winner, beating out Thunder star Kevin Durant in the final round after sinking 17 points in a tie-breaker round.
And, in the 2012 Skills Challenge, it was Spurs’ guard Tony Parker beating out Deron Williams and the Celtic’s Rajan Rondon, finishing the last round in 32.8 seconds.
“The first time I did it, it was the first time they did the event and I was with Jason Kidd and Gary Payton and I was nervous because coming from Europe and from France and everything was big, the All-Star game,” Parker said. “And then in 2009, I was just bad. I was just bad. This year I was a lot better. I have to say Cheryl Miller called it right before the competition. She said, ‘Third time’s a charm. You need to win this one.’”