The 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest was jammed into halftime of Sunday’s All-Star Game in Atlanta as the league reduced its hastily planned All-Star Weekend to one night.
Everything about the Slam Dunk Contest, which usually caps All-Star Saturday, was different in 2021: It had one fewer participant than usual, the number of dunk attempts was reduced and the judging in the final round was not based on points but rather acclamation.
On top of that, the field included three players who are mostly strangers to fans: Knicks rookie Obi Toppin, Trail Blazers backup guard Anfernee Simons and Pacers two-way player Cassius Stanley.
Here are the results and highlights of the 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, along with the 3-point Contest and Skills Competition, which were contested before the game.
Who won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2021?
Anfernee Simons won the dunk competition, beating Obi Toppin 3-2 in scoring by the judges after the final round. Simons’ winning dunk wasn’t flawless (he tried to kiss the rim but ended up too far away), but it was judged to be better than Toppin’s between-the-legs, switching-hands jam from the middle of the lane.
NBA Slam Dunk Contest highlights
This was a lightning round of sorts: two dunks in the first round, one in the final. Five judges, all past dunk champions, scored the first round but then just voted on the winner in the final.
On the first set of dunks, Stanley and Toppin went between the legs, and Simons showed off his hops by grabbing the ball as it sat on a Nerf hoop above the rectangle on the backboard.
For his second dunk, Simons broke out the Tracy McGrady Raptors throwback and a 360 dunk off the bounce. That earned him a 49 from the judges. Toppin needed two tries to jump over his dad, Obi, and All-Star teammate Julius Randle but still got a 46.
Who won the NBA 3-point Contest in 2021?
Stephen Curry beat Mike Conley on the last shot of the event, sinking the 2-point money ball of the final rack for a 28-27 victory. Jayson Tatum of the Celtics finished third in the six-man competition. The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the Bulls’ Zach LaVine and the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell failed to advance to the final.
NBA 3-point Contest highlights
Conley went second in the final round and put the pressure on Curry with a second consecutive 27.
After Curry missed his first four shots of the first rack, it looked as if the Jazz guard was headed for an upset of the Warriors marksman. But then Wardell went to work. He finished 9 for his last 11 and 4 for 5 on the final rack. He needed to hit his last two shots for the win. Bang. Bang.
Curry set a record in the first round with a 31. Watch some of these shots barely touch the net.
He needed to be at his best because Conley dropped 27 and Tatum totaled 25 to advance to Round 2.
NBA Skills Competition results
The Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis steamrolled through the first event, beating the Knicks’ Julius Randle, the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic in head-to-head tests of ballhandling, passing accuracy and shooting. Vucevic knocked off the Suns’ Chris Paul in the second round to gain a spot in the final.