Green wins dunk contest; Kapono 3-point champ
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – Boston’s Gerald Green soared over last year’s
slam dunk champion and then a table to win the 2007 slam dunk title as part of
All-Star Saturday night.
Green received a perfect 50 score from a distinguished panel of judges for his
final dunk to beat New York’s Nate Robinson, the 2006 winner, on a night with
“I’m just so excited,” Green said. “I’ve always dreamed about being in the
dunk contest, and I never dreamed about actually being in it or winning.”
A pair of Miami Heat players were winners Saturday. Jason Kapono outlasted
Washington’s Gilbert Arenas to win the three-point shootout, while Dwyane Wade
repeated as the Skills Challenge title victor.
“It’s been good for us,” Kapono said. “I guess there’s just something in the
Heat team, blood or water, that allows us to do well here. I look forward to
coming back again next year.”
Also, Detroit won the Shooting Stars challenge by default when the Chicago
team took its shots out of turn in the final round.
However, the night belonged to Green, who compiled 91 points on a pair of
dunks in the final round to beat Robinson.
Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas and Orlando’s Dwight Howard were eliminated before the
finals, during the early rounds. However, Howard wooed the crowd by
placing a sticker of himself on the backboard with his left hand while dunking
with his right for his final dunk in the opening round. However, the dunk only
added up to 42 points after the scores were posted by Kobe Bryant, Vince
Carter, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins.
During the dunk competition, Green changed his uniform and then his sneakers
before walking away with the title. First, he put on the jersey No. 7 of
former Boston dunk champion Dee Brown in 1991 for his final dunk of the
opening round and leaped over a still Robinson for a jam, drawing a score of
47 to advance to the finals.
“Just to kind of honor and respect what he had did back in ’91 when he won the
slam-dunk contest,” Green said. “He was the only Celtic to win it at the time.
So I just kind of wanted to show respect for being the winner of the dunk
Robinson had trouble with both of his dunks in the final round, scoring a 39
on his first attempt and a 41 on the 10th attempt of his second dunk.
Green netted a 41 on his first try and then came up with a perfect score by
soaring over a table put in the lane, bringing the ball to his knees while in
the air before hammering it through the basket.
Kapono tied Mark Price’s final-round record with 24 points to win the three-
point shootout. Arenas scored 17 in the final round, while Dallas’ Dirk
Nowitzki, last year’s champion, had nine.
Memphis’ Mike Miller, Cleveland’s Damon Jones and Dallas’ Jason Terry were
eliminated in the opening round.
Wade posted a final-round time of 26.4 seconds to beat Bryant to win the
skills event. Wade’s first-round time of 31.3 seconds was second only to
Bryant (29.8) and eliminated Cleveland’s LeBron James (35.4) and New
Orleans/Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul (39.6).
Detroit’s team of Chauncey Billups, Swin Cash and Bill Laimbeer won the
shooting stars portion, made up of NBA, WNBA and former NBA stars. Scottie
Pippen thought he led Chicago to a victory after hitting a half-court shot,
but Ben Gordon and Candice Dupree didn’t shoot in turn.
In the lightest moment Saturday night, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley
backpedaled down the stretch to beat 67-year-old NBA referee Dick Bavetta in a
relay race. Bavetta dove to the finish line, while Barkley jogged backward
before falling to the floor in an event for charity.
“I’ve learned as an official in all my years, I never take myself too
seriously,” Bavetta said. “It’s still a game and Charles is great for the
game. So his comments I never really took personally. And I think one thing
led to another when ultimately $50,000 is given to the Boys and Girls Club of
Las Vegas, whatever took place is a fantastic situation.”
The festivities were a prelude to the NBA All-Star game, scheduled to take
place Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center.