NEW YORK — A new AT&T Slam Dunk champion will be 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 compete for the title on Monday, March 8 (PHT) at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The 36th AT&T Slam Dunk will take place at halftime of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, airing on TNT and ESPN Radio.
AT&T Slam Dunk is part of NBA All-Star 2021, which will be held on one night. TNT’s NBA All-Star coverage on March 8 will begin at 6 AM with TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax, followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest starting at 7:30 AM. NBA All-Star Game coverage will begin at 9 AM. NBA All-Star 2021 will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages.
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.