The 2021 NBA All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest may have been oddly placed (at halftime of the main game) and slightly lacking in star power, but Cassius Stanley, Obi Toppin, and Anfernee Simons put on quite a show nonetheless. Simons looked fabulous with his Portland Trail Blazers logo and Oregon t-shirt. He was ready to fly.
Stanley came up first in the opening round and threw down a between-the-legs windmill for an impressive score of 44...four 9’s and an 8. It was a great dunk; the judges were likely saving room for later scores, if needed.
Toppin went second, throwing the ball off the floor between his feet, then catching it for a reverse jam on the other side of the rim. He scored a 48, three perfect 10’s and two 9’s.
Simons went last in the order. An arena worker used a plastic circle to pin a ball at the top of the square on the backboard. Simons rose and grabbed it with both hands, making the feat look almost too easy. He earned a 46, with a perfect 10 and four 9’s.
The second dunk of the first round went in order of score from the first dunk.
Stanley lofted the ball from the three-point arc, caught it midair, and tried to windmill it between his legs. He failed twice, then took two attempts to do the same toss with a simpler catch and dunk. The judges gave him a 37, for a combined score of 81.
Simons slipped on a Tracy McGrady jersey to copy an old McGrady dunk, tossing the ball, catching it, bringing it down, spinning 360, then jamming hard. He scored a 49 (four 10’s) for a combined score of 95, guaranteeing him a spot in the finals.
Toppin brought out Julius Randle and his own dad, jumping over both (by pushing off of Randle’s back) and windmilling it home. That earned him a 46 for a combined score of 94. He’d face Simons in the finals.
The format for the final round changes this year. Each contestant would perform a single dunk and the judges, instead of scoring them, would simply choose a winner.
Toppin leaped from about two feet inside the foul line—impressive, but not revolutionary—then went between his legs for a simple slam. This left the door open for Simons.
Anfernee came from the side, skied high, and made like he was kissing the rim. He did not come within a foot of it with his lips, but still completed the dunk with his forehed above the rim, albeit again dunking too smoothly and without much force.
That dunk was enough to give Simons the nod over Toppin 3-2. This marked the first time a Portland Trail Blazers player had ever won the slam dunk contest.