As we wait for former Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo to compete in the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest this Saturday during NBA All-Star Weekend, we’re reminded of the time the 6-foot-5 athlete took down this year’s college basketball media darling, Zion Williamson, in a high school dunk contest.
Coming out of high school, the high-flying prospect out of Queens, NY was known as one of the best dunkers in the nation, regardless of class.
During the Elite 24 All-Star Game in 2016, Diall0 found himself matched up with Williamson, where he broke open a lead on the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. All he had to do was complete his last dunk to bring home the title trophy and celebrate with his friends and family in New York City.
With all eyes watching, Diallo missed his last attempt, allowing for the current Blue Devil to edge him out in the event.
Brett Dawson of The Athletic spoke to Diallo about his matchup with Williamson and what happened down the stretch.
“I won,” Diallo said. “I had won. I just didn’t complete the (last) dunk. If I had completed the dunk, I would have won. But basically I won. I did everything to make me a winner up to that point. I just didn’t complete the dunk.”
Former Kentucky guard Tony Delk, who was in attendance at the event, said you knew both prospects would be special talents moving forward.
“You knew you were seeing something,” he said. “They had the creativity, and as athletes, those two guys just stood out from all the other kids.”
No matter how talented Williamson is, Diallo knew he absolutely should have won that night, and it was a moment that has lingered with him ever since.
“And then I just missed,” Diallo said. “That’s how easy it can all be taken away.”
Take a look at the highlights from the event:
Now, Diallo will get his chance to officially take home the crown in the biggest dunk contest in the world.
His competition? Dennis Smith Jr. of the New York Knicks, Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets, and John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks.
OddsShark released their updated odds for the popular annual event, with the former Wildcat somehow listed last out of the four competitors.
Updated odds to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest (Bovada):
Dennis Smith Jr. +150
John Collins +250
Miles Bridges +250
Hamidou Diallo +325
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) February 15, 2019
To get you prepared for Saturday, take a look at all of the best dunks Diallo has thrown down to start his rookie season in the NBA:
While you’re at it, the official Oklahoma City Thunder Twitter account released an awesome video yesterday afternoon highlighting Diallo’s life growing up in New York and how he got to where he is today playing in the NBA.
Take a look here:
Hamidou Diallo // What shaped his game. pic.twitter.com/nTMwd4IQUI
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 13, 2019
Go get ’em, Hami.
For the entire article from The Athletic, you’ll have to get out your wallet and head here.