Before the season ever started, Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. let it be known, that he would not be participating in this year’s dunk contest.
“I’m not doing the dunk contest this year,” Dennis Smith Jr told me.
ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon would follow up on that answer by asking why no interest in the dunk contest? And Smith said “I don’t think it’s for me,” Smith said. “The gimmicks and everything that comes with it. I’m not with it.”
Smith took part in last year’s contest in Los Angeles, but came just a tad short, even though he showcased one of the competition’s best dunks. The dunk would receive a perfect score from the judges. Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell would take home the honors of slam dunk champions.
Before one of the Mavericks’ preseason games against the Beijing Ducks, I asked Smith if he stood by the comments he made on media day about the dunk contest. This year’s contest will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is only 2 hours and 46 mins away from Fayetteville, NC, where DSJ grew up.
“I won’t be participating in the dunk contest the gimmicks that come with the event, it’s not for me,” said Smith. He added that he will be watching though because there is always a good contest,” Smith told me.
The reigning champion when he heard the news tweeted at Smith “Naaaaaaa bro you got to!!!”
Recently Mitchell announced that he will not be participating in the contest this year as well. Citing fatigue and injuries as the reason.
“I loved doing the dunk contest last year and it was a ton of fun, but I also know it takes a lot of focus, practice, and preparation,” Mitchell told the Deseret News. “Right now, my mind is really on helping my team make a deep run (in the) second half of the season. I’m excited though, for the weekend, I’m going to be able to be a part of some great events,” Mitchell told the Deseret News, Eric Woodyard.
Smith has missed the last five games due being ill, but there has been different reports stating he has been sitting out due to all the trade chatter surrounding his name.
Before the Mavericks head on their two game road trip, Maverick coach Rick Carlisle shared with the media he reached out to both Dennis and his agent.
” Dennis Smith is not here, but I want to let everyone know, that I reached out to him and his agent last night. To let them know when he is feeling better, he is welcome to rejoin the team at any time. We would love to have him back. In his year and a half here, he has started every game that he has been available to play and during that period of time. He has experienced significant growth on both sides of the ball, and I am very proud of the progress that he has made. That is where we are, and I don’t expect him to be on this trip, but again, I think he is a part of this team, and we love to have him back, says Carlisle.
As for Mitchell, he was recently named Western Conference Player of the Week for first-time in his young career. After recording 31.5 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds on 48.4 percent from the field. He is also shooting
48.6 percent from three-point line during games from played from Jan 7-13.