Obi Toppin and All Participants Revealed for 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers, Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers and Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks are cleared for takeoff.

They make up the field for the 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, which was announced Tuesday.

While the competition is typically the headline event for All-Star Saturday Night during traditional All-Star Weekends, this year's festivities will look quite different in Atlanta. The league is hosting all of the events on Sunday with the Skills Competition and Three-Point Contest taking place before the game and the Slam Dunk Contest serving as halftime entertainment.

Notably missing from this field are some of the biggest stars in the league.

While players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant used to compete in dunk contests, the event has been missing that type of serious star power of late. Along those lines, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported on Tuesday that New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson will not participate.

That is bad news for fans hoping to see the second-year playmaker soaring through the air but good news for the rims in State Farm Arena because few players in recent history dunk with the type of power Williamson brings.

The Slam Dunk Contest hasn't been completely void of notable names in the last 10 years considering Donovan Mitchell won in 2018, Zach LaVine won in 2015 and 2016, John Wall won in 2014, and Blake Griffin won in 2011, but this season's field will try to follow in the steps of role players Derrick Jones Jr. and Hamidou Diallo as the past two champions.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

A lack of stars does not mean fans won't be treated to a show.

After all, last year's epic duel between Jones and Aaron Gordon went to a dunk-off because the score was tied at 100 through the finals after they traded 50s. Gordon even jumped over the 7'5" Tacko Fall but still came up short, much like he did in a showdown with LaVine in 2016.

It will be up to Simons, Stanley and Toppin to provide an encore to last year's memorable classic.