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Damian Lillard reveals his unknown part in Anfernee Simons’ Dunk Contest success

Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers

Anfernee Simons’ ‘Kiss Dunk’ in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest last Sunday was perhaps the most talked-about throwdown that evening and may have been the main reason for his win. In a recent interview, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard revealed that he played a key part in prodding Simons to go for the gimmick.

Per Jason Quick of The Athletic, Simons admitted he has never tried the ‘Kiss Dunk’ in practice. But like any other competitor, he wanted to take the Slam Dunk Contest plum. And his mentor Lillard was ready with some advice.

“I told him, ‘If you do the kiss dunk—I’ve never seen nobody do that.’ I have to take credit for that. That was my idea to blow a kiss at the rim so people know that’s what he was doing.”

The 21-year-old Simons, who’s having his best year for the Trail Blazers, immediately agreed to Lillard’s tip. Knowing the dangers of trying to kiss the rim, Simons tried putting on a mouthpiece but it didn’t fit. Pressed for time, he just tried his best to sell the effect.

“In practice, I’ve never actually kissed the rim, but I was like, ‘I’ve got to commit to it.’ So I tried to put a mouthpiece in at the last minute, but it didn’t fit my mouth, so I scratched it and emphasized the smooch face so people know I’m right there next to the rim and I’m trying to kiss it.”

It’s definitely a nice bit of trivia. It’s good to know that Anfernee Simons trusts Damian Lillard’s instincts. Maybe they should share the NBA Slam Dunk Contest trophy?