After Zion Williamson’s refusal, final Dunk Contest participants announced
After earlier reports confirmed that New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has decided to turn down the league’s invitation to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star Weekend, the NBA has now released the full list of names that will be taking part in the highly-anticipated exhibition.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Dunk Contest participants will be Anfernee Simmons of the Portland Trail Blazers, Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers, and New York Knicks rookie Obi Toppin:
Slam Dunk Contest Participants: Anfernee Simons, Cassius Stanley and Obi Toppin.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 3, 2021
There’s no denying that the list lacks star power and that Zion would have been the headliner of the contest had he decided to participate. Nevertheless, that’s a trio of high-flying acrobats we have right there, and we shouldn’t sleep on this year’s edition of the Dunk Contest.
The league has also announced the list of judges:
The NBA just announced Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, Jason Richardson, Dee Brown and Josh Smith as Sunday's Dunk Contest judges
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 3, 2021
That’s quite a formidable list of dunkers who have all starred in their respective Dunk Contests in the past. They should have their work cut out for them as three bright young talents face off in what should be an exciting, albeit unprecedented, edition of the much-awaited Slam Dunk Contest.
For what it’s worth, last year’s winner was Derrick Jones Jr., who now plays for the Blazers. He’s certainly be backing Anfernee Simmons in this year’s edition, and DJJ has probably given his young teammate a few pointers about what it takes to bag the trophy. Although, Simmons won’t have a former teammate as part of the judging panel, so that’s one advantage he’ll be missing out on.