Lefrak City native wins NBA Dunk Contest
by Bryan Fonseca
Feb 19, 2019 | 1315 views | 0 0 comments | 136 136 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hamidou Diallo, who played high school basketball at John Bowne before transferring to Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Saturday Night in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Oklahoma City Thunder rookie became the second consecutive New York native to win the contest - Donovan Mitchell won last year - and the first Queens native to take home the crown.

Diallo, who also played AAU ball with the Queens-based New York Jayhawks and the New York Rens, had the most memorable dunk of the night, as well.

The 6-foot-5 guard recorded a 50 with his second dunk, leaping over the 7’1” Shaquille O’Neal, then “honey dipping,” or sticking his elbow into the rim after dunking, which Vince Carter innovated in the dunk contest, while revealing a superman shirt underneath his jersey.

Of the four dunks, it was Diallo’s only 50, and it was good enough to send him into the finals, where he subsequently defeated New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith, Jr.

“It's tough,” Diallo said of preparing to jump over Shaq. “My man Chuck Millan from Team Flight Brothers, we tried a bunch of things. We tried having people stand, putting basketballs on top of them, just to make sure I could clear the shot.”

Diallo says he never once thought that the dunk over Shaq would go wrong. After all, he did measure with the second highest vertical leap in NBA Draft Combine history two summers ago at 44.5 inches.

“I never thought of that,” he insisted. “At that moment, I'm thinking best-case scenario, which is make it, get the crowd going, and get 50.

“I'll say it's the New York in me,” he later added. “I know how to play things down a little bit. I just went out there and I knew if I did what I had to do, I was going to bring a trophy home. That was exactly what I did.”

Diallo, who is of Guinean descent, said he also wanted to win for his African heritage.

“My goal for Africa is to try to establish a platform there, and try to go back home as much as possible and do things for the community out there and show them what it's like to be around an NBA player,” he said. “I've got a lot of things planned for Africa this summer.”
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