Nate: Dunk contest ‘set up’ for Griffin

CHICAGO – Three-time Sprite Slam Dunk Contest winner Nate Robinson has been an underdog, in the macro sense of fashioning an NBA career at all and in the micro sense — especially the micro sense — of winning, at 5-foot-9, a competition determined above the rim. Not once (2006), not twice (2009) but three times (2010).

But Robinson can’t bring himself to pick any of the underdogs in this year’s dunk contenst at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles Feb. 18-20. Like so many others, Robinson believes that Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings, Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka and Washington’s JaVale McGee will be vying for second-best.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who has turned the first half of the 2010-11 season into one big commerical for the dunkathon at Staples Center next month, is Robinson’s pick. Rather cynically, in fact.

“Of course. They set it up like that. They set it up for Blake to win it like that,” Robinson said before the Boston Celtics faced the Chicago Bulls Saturday night at United Center.

B-b-but why would the almighty “they” do that? Because it’s in L.A.? Because Griffin is the likely Rookie of the Year? Because he finally has given the Clippers a budding star with national and global marketing appeal?

“Everything. It’s all set up,” said the Celtics’ guard, who “retired” from the dunk contest after winning in Dallas last February. “But we’ll see. I’m not saying he can’t dunk, because he can. Though we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully the guys that are in there with him will give him some competition and put on a show. Because that’s all it’s for — it’s a show. That’s the whole meaning of the dunk contest.”

There is no automatic bond between Robinson and Jennings, the Bucks point guard who will be the smallest man in this year’s field. “I’ve never seen him dunk,” Robinson said. “I’m interested to see what he’s going to do, but I’ve never seen him get a dunk in a game yet. So I’m just waiting patiently.”

Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said Friday night he was surprised when he heard Jennings was selected to compete. Not so much because the point guard is recovering from a broken bone in his foot (he is scheduled to be back in the Bucks’ lineup for about a month before All-Star Weekend) but because, Skiles said,  “he has two dunks this season.”

Said Robinson: “That’s why he has to have charisma. He has to do somnething that hasn’t been done. If I was a judge, that’s how I’d judge a dunk contest. ‘If I can do it, I’m not giving good points.’ He’s got to do something difficult that I know I can’t do.

“That’s how I would judge it. You’ve got to do something spectacular. Even if it’s like something somebody has done, you have to make it look even better. Add your own little flair.”

Robinson said he would like each contestant to choose his own soundtrack, music to get the player primed and to accompany the dunks. “They should bring back the music,” Robinson said. “Back in the day, when other guys dunked, they used to play music and get guys kind of hypede. Now they’ve taken away from that. You should be able to play whatever song you want to get you hyped. Then afterwards, you can do your antics or whatever the case may be. But it would make it more fun. It’s a stage, right? People coming to watch?”

33 Comments

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  3. […] and he can dunk.  The real question is, does he need to dunk?  There are plenty of players in the NBA that don’t dunk. Steve Nash, Steve Blak, JJ Barea, Maurice Cheeks, did Danny Ainge every dunk. So Jimmer can doit, […]

  4. […] Robinson opened up to both NBA.com and The Globe about his absence from a slam dunk roster that includes Blake Griffin, Brandon […]

  5. No Nate says:

    Nate is the worst dunker ever. Period.

  6. clark says:

    I just don’t get it why Jennings is included in the list, what a joke….!!!! it’s a dunk contest and there are several great dunkers out there…. LeBron should be included, he is one of the best…

  7. Quincy says:

    Really Nate? Personally he only should have one one contest. Igoudala should of won in 06 and Dwight should of won in 09. Nates dunks weren’t even that cool. They gave him extra points cause hes shorter. the 2010 contest was garbage so he only should have one that one. Just my opinion.

  8. neshizle says:

    nate should only have 2 titles .. Iguodala got robbed in ’06!! but the little man can fly, ill give him that

  9. Law064 says:

    I have to agree with King James Nate only earned 1 of those titles. Iggy should’ve won in 06′ the dude dunked from behind the basket the degree of difficulty was super high and nate just leaped over someone. Give me a break. But on another note the dunk contest has been so watered down because lack of creativity now a days. Big Blake is favored but anything can happen. If all the top dunkers would enter I think it would be a great contest but as we know the Best dunkers don’t participate.

  10. alsol says:

    I really like Ibaka. But can someone tell me why the hell Westbrook wasn’t selected? He would own the pants off of ANYONE. I mean, it wouldn’t even be close, not even against Griffin. That’s probably why they didn’t pick WB. Nate is right.

