The rumors are true: Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown will, in fact, participate in the 2024 NBA Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend.
The NBA confirmed the four participants Thursday, with Brown set to compete against Miami Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr., New York Knicks rookie and defending champion Mac McClung, who currently is playing for the Orlando Magic's G-League team.
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It's a fascinating decision from Brown, who will be the first All-Star to compete in the dunk contest since Victor Oladipo in 2018. The contest has prominently featured first- and second-year players in the past six years, with McClung becoming the first G-League player to compete in (and win) last year.
But Brown apparently is aiming to bring some star power back to the marquee event of All-Star Saturday night in Indianapolis.
"I think it would be great for him to participate in it," fellow Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum said of Brown on Wednesday. "Kind of bring back that star power to the dunk contest that we want to see, all the big name guys be in it -- that's how I grew up watching it. So, I would love for him to be in it, and I would love for him to win, and I think it would be exciting to see."
Brown hasn't spoken to the media since a report surfaced earlier in the week that he was expected to compete in the dunk contest. Even one of Brown's best friends on the Celtics, Kristaps Porzingis, hasn't been able figure out what the 27-year-old has in store for next weekend.
"I was trying to get some information out of him, like what are his best dunks? See if I could get some inside info,” Porzingis said Wednesday. “But he was being mysterious and he didn’t want to tell yet. I don’t think he knows either. So, we’ll see. He’s going to surprise us, for sure."
Brown has a high bar to live up to among Celtics dunk contest participants. He'll be the fifth Celtics player to suit up for the dunk contest, and two of the previous four participants won the whole thing, with three of the four reaching the finals of the contest:
- Dee Brown, 1991 (1st of 8)
- Greg Minor, 1996 (3rd of 6)
- Ricky Davis, 2004 (4th of 4)
- Gerald Green, 2007 (1st of 4)
Dee Brown's 1991 victory was capped by his iconic "no look" dunk, in which he covered his eyes with his arm while throwing it down.
Jaylen Brown also wears No. 7 for Boston, so we wouldn't be surprised if he cooks up some sort of tribute to the Celtics' first dunk contest winner in Indy. In any case, he's well-qualified for participating: Brown's 58 dunks this season rank fourth in the NBA among all non-big men.