Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown reflects on ‘abandonment' of NBA Dunk Contest

Boston Celtics' All-Star Jaylen Brown wants to return the dunk contest to its former glory.

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At the surprise of many, Jaylen Brown will be representing the Boston Celtics on Saturday night as he looks to win the dunk contest, last won by a Celtic in 2007 by Gerald Green. In a competition that has seemingly been avoided by some of the league's top talent in recent years, Brown is looking forward to revitalizing the dunk contest in hopes to return the event to its former glory.

"I think the art of dunking is dope," Brown said Saturday at All-Star Weekend media day, via CLNS Media. "It always has been -- from the early days up till now -- so it sucks to see the abandonment of the dunk contest."

The dunk contest has showcased some of the league's best dunkers throughout league history. From Vince Carter's legendary performance in the 2000 dunk contest, to Dwight Howard's iconic Superman dunk, to Michael Jordan's free-throw line slam, to an undersized Nate Robinson shocking the world, and the iconic battles between Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine, viewers have been left in awe by some of the show-stopping dunks put on at the event.

In recent years, though, the league's top talent has seemed to shy away from the event. Brown is the first All-Star to compete since Victor Oladipo in 2018, and an All-Star hasn't won the contest since Blake Griffin in 2011. In the last few years, the NBA has had to go as far as reaching into the G-League to fill the pool of dunk contest participants -- including the defending champion, Mac McClung.

"It's an art form," Brown said of dunking. "For me, it's about the show, the leadup, the buildup -- I think people will appreciate some of the stuff I'll do tonight once it gets slowed down, once you see the replay, but I think dunking is an art form."

Despite being the first big name to participate in a few years, not everyone believed Brown was qualified for the event, including Minnesota Timberwolves star and fellow Georgia native Anthony Edwards, who questioned what Brown thought he was doing by entering his name in for the event.

"Ant-Man should know what I was thinking," Brown responded when questioned about the remarks. "We are from the same city -- he's seen me, he used to be at the games watching me when I was flying through [the air]. Ant-Man is my guy."

Now in his eighth season, Brown has accumulated a nice resume of in-game poster dunks. Regardless of if he has fought through contact for a slam or had the time and space to throw down a flashy dunk, Brown seems to always find a way to hype up his teammates and the crowd when given the opportunity. In-game dunking is something Brown is very talented at -- and he knows it.

"When it comes to dunking on somebody, there's not a lot of people who play this game, I feel like, who's done it better than I have," Brown added prior to his participation in the dunk contest on Saturday night.

Brown will have his chance to win the dunk contest and silence his critics on Saturday night before pairing up with teammate Jayson Tatum in the 73rd annual All-Star game on Sunday night.

With Jaylen Brown officially participating in this year's dunk contest, take a look at some of his best dunks throughout his Celtics career.
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