Obi Toppin hopped over teammate Julius Randle and his father Obadiah Toppin for a windmill dunk. But it wasn’t enough as the 6-foot-9 power forward lost a razor-close decision to Anfernee Simons
Obi Toppin hopped over teammate Julius Randle and his father Obadiah Toppin for a windmill dunk.
But it wasn’t enough as the 6-foot-9 power forward lost a razor-close decision to Anfernee Simons in the Slam Dunk Contest at halftime of the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta on Sunday.
The Knicks rookie finished runner-up as Simons, the Trail Blazers guard, won on the five judges’ cards, 3-2, on a final dunk that he never executed properly.
Toppin’s final dunk was a sprint to the bucket from midcourt, leaping in the air from just inside the foul line as he put the ball between his legs and slammed it down. “Air Obi’’ didn’t seem to get enough lift and power on that final slam, however.
Simons countered with a “kiss dunk’’ as he caught his own lob, slammed it down as he moved to kiss the rim, but came a foot short. However, Simons still got the majority vote. (The final dunk wasn’t scored on a number system).
Simons said he meant to kiss the rim, but Toppin declined to claim the trophy was stolen.
“I didn’t feel like I got robbed at all,’’ Toppin said. “Anfernee is a great dunker and got all three of his dunks on the first try. The second and third, I had to do it a second time. If I got it on my first, it would’ve been a different result. I don’t think I got robbed at all. He deserved that trophy.’’
On his second dunk, Toppin, the former Dayton star, brought out teammate Randle and his own father, known in his street-ball heyday as “Dunkers Delight.’’ The duo stood in a line as Toppin leapt over both, but missed his first try.
Toppin converted his second attempt but also didn’t get his usual Obi lift. From the five judges, he scored one 10 and four 9s.
“It felt great,’’ Toppin said of using his father. “I grew up watching the dunk contest with him. To have Jules there too, first-time All-Star, it was a great experience. They didn’t get the outcome we wanted but I definitely got the experience I wanted.’’
Simons’ first dunk was his most creative as he rested a ball on a Nerf basket fastened to the rim 12 feet high. Simons rose high enough to grab the ball out of the Nerf rim and slammed it down into the regulation hoop.
The creativity of Simons’ three dunks may have been a deciding factor, even if the only kiss he landed was an air kiss when he hit the floor. The judges were Spud Webb, Josh Smith, Josh Richardson, Dominique Wilkins and Dee Brown.
“Yeah 100 percent,’’ Simons said. “I tried to get close enough so I don’t hit my head on the rim too hard. I never actually kissed the rim in practice but I wanted to commit to it. I wanted to put a mouth guard in, but it didn’t fit. It’s something nobody’s done.’’
Still hasn’t been done. But Toppin looked at the bright side — even meeting LeBron James.
“I always said LeBron was one guy, if I seen him, I’ll be like, ‘Wow,’ ” Toppin said. “As soon as I seen him, he came up to me and said, ‘What’s up Obi?’ I was like, ‘Dang, you know my name.’ That experience was good.
“The opportunity for me being here and getting this opportunity and be on this stage with all the great players, it’s a dream come true. I didn’t get the win but all three of us had great dunks and it was a great experience. Hopefully we come back next year.’’
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Marc Berman