Mitchell Robinson, whose highlights have highlights, acknowledged on Tuesday that he has considered the possibility of participating in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Slam Dunk Contest this year, and the NBA should honor his request, if only to provide Knicks fans with something to be excited about come All-Star weekend.
Robinson voiced his desire to join in on this February’s All-Star festivities in Charlotte in an interview with the New York Post, saying the idea of playing in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Dunk Contest is indeed something he has thought about.
“It’s crossed my mind,” he said, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I always wanted to be in one — a dunk contest. If I have a chance, why not go for it. And if I get selected for that [the rookie-sophomore game], it would be great, too. It’s a big dream of mine. Maybe I can do both.’’
Robinson may be a rookie, but that isn’t even close to a disqualifying factor when it comes to the Dunk Contest. The following players won the competition during as rookies: Dee Brown, Harold Miner, Isaiah Rider, Brent Barry, Kobe Bryant, Desmond Mason, Jason Richardson, Josh Smith, Nate Robinson, Blake Griffin, Terrence Ross, Zach LaVine, and Donovan Mitchell.
With 18 dunks in 240 total minutes this season through Wednesday night’s loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Robinson is averaging a dunk every 13 minutes of playing time, according to basketball-reference.com. That’s worse than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is astonishingly averaging a dunk every 7ish minutes of playing time thus far this year, but better than LeBron James, who’s averaging one dunk every 32 and a half minutes of playing time. It’s also slightly better than Anthony Davis, who has been getting a dunk every 14.3 minutes of playing time, and DeAndre Jordan, who has been throwing one down every 14.4 minutes of playing time. In terms of total dunks thus far this year, Robinson is sitting in 21st place in the entire NBA.
Robinson stands at 7’1” with a wingspan of 7’4”, meaning his outstretched arms are an inch longer than Kristaps Porzingis is tall. He is a living version of the Stretch Armstrong toy. The possibilities for what he could do in a Dunk Contest are endless.
Take, for instance, the reverse slam he threw down via an alley-oop in the Knicks recent game against the Orlando Magic. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll notice that the very space-time continuum stalled for a second after Robinson caught the pass with his back turned towards the basket. Once time started up again, he flushed the ball through the hoop as if he hadn’t caused time itself to stop.
Or how about this series of dunks against the Brooklyn Nets, in which Robinson soars through the air and absolutely wows the MSG crowd. On one of the dunks, Robinson reaches as high as 12.6 feet, which is higher than the average height of an adult elephant.
Then there’s this one, which involves Robinson beginning his jump just outside the restricted area and catching a low lob from Frank Ntilikina before finishing with a thunderous two-handed throw down.
Robinson has been mutilating rims since before he entered the NBA, as evidenced in this workout video that features a plethora of juicy jams, including one dunk where he needs only one dribble from half court before taking off just inside the free throw line.
With Porzingis hurt and Tim Hardaway Jr. going up against a talented crop of guards in the Eastern Conference, Robinson may be the best chance the Knicks have to be represented during All-Star weekend. Come on NBA, let’s let the dunker dunk.