While it may not be retribution for the egregious snub of Donte “Does Stuff” DiVincenzo from the Rising Stars game, we do have another Milwaukee Bucks participant in All-Star Weekend with the report from Shams Charania that Pat Connaughton has accepted an invite to the dunk contest. The high-flying former Fighting Irishman has been lobbied heavily by the Milwaukee Bucks campaign to #SeePatDunk in recent weeks.
Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton has committed to invite to the NBA Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Chicago, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., Connaughton so far set.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 3, 2020
While I’m not sure his campaign had quite the vigorous virality of the infamous, but failed, Joe Alexander campaign back in 2009, it appears the Bucks success this season has helped boost Planet Pat into the upper atmosphere of potential participants. Connaughton marks the first Milwaukee participant since Giannis dunked back in the 2015 contest. For those of us that recall that display, it was, forgettable to say the least. I recall being quite disappointed that Giannis failed so spectacularly, but if that’s what it took to fuel his unrelenting motivation to succeed, then so be it.
Given the field that Pat Connaughton is up against, I imagine he’ll be the underdog by some measure. Dwight Howard has the nostalgia factor. Aaron Gordon put on one of the best dunk duels of recent years with Zach LaVine and Derrick Jones Jr. is a man who I know almost exclusively through Twitter highlights akin to, “DERRICK JONES JR. IS A BAD MAN” followed by a dunk highlight. In my mind, there is nothing else he does.
All we can do now is hope for the best for Pat. Personally, I’m hoping his first dunk features a teammate tossing a ball towards the rim as he skies for a block, only to miss, recover back and make some massive slam off the bounce. It seems only fitting.