Raptors’ Terrence Ross rules NBA slam dunk contest
Houston, TX, United States (4E Sports) – Toronto Raptors rookie shooting guard Terrence Ross bested some of the league’s high flyers to emerge as the new slam dunk king Saturday at Toyota Center.
The 6-6 Ross defeated defending champion Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz in the final dunk-off by leaping over Michael Costolo, son of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo before whipping the ball between his legs and hammering home a one-handed dunk.
“I feel blessed, but it’s still overwhelming. Just trying to soak it all in,” said Ross, who also honored former Raptors star Vince Carter by wearing his jersey to open the final.
Carter won the event in 2000 when he was still with the Raptors.
“I think it was just paying homage to guys who did this before me. DeMar’s (DeRozan) helped me a great deal, so I thought I’d kind of take his advice, kind of do something to honor Carter,” Ross said.
Ross also bested other participants, including Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, James White of the New York Knicks, 2007 dunk champion Gerald Green of the Indiana Pacers ad Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ross had a rocky start in the first round, missing his first three attempts but the judges — including former Rockets stars Hakeem Olajuwon, Yao Ming and Clyde Drexler – gave him a 50 after completing his first dunk.
Luckily for Ross, heavy favorites White and Green were not at their best, giving him the opportunity to reach the final against Evans.
“I didn’t think James or Gerald had (nerves). They’ve been in so many dunk contests, but this is honestly my first big dunk contest. I was nervous, I’m not going to lie,” Ross said.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers won the skills competition while last year’s rookie of the year Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers bested Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs in the three-point shootout.
Irving hit for 23 points in the final, two points short of the all-time record, topping Bonner’s score of 20. Irving nailed 17 of his first 18 attempts in the final.