Dennis Smith Jr. Won't Take Part in 2019 Slam Dunk Contest

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2018

Dallas Mavericks' Dennis Smith Jr. competes in the NBA All-Star basketball slam dunk contest, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)
Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. participated in the NBA dunk contest as a rookie in 2018, but it appears he will be one-and-done with the showcase event. 

"I'm not doing the dunk contest this year," Smith told ESPN's Tim MacMahon on Friday. "... the gimmicks and everything that go with it, I'm not with it."

The 6'3", 195-pound point guard out of N.C. State used his incredible athleticism to quickly become one of the must-see attractions in the entire league last season:

All of his eye-popping dunks earned him a spot in the dunk contest field as a rookie. 

As much as contestants rely on their athleticism to try to impress the judges, showmanship and props come into play as well. Those are things Smith opted not to include in his performance, instead just throwing down a pair of skilled dunks: 

Smith received scores of 39 and 50, respectively, for his two dunks. That was not enough to help him advance to the next round, and Utah Jazz phenom Donovan Mitchell went on to win the contest.

While Smith chose not to use any gimmicks or props, Mitchell went all-out, breaking out a pair of throwback jerseys and bringing out people to jump over:

Mitchell won the crowd over by going that route, but Smith would prefer to just let his dunks speak for themselves. There's nothing wrong with either style—it's just a matter of personal preference for the participants.

The news of Smith declining to participate in the dunk contest left Mitchell hoping there would be a change of heart:

There are still five months until the 2019 dunk contest, so there is time for Smith to reconsider. As of now, though, it appears fans will have to tune into Mavericks games if they want to see Smith throwing down next season.

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