The Milwaukee Bucks will have another participant in All-Star weekend as Pat Connaughton will reportedly compete in the Slam Dunk Contest.
The good news continues for the Milwaukee Bucks.
With a 42-7 record that not only paces the entire NBA at present, the Bucks won’t just have Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton making the trip to Chicago for All-Star Weekend, but Pat Connaughton too.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Connaughton has accepted an invitation to compete in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk contest.
The Dunk Contest has long been the showcase event of All-Star Saturday, and for many is the highlight of the entire All-Star slate on an annual basis.
This will be Connaughton’s first appearance in the event, and he will become the first Buck to compete since Giannis Antetokounmpo’s infamously underwhelming appearance back in 2015. He will also join Paul Pressey and Ray Allen in the extended lineage of former Bucks to compete in the event.
As all Bucks fans will know, Connaughton is a gifted athlete who was drafted by the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles prior to opting to make his career in the NBA. Spectacularly athletic plays are an incredibly common occurrence for him, including emphatic slams, although the 27-year-old’s role player status may mean his abilities in that department fly under the radar with more casual fans around the NBA.
That could all be set to change now, though, given the high profile stage Connaughton will be afforded on Saturday, February 15.
Connaughton has been the focus of a “#LetPatDunk2020” campaign from the Bucks in recent weeks, but had remained realistic about his chances of getting a call. Speaking to Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated about a possible invite recently, Connaughton quipped:
“I ain’t gonna hold my breath.”
With the pleasant surprise that he has in fact now received that opportunity from the NBA, Connaughton can now look to make a statement to some of the stigmas that have followed him around for all of his athletic career to date.
In that same interview with The Undefeated, Connaughton explained how for years he’s had to deal with preconceptions about his athleticism based on both his baseball background and race, and how disproving those assumptions has become something he enjoys immensely.
“Being your stereotypical baseball player, if you will, compared to a basketball player — the athleticism was always something that people questioned,” said Connaughton, who in 2018 began captioning Twitter videos of his dunks with some variation of “stereotypes smh.”
“So to be able to continually try to put those questions to rest and answering them in emphatic ways with dunks and blocked shots and things that people don’t expect from me, it’s satisfying.”
Now, Connaughton will have to start plotting out his dunks of choice and routines for the event, along with how he might be able to get his All-Star teammates involved on the big night too. If all goes to plan, the narratives around his athleticism may be put to bed once and for all.