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Joel Embiid clowns NBA Slam Dunk Contest and Kenny Smith

Joel Embiid clowns NBA Slam Dunk Contest and Kenny Smith

The 2024 NBA Slam Dunk Contest left much to be desired, according to fans and even one NBA superstar on social media.

Philadelphia 76ers reigning MVP Joel Embiid is known for cracking jokes on the internet, with Saturday night being no exception. He posted to X on multiple occasions, poking fun at the commentators and dunks from the evening.

“Kenny smith been drinking lmao,” he tweeted first.

Smith was one of the voices for TNT's broadcast of All-Star Saturday Night alongside Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Allie LaForce. The two-time NBA champion shared a variety of opinions, which Embiid clearly disagreed with.

“I’m a professional hater but I’m not hating when I say I could win the dunk contest with these scores but not sure the knees would allow it," Embiid added in a post that had social media buzzing.

A critique of the judges was not uncommon, as there were various moments that resulted in anger among fans. One instance occurred when G-Leaguer Mac McClung threw the ball to himself while in the air, but received less than a perfect score. Fans were also frustrated when Miami Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. jumped over NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, but was given a lower score than Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown’s slam over influencer Kai Cenat, who was sitting down.

McClung, the reigning champion, claimed his second consecutive dunk-contest win with scores of 48, 49.4, 48.8 and 50. McClung’s final dunk was the lone 50 of the evening. He became the fifth back-to-back winner in NBA history, joining Zach LaVine, Michael Jordan, Nate Robinson and Jason Richardson. The consensus among fans is that the Osceola Magic guard deserved the victory but that this performance was less impressive than last year's showing.

New York Knicks’ Jacob Toppin and Jaquez were eliminated in the opening round. Brown finished as the runner-up, with boos pouring in from the crowd during his turn due to controversial scoring. 

Embiid’s mention of his knees not allowing it refers to his unfortunate injury, which happened on Jan. 30 against the Golden State Warriors. He suffered a left meniscus injury, which required surgery. Embiid will be re-evaluated in four weeks. 

Prior to the injury, the Sixers big man was projected to win his second MVP award. He is averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on 53.3% shooting. With Embiid sidelined, Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are the top MVP candidates.

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