Toppin: ‘It’s a blessing’ to be in NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Former Dayton forward will compete in contest at halftime of All-Star Game on Sunday night

Former Dayton Flyers forward Obi Toppin will compete against two other first-time participants in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Sunday: Anfernee Simons, of the Portland Trail Blazers; and Cassius Stanley, of the Indiana Pacers. The contest will take place at halftime of the NBA All-Star Game, which starts at 8 p.m. on TNT.

» PHOTOS: Toppin through the years

Toppin talked to former Knicks star Allan Houston about the contest in an interview on Instagram on Saturday.

“I feel good,” Toppin said. “I’ve dreamt about being in the NBA Dunk Contest my whole life. For me to be in this room right now in Atlanta during (All-Star Weekend), it’s a blessing, and I can’t wait to step foot on that court.

Toppin’s former teammate Jalen Crutcher said last week Toppin wanted him to come to Atlanta for the dunk contest, but he didn’t think he’d be able to.

“I’ll be rooting for him,” Crutcher said. “I’ll be watching.”

Toppin, a rookie with the New York Knicks, dunked 190 times in his two seasons at Dayton. That’s a school record. He also set the single-season UD record and led the nation with 107 dunks in the 2019-20 season. He broke his own record of 83 dunks, which he set in his first season on the court with the Flyers in 2018-19. Toppin also owns the school record for dunks in a game (10 against North Florida on Dec. 30, 2019).

Toppin earned national attention for taking the ball between his legs before a dunk in his redshirt freshman season, and he repeated that dunk in his final college game on March 7, 2020. A late bloomer, Toppin didn’t dunk for the first time until just before his senior year in high school.

In 27 games with the Knicks, Toppin has 18 dunks on 52 made field goals. He’s averaging 4.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.

According to, Toppin is the slight favorite to win with a 40 percent chance.

“I’ve been watching a lot of dunks these past couple of days,’' Toppin told the New York Post. “I’m going to try do stuff that hasn’t been yet in the dunk contest. I’ve seen a lot of great dunks. I might have to break out one of the old dunks that someone did. I’m definitely preparing for the time to come.’'

About the Author