Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo delivered one of the greatest moments in NBA Slam Dunk Contest history on his way to victory during All-Star Saturday at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This year's event featured just one participant with prior experience, Dennis Smith Jr. Then a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Smith bowed out in the first round last year after posting an 89 through his first two dunks.
Meanwhile, the hometown crowd had a heavy rooting interest with Charlotte Hornets rookie Miles Bridges in the lineup.
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Below is a look at the scoreboard:
- Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City Thunder
- First round: 48 and 50 (98 total)
- Second round: 43 and 45 (88 total)
- Dennis Smith Jr., New York Knicks
- First round: 45 and 50 (95 total)
- Second round: 35 and 50 (85 total)
- Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets
- First round: 33 and 50 (83 total)
- John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
- First round: 40 and 42 (82 total)
Diallo recorded the highest score (48) the first time through the lineup, with some help from the NBA's assists leader:
Unfortunately for Buzz City, there wasn't much hope for Bridges after the 6'7", 225-pound forward failed to finish an off-the-backboard, between-the-legs dunk on his first turn.
The competition would quickly heat up, though.
Bridges redeemed himself, though, by getting the first 50 of the night by taking a lob off the side of the backboard and going 360 with it on his next dunk:
But the 33 for the failed attempts dug him an insurmountable hole right off the bat.
Next up, Collins became the first participant to go all-out with showmanship:
That didn't wind up doing much for the judges, who handed out a 42.
The show continued as Smith—who got a 45 on his first dunk—brought out rapper J. Cole to help with his second go. The Knicks guard secured his spot in the finals by showing off his hops and dunking over the Grammy-nominated artist:
J. Cole attempted to get in on the action but came up a tad short:
At that point, the attention turned to who Smith's opponent in the final round would be—and Diallo made the judges' job easy by channeling his inner Vince Carter by going over the 7'1" Shaq:
That absurdness sent the internet into a frenzy:
The second time through the lineup in the first round appeared to be setting the stage for a ridiculous finals showdown between Smith and Diallo. Instead, the air quickly was let out of the building as Smith failed to finish his first dunk of the round.
Smith scored a questionable 50 on his second dunk to keep the pressure on Diallo, but the 20-year-old Thunder guard was more than ready for his moment, scoring an 88 in the final round:
He discussed his jaw-dropping performance afterward:
Diallo became the first OKC player to ever win the dunk contest. He is the second player in franchise history to capture the trophy, though, as he joins former Seattle SuperSonic Desmond Mason (2001) as dunk contest champs.