NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2008 ⁈“ The Minnesota Timberwolves⁈⁚ Gerald Green will defend his crown in the 2008 Sprite Slam Dunk competition to be held on NBA All-Star Saturday Night Feb. 16, at New Orleans Arena (8 p.m. ET on TNT). Green will compete against two first-time entrants ⁈“ the Memphis Grizzlies⁈⁚ Rudy G.ay and former D-Leaguer Jamario Moon of the Toronto Raptors ⁈“ as well as the Orlando Magic⁈⁚s Dwight Howard, who competed in the 2007 contest.
For the first time, fans will have the final say deciding the winner of the Sprite Slam Dunk competition. Following the concluding round of dunks, fans will be able to cast their votes via SMS TXT message and at NBA.com to determine this year⁈⁚s winner. The dunker with the most fan votes will be named the winner of the Sprite Slam Dunk. A panel of judges will continue to play a key role by determining which two participants advance to the final round. During the final round, each judge⁈⁚s vote will count the same as a fan vote.
Last year in Las Vegas, Green, then a member of the Boston Celtics, outlasted defending champion Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks for the Sprite Slam Dunk championship. Green tallied the three highest scores of the night, including a perfect score of 50 on his final dunk as he windmilled while hurdling an All-Star table.
Golden State⁈⁚s Jason Richardson was the last player to win back-to-back Sprite Slam Dunk titles, capturing the 2002 and 2003 competitions. The only previous repeat Slam Dunk champion was Chicago⁈⁚s Michael Jordan, who won the 1987 and 1988 contests.
The dunker with the lowest total score from the first round will compete first in the final round. Dunks then will alternate until each player has completed two. Time limit rules still apply. After the four finals dunks are completed, fan voting polls will open via SMS TXT message and at NBA.com. Each judge will then provide commentary on the dunkers and hold up a placard with his vote for the winner. The judge⁈⁚s votes will be combined with the SMS TXT and NBA.com votes to determine the champion.
As with all of this year's All-Star participants, G.ay, Green, Howard and Moon will join over 2,500 members of the NBA Family for the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service on Friday, Feb. 15. The volunteers will participate in a variety of service projects at 10 different sites throughout New Orleans.
The Sprite Slam Dunk is part of NBA All-Star 2008 , which also includes the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam; Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout; PlayStation ® Skills Challenge; Haier Shooting Stars; NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas; and the 57th NBA All-Star Game.
Sprite is the world⁈⁚s leading lemon-lime soft drink and has been the official soft drink of the NBA since 1994.