NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2012: NBA Releases Contestants for Prolific Event

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10:  (L-R) Jeremy Lin #17 and Iman Shumpert #21 of the New York Knicks celebrate a play against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest helped players like Michael Jordan, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin reach new levels of stardom, and four young high-flyers will get the opportunity to do something similar in the 2012 competition.

Griffin won't be back to defend his crown, but according to ESPN's Marc Stein, New York Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie forward Derrick Williams, Houston Rockets forward Chase Budinger and Indiana Pacers swingman Paul George will all compete.

As an added bonus, Shumpert will be assisted by sudden sensation Jeremy Lin during the part of the competition when a partner is required to be used.