CHARLOTTE — Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo won the 2019 Slam Dunk title thanks to some remarkable athleticism and showmanship worthy of All-Star Weekend.
“This one is for my mom,” Diallo said after winning the award.
Diallo requested the help of his teammate Russell Westbrook for his first dunk. It only took the former Kentucky Wildcat one try to wow the Charlotte crowd. With a 48, Diallo led the contest early.
The second round brought the house down. Diallo employed the help of Shaquille O’Neal — some would say Superman. Standing in front of the rim, O’Neal faced the rim. Diallo turned to the camera behind the key and revealed a Superman shirt underneath his city edition Oklahoma City jersey. After a few dribbles, Diallo leaped over Shaq for a powerful dunk followed by a honey dip, made popular by Vince Carter during the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.
This dunk resulted in a perfect 50. One of only two 50’s on the night.
“Great dunk, great atmosphere,” Diallo said at midcourt. “I wanted to give the crowd what they were looking for”
It came down to Diallo and Dennis Smith, Jr. of the New York Knicks. Smith finished third in last year’s contest.
After numerous attempts, Smith finally got his dunk to fall. Diallo had such a lead that it didn’t matter. For his final attempt, Diallo called on rapper Quavo to help him.
The award marks the first time a Thunder player has won the Slam Dunk competition since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City. Only former Thunder player Serge Ibaka has participated in the event — losing to Blake Griffin in the 2010 competetion.