Wizards’ John Wall on dunking: “I’m more of a dunk contest person”


I’m not really an in-game dunker. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS – Aside from his emphatic lefty slam over Detroit’s Greg Monroe and his incredible 360-degree jam against the Los Angeles Lakers, John Wall hasn’t tried to throw down many dunks that would set Twitter ablaze and produces tons of YouTube hits. But Wall is confident that he will be able to provide some entertainment when he participates in Saturday’s slam dunk contest.

“I’m more of a dunk contest person,” Wall said.

And, there is a difference. Wall ranked his greatest dunkers of all-time as Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan and Vince Carter. When asked to pick his dream six competitors for the slam dunk contest, Wall reached back to include Carter – winner of the best dunk contest he was alive to watch in 2000 – LeBron James, Blake Griffin and current dunk contest teammate Terrence Ross. Wall then got stuck finding a sixth before concluding that it was tough to even add James.

“I would love to see LeBron, but I don’t really think he’s a big dunk contest person,” Wall said. “I think, some people are more in-game dunkers. You look at the McDonald’s game. I think LeBron won more off hype. I think Shannon Brown could’ve won that one. I think he’s more of an in-game dunker. Than you tell him, here’s a basketball, go dunk in front of all of these people. It’s different.”

James has never entered the NBA slam dunk contest despite his constant teasing. Griffin has only participated once, when he defeated JaVale McGee in a competition that Wall believes was decided more by showmanship and popularity than actual execution. Wall assisted McGee on his Guiness Record three basketball dunk and still marvels at McGee’s ability to dunk on two baskets lined up side-by-side.

“I thought he should’ve won. Not even because he was my teammate, just some of the stuff he was doing, he really got the crowd into it,” Wall said, while adding that Griffin “didn’t really jump over the car. Because if you can dunk, you can do that. All you have to do is make sure you don’t hit the front of the car, catch the ball and hang on the rim. I seen guys really jump over the hood and do windmills and stuff. It was big time because it was a Kia and it was in LA.”

Wall wasn’t even certain that Griffin was the second-best dunker that night. “I feel DeMar [DeRozan] got snubbed,” Wall said with a shrug. “I’m just giving my opinion and being honest.”

Bradley Beal has already gotten wind of some of Wall’s plans for the dunk contest and said if Wall is assured of a few 50s if he is able to actually pull them off. “Watch out. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Wall already knows what he’s going to do in the competition, which will also feature Indiana’s Paul George, Sacramento’s Ben McLeMore, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Golden State’s Harrison Barnes. “Ain’t too many dunks you can do nobody ain’t seen,” Wall said. “I just tried to add a little twist to it.”

Wall has no plans of attempting any of his dunks from the contest in Wizards’ games. “In games, I’m not trying to miss and be taken out of the game or Not Top 10,” he said with a laugh. “In the dunk contest, you can miss and be like, ‘I got three more tries.’ In the game, I would never try it. I was so nervous to even do the 360 that day. Because I was like, if I miss this, I’ll be on Not Top 10. In high school, I didn’t care. I used to windmill all the time. Now, I’ll give you a regular one-handed, two-handed dunk and I’m cool with it.”

 

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · February 15

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