NEW YORK (AP) - Blake Griffin is bringing his ferocious dunks to the slam dunk contest.
The Los Angeles Clippers rookie will join Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings and big men JaVale McGee of Washington and Serge Ibaka of Oklahoma City in next month’s event at All-Star weekend, the NBA announced Wednesday.
Griffin’s powerful slams have made him a YouTube sensation and the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors, and his presence brings a needed boost to what was a lackluster event last year. He will have home-court advantage in the contest at Staples Center on Feb. 19.
Each contender will be matched with a slam dunk coach. Griffin will work with two-time participant Kenny Smith, Jennings with Darryl Dawkins, Ibaka with teammate Kevin Durant and McGee with Chris Webber.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he thought Griffin’s stats make him a viable candidate for a roster spot in the All-Star Game that will be played at Staples Center on Feb. 20, but noted there are other factors involved.
“Statistically, his numbers are there, but there are some other guys with good stats,” Del Negro said. “Wins and losses matter.
“Obviously he brings a lot of excitement to the game with his athleticism. We’ll wait and see how the fans vote and obviously how it all comes down.”
Griffin will attempt to join Brent Barry, the 1996 champion, to become the only other Clipper in history to win the event.