Judging by some of the vicious throwdowns that Gary Payton II has showcased this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear some people around Dub Nation clamoring for the son of the Hall-of-Famer to throw his hat into the ring as a Slam Dunk Contest competitor. To join a list that includes Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Donovan Mitchell and of course, Michael Jordan would be epic.
The Golden State Warriors have notably only had three players ever compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Otis Smith was a semifinalist in 1988, Jason Richardson won back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003 – and lost in the finals in 2004 – and Harrison Barnes was the most recent Dubs competitor in 2014.
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It doesn’t seem like Payton II has any intention of making an appearance in the contest any time soon.
GP2: ‘I Don’t Have Too Many Tricks Like the Young Guys Have’
“GP2” explained recently why he has minimal interest in making a name for himself in the Slam Dunk Contest.
“I don’t have too many tricks like the young guys have these days,” Payton II said, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson. “They got some things – I’m an in-game dunker. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just put it on somebody’s head. I think I’m just gonna stick with putting it on heads, get two points, get back and play defense.”
Maybe Payton II doesn’t think he could win the contest, but Warriors fans would likely love to see one of their own back in the field for the first time in seven years. Unlike the popular theory that competing in MLB’s Home Run Derby can mess up a batter’s swing, there would appear to be little harm in showing out in the Slam Dunk Contest – as long as you don’t get hurt.
Is GP2 the Best Dunker on the Warriors?
Another argument that Payton II had against his case for the Dunk Contest was that he didn’t think he was the best dunker on the Warriors.
“We got a lot of guys that can do some things,” he said. “Whenever [Andrew Wiggins] decides he wants to get over the rim – I made him go get one today, so tried to get him going because he used to … Wiggs, he’s still young.”
Interestingly, entering the Warriors Monday night game against the Atlanta Hawks, Payton II and Andrew Wiggins are tied for the team-lead in dunks with nine. They are both well behind NBA-leader Jarrett Allen, who has 35 slams.
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