Obi Toppin, whose father is a former Brooklyn streetballer nicknamed “Dunkers Delight,” will compete in the 2020-21 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, giving the Knicks another representative at All-Star Weekend alongside Julius Randle.
Toppin had previously teased that he might enter the contest, but everyone knows nothing is official until it’s been tweeted by Shams or Woj.
The 8th overall pick in this year’s draft, Toppin has mostly toiled on the bench behind Randle, playing only 12 minutes per night after missing the first 10 games of the season due to injury. He’s yet to showcase the all-around offensive arsenal he was assigned on draft night, but there is one thing Toppin has definitely done. That’s display the ability to dunk.
He’s got your standard soaring dunk covered.
AIR OBI CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF pic.twitter.com/EZgKjtkk4y— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) February 26, 2021
He’s got down pat that basic dunk where you reach higher than seems humanly possible.
And of course, like most of us, he can slam it home after catching a pass off the side of the backboard and putting the ball between his legs while in mid-air.
Truth be told, Toppin is a devoted dunker and always has been, dating back to his college days.
As a matter of fact, Toppin remembers his first dunk. He had wanted to dunk his whole life, and finally threw one down the summer before his senior year of high school, according to this profile of the rookie from Bleacher Report.
“It was pure relief,” Toppin said. “And then it was excitement. It had taken so long. That’s why I still dunk every time I can now. I just started dunking for real like three or four years ago. It’s still new to me. It’s still such an amazing feeling every time.”
Apparently, this will be the 8th time the Knicks have had someone in both the dunk contest and All-Star game, which is pretty cool.
Sorry, 8TH TIME Knicks have had someone in both the All Star Game & the Dunk Contest:— Jonathan Macri (@JCMacriNBA) February 26, 2021
1986: Ewing & Gerald Wilkins
1990 & ‘91: Ewing & Kenny Walker
1992: Ewing & John Starks
1996: Ewing & Doug Christie
2010: David Lee & Nate Robinson
2013: Melo/Tyson & James White
None of the other dunk contest participants for this year have been named yet. This year’s contest is taking place during halftime of the All-Star Game because, you know, the pandemic. It’s nice to have Toppin representing the team, as the last couple of Knicks to participate (Dennis Smith Jr. and James White), didn’t necessarily make the franchise look fantastic.
Toppin turns 23 a few days before All-Star Weekend; what better way to celebrate than by asserting one’s dominance as top dunker? He certainly hopes to do just that. We hope he will too.