He has a pretty good tutor to help him along the way.
"I told him the first thing he needed to do when he got in the dunk contest is to not leave anything at home," Wilkins told Kirschner. "You have to set the tone. Not only does your confidence level rise, but the electricity in the building rises when you set the tone."
Collins considers the man nicknamed "The Human Highlight Film" his "mentor," per Kirschner. Having a living legend like Wilkins should only help the former Wake Forest star, who is competing against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamadou Diallo, New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Hornets forward Miles Bridges.
Wilkins is among the game's greatest all-time dunkers, but Collins' impressive vertical leaps and power conjure memories of the Hall of Famer.
Take this putback dunk for example:
His balance is also noteworthy, like when he was able to put this slam home despite the midair foul:
The traits required for both jams were evidenced in Wilkins' remarks about Collins' dunking abilities:
“He kind of reminds me of myself because of how quick he is off his feet. I was always quick off my feet and wanted to attack the rim. He brings that to my mind all of the time. I only played one way, and that was all out. My whole motive and idea was to attack you all of the time. Once I got in the lane, there was nothing you were going to do to stop me. And what John can do is he can do all of that and do it in traffic. That’s hard to do.”
Smith is currently the +150 favorite ($100 bet to win $150) to take the title, per Bovada (h/t OddsShark). Collins is tied for second on the odds ledger with Bridges at +250, and Diallo is listed at +325.