The Indiana Pacers finally won something!
Glenn Robinson III gave Pacers fans a much needed reprieve from their recent struggles as a team, putting on a show in the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest, taking home the trophy with a pair of impressive dunks, kicking it off with the best dunk of the night.
The contest as a whole proved underwhelming in comparison to recent years, but not for lack of Robinson, who separated himself among a lot of missed dunks. Defending champion Aaron Gordon bowed out in the first round, missing a couple of attempts on a creative drone dunk while DeAndre Jordan’s dunks lacked power despite being good dunks.
Robinson earned the first perfect dunk of the night, jumping over two people.
The dunk also featured some showmanship, with Robinson waving off attempts until he was satisfied with the difficulty.
Robinson was joined in the final round by Derrick Jones, Jr., punching his ticket on an impressive through the legs dunk off the side of the backboard courtesy of Devin Booker. In the final round, however, Jones was given a generous 37 after missing all three tries attempting to jump over three people.
Robinson’s first final round dunk featured him jumping over Paul George, giving him the edge heading into the final dunk.
Jones had a nice final dunk, but again needed extra attempts to complete the dunk. However, the judges awarded him a perfect 50 for the dunk, creating a false sense of competition that stood a real chance of robbing Robinson of the win. Robinson, however, completed the dunk Jones couldn’t, sealing the win, by jumping over George, Boomer, and Pacemate Kayla.
Robinson spoke about being the underdog after the contest, and it’s a win that can hopefully push him in the second half of the season to improve beyond the growth he’s shown on the season already. Robinson was also excited to bring home a trophy of at least some kind to Indiana, becoming the first dunk champion for the Pacers since Fred Jones in 2004.
While this wasn’t one of the stronger dunk contests, Robinson showed up for the crowd, earning the victory. The highlight of All-Star Saturday was Reggie Miller leading a shooting line that raised $500,000 for the Sager Strong foundation, with a little help from Shaquille O’Neal and Craig Sager’s son.
Robinson was the only Pacer to win on Saturday, with C.J. Miles falling short in the NBA Talent Challenge that was won by Victor Oladipo.
Other winners on the night included Kristaps Porzingis in the Skills Challenge and Eric Gordon in an OT performance over flat-earther Kyrie Irving in the 3-Point Challenge.
Tomorrow marks the last day of the All-Star Weekend, with Paul George taking the court for the Eastern Conference All-Stars. In the meantime, congratulations to Glenn Robinson III on his slam dunk victory!