The 2019 NBA All-Star Game served up an entertaining Saturday night with OKC Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo capping the night as the new slam dunk champion
Some OKC Thunder fans are likely too young to recall the Vince Carter slam dunk win from 19 years ago. In case you fall in that category check out the youtube video below and experience it (or re-experience that magical night in LA). Carter demonstrated how first attempts make a difference, his creativity set new standards and above all his sheer athleticism ruled.
The year was 2000 and VC said he spent hours reviewing all previous competitions and wanted to include elements from past winners like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Dr. J (Julius Erving) and others.
But, it was the elbow dunk which took the raucous crowd from a frenzy to silence. Watch the faces of the NBA superstars and celebrities in attendance as the hush falls over the crowd and jaws drop. To this day I’ve never seen a dunk which has accomplished a similar result.
For Hamidou Diallo to incorporate it into his Superman dunk was pure genius (and the level of difficulty is off the charts).
In fact, the second dunk by Diallo had several elements from past dunks honoring the very best. The Superman reference tied to Dwight Howard when he wore the T-shirt and also to Shaq who used the self-described moniker. But it was the hanging from the rim which paid homage to Vince Carter.
Although it felt like the judging panel was doing their very best to ensure a Dennis Smith Jr., victory (I mean what was that 50 score?) our OKC Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo wasn’t having it as he earned the title despite some very questionable scores, particularly in the second round. Congratulations to Hamidou Diallo!
Enjoy the images and posts from social media below honoring the night and Hami’s incredible win.
Prepping for event:
Diallo with the Jet pre-competition:
Repping the home town:
Nothing like slow motion to capture Hami’s incredible athleticism:
Of note, Diallo had planned to use Dwyane Wade in this dunk, but when Dennis Smith used him he had to switch things up on the fly (pun intended).
Homage to the great slam dunk champions:
Air Canada and Air Thunder:
Check out the OKC Thunder site instagram narrative at the bottom (and the Superman reference).
Diallo was a showman from start to finish on his dunks – something else none of the other competitors managed to accomplish although each put in solid efforts. Hat tip to Miles Bridges for his gold tooth Larry Johnson authenticity (very clever – but he needed to point that out before the dunk to add to build the anticipation).
Speaking of showmanship – even on his first dunk, Diallo brought the goods including incorporating Westbrook into the dunk.
Jet gets amped:
Check out the audio on this NBA TNT instagram post as Kenny ‘The Jet” Smith is ALL about Diallo’s dunk.
Everyone is impressed:
Kudo’s to Dennis Smith for his dunk but if we’re honest it’s clear who had the much more difficult challenge and again, Hami achieved it on his first try every time.
I’m with you, Rachel!
The complete visual:
The Trophy and the champ:
The OKC Thunder crew celebrate the big win.
Words from the champ:
Talking to NBA TV crew:
Get ready for this evening as OKC Thunder superstars take over the main event. Something tells me Westbrook is going to try to get Paul George his first MVP via his performance at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. Let’s see if I’m right.