NBA All-Star news: Slam Dunk Contest participants announced
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NBA Slam Dunk Contest participants announced

NBA, Dunk Contest, Dwight Howard, Aaron Gordon, Pat Connaughton, Derrick Jones Jr.

The NBA has released the official participants of the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest at the All-Star weekend in Chicago. Among them is former champion Dwight Howard, who makes his re-appearance in the competition after winning it in 2008—a 12-year gap between appearances.

Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Pat Connaughton, Orlando Magic power forward Aaron Gordon and Miami Heat small forward Derrick Jones Jr. round out the NBA’s 2020 Slam Dunk Contest, per ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly.

Gordon matched up in a memorable high-flying competition with Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine in 2016, going multiple additional rounds with the former Minnesota Timberwolves leaper until LaVine was officially awarded his second consecutive honor. Gordon participated in the 2017 Slam Dunk Contest but was eliminated early.

Oklahoma City Thunder second-year wing Hamidou Diallo will not appear to defend his throne in this year’s contest. The 21-year-old Diallo won the 2019 Slam Dunk Contest in Charlotte, North Carolina, defeating New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. in the final round.

Jones Jr., a 22-year-old four-year vet with the Heat, is known for some wicked dunks with real vertical. Besides having a career year coming off the bench for the competitive Miami squad, he will rep his team in the Slam Dunk Contest.

Bucks swingman, Connaughton, had a 44-inch vertical during the NBA Draft Combine. The 6-foot-5 Fighting Irish product will get to test his hops in Chicago while teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo captains one All-Star team.

The Slam Dunk Contest is on Feb. 16.