Photo Courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Leo Sepkowitz, Cloud Fleet Creation, Kyle Phillips
Hawks fans have been dying for this moment.
John Collins, an explosive young member of Atlanta’s frontcourt, will finally get to showcase his electrifying jams in the 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Not only is the 6’10” big man out of Wake Forest known across the league for his stellar ability to attack the rim, but he has also arguably been Atlanta’s best player so far this season. Collins is currently averaging 19.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while playing 30 minutes a game. He leads the Hawks in both points per game and rebounds per game categories. He will now represent his team in All-Star Weekend’s most anticipated event.
While it is rare for an athlete of Collins’ size to come out of the contest victorious, fellow big men such as current Washington Wizards 7-footer Dwight Howard have proven that it can be done, as Howard won back in 2008 donning a Superman cape. Collins will also have the opportunity to add his name to an Atlanta Hawks’ legacy of dunk contest winners, potentially joining former Hawks Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, and Josh Smith.
The 2019 NBA Slam Dunk contest will take place on Saturday, February 16 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. Among the former 19th overall pick’s competition will be Buzz City local Miles Bridges, and redemption-seeking Miami Heat guard Derrick Jones Jr., who lost the competition to current Detroit Piston Glenn Robinson III in the 2017 contest. Potential candidates who could still join them include Collins’ teammate and former dunk contest champion Vince Carter.
Formerly known as Air Canada, Vince Carter could very well participate in this year’s contest for the first time since 2000. The 41-year-old’s pilot’s license has not yet expired, as he has been spotted hammering windmills during warm-ups on various occasions. This would also be the first time two Atlanta players competed in the same dunk contest since the legendary 1986 competition, where the 5’7” Spud Webb outlasted his teammate Dominique Wilkins to become the shortest player to ever accomplish the feat.