  11. […] “Everything. It’s all set up,” said the Celtics’ guard, who “retired” from the dunk contest after winning in Dallas last February. “But we’ll see. I’m not saying he can’t dunk, because he can. Though we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully the guys that are in there with him will give him some competition and put on a show. Because that’s all it’s for — it’s a show. That’s the whole meaning of the dunk contest.” -Hangtime Blog […]

  12. Gman says:

    I have been saying that this contest is for Blake to win.

  13. King james says:

    Let`s face it Nate Robinson has won 3 dunk titles, but did in fact only earn one of them. Andre Iguodala should have won in 06, and Dwight should have won in 09, Nate desevered it last year, when it was the worst dunk contest ever

  14. eamps says:

    all of a sudden all the top dunkers in the league are backin off since blake entered the contest. its such ashamed that lebron especially who said last year that he would compete is not even thinkin about it. nate on the hand,, man up and defend the title or is it because he cant get up anymore..i guess we will see all u guys at the side line cheering blaka tho nic

  15. Wateva says:

    Why can’t the nba go back to the old style and have judges and the fans cant vote so your score matters a lot more. Because if a really popular dunker gets in the contest like nate for example in my opinoin dwight should have won but since all the fans love the little guy they voted for him. so basicly the nba needs to stop letting fans vote and start going back to the old days when the dunk contests were actually interesting.

  16. mike smith says:

    nate is a crappy player..useless…screwed it up for knicks and boston..i’d rather have jennings on my team than nate..

  17. […] via Nate: Dunk contest ‘set up’ for Griffin « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog. […]

  18. Ambuj says:

    someone give me lebron, blake, derrick rose and amare in the dunk contest…please !!!!!!

  19. Dmitry says:

    I hope we`ll see great show,no matter who`ll win (of course 99% think that it wll be Griffin).I wonder why didn`t Nate put his name in?

  20. […] NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner reports: “Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who has turned the first half of the 2010-11 season into one big commerical for the dunkathon at Staples Center next month, is Robinson’s pick. Rather cynically, in fact. ‘Of course. They set it up like that. They set it up for Blake to win it like that,’ Robinson said before the Boston Celtics faced the Chicago Bulls Saturday night at United Center. B-b-but why would the almighty ‘they’ do that? Because it’s in L.A.? Because Griffin is the likely Rookie of the Year? Because he finally has given the Clippers a budding star with national and global marketing appeal? ‘Everything. It’s all set up,’ said the Celtics’ guard, who ‘retired’ from the dunk contest after winning in Dallas last February. ‘But we’ll see. I’m not saying he can’t dunk, because he can. Though we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully the guys that are in there with him will give him some competition and put on a show. Because that’s all it’s for — it’s a show. That’s the whole meaning of the dunk contest.’” […]

  21. Zzanzabar says:

    C’mon everyone, when was the last time there was a REAL dunk contest (ie. when all of the top dunkers participated) huh? This has become one of the biggest farces in basketball since the NBA all-star game went to strictly popular voting (Yao still a top vote getter, really?). I know fluff and padding when I see it and I haven’t bothered to watch a ‘dunkathon’ for the past 3 or 4 years, ever since LB, Kobe and others opted out to ‘give the field a chance’ the contest has become contest to see who is the 3rd best contestant.

    • Psych! says:

      Hey zzanzaloser, just so you know Kobe wouldnt even be in todays NBA top 10 list at dunking. He is old and has no knees…Just sayin

    • Jake says:

      You missed out on some of Dwight and Nate’s dunks then. Last year was lame, but just because Kobe and Lebron are probably the best basketball players in the world doesn’t mean they’re the best dunkers. It would be interesting to see what Lebron could do, but Kobe’s way past his (dunking) prime anyway.

  22. PUT LEBRON ON DUNK CONTEST

  23. tata says:

    Little man, BIG mouth.

    • Zar The Knicks Fan says:

      3 titles,(no one got it b4) he earned that big mouth

      • Amarerox! says:

        when you have more titles than mj,nique, and dr.j you can say wtvr you want

      • Fact not Fiction says:

        At Amarerox, I suggest you research before you post crazy responses…just so you know DR J never got to participate in the dunk contest…And as already mentioned Nate has 3 which is currently the most anyone has won…

    • Jake says:

      As Nate said “it’s all a show.” The reason he’s got three titles is because he’s the best “showman” to ever participate in the Dunk Contest, and he’s been in the contest more than anyone else. MJ, Nique, Vince and Dr. J were all better dunkers than Lil Nate.

    • LeGONE says:

      Hes a cavaleir traitor and his jersey wasnt the only thing that should be burned down. Maybe his house or family should have been burned down instead considering hes probably goin to get divorced by the time he starts to suck at basketball and nobody would like him. SCREW LEBRON!!SCREW ALL TRAITORS!!!Lebron is Legone!!!!!