Oladipo is honored to represent Indiana in Slam Dunk Contest

Victor Oladipo, Pacers

Throughout the last month, Victor Oladipo has consistently downplayed his involvement in the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest, easily the featured event at All-Star Saturday.

Have you thought about what you’ll do?

“No,” he’s replied simply numerous times.

Do you have specific plan:

“Just go out and dunk and see what happens,” he said.

But that was before the break and Oladipo tries hard to stay in the moment and on the task at hand. So after the Pacers won in Brooklyn for three straight wins before All-Star break, he could then finally turn his attention to the league’s annual event.

He wouldn’t even confirm that he was in it until it was announced by the league.

In all, though, this weekend for him has been very scripted. And he’s shown since being in the spotlight at Indiana University that whatever he does, he’ll put all of his effort into it.

Above all else, he wanted to do this for Glenn Robinson III, his teammate who was unable to defend his Slam Dunk Title from last year due to a left ankle injury that he has not yet returned from. Oladipo approached GRIII to see what he would think about that, something Robinson III really appreciated it. Vic was doing it since he could not.

Beyond that, it’s great for his brand. He has been wearing Jordan Brand shoes all season, but multiple sources told VigilantSports.com that he does not have a deal in place. He is expected to re-sign with them soon.

Moreover, Oladipo has his mother and three sisters with him in Los Angeles for the festivities. He had a Domantas Sabonis Rising Stars Challenge jersey ready for him to wear courtside to Friday’s game, and must have had three other outfits changes Friday night.

He’s been in the dunk contest before, back in 2015, but this weekend he is much more. Now in his fifth NBA season and in the first year of a mega $84 million contract, Oladipo is a well-deserved All-Star and the frontrunner for the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award.

[Oladipo reacts to being named an NBA All-Star]

Oladipo arrived in L.A. Thursday afternoon and by Friday was on the court practicing dunks.

In addition to Domantas Sabonis, who joined Oladipo on a private jet to California and then posted a double-double in a Rising Stars Challenge win Friday night, Myles Turner, Alex Poythress, T.J. Leaf, and Edmond Sumner are also in L.A.

Lance Stephenson isn’t there, but he believes Oladipo will beat out Larry Nance Jr. and rookies Donovan Mitchell and Dennis Smith Jr.

“I think he’s going to get a win,” Stephenson said. “I think he’s very prepared for it. I think he really wants to win. I think he’ll come out with some spectacular. When you’ve got bounce like him, I don’t think you have to practice much. He’s just going to get out there and do something spectacular. I got faith in him.”

Lance was also happy to share dunk ideas with his teammate.

“I told him he was going to have a candle, I stand right like under the basket and he do a 360 and I blow out the candle while he does a 360 and dunks it.”

Vic’s response: “Yeah…. I don’t know.”

Meantime, the message from Pacers head coach Nate McMillan was simple: “Be careful,” he said. “Don’t pull out no chairs or no things like that. Be careful. Just go out there and dunk the ball and come back healthy.

“I’m not even concerned whether he wins that or not. Just don’t do nothing crazy. Go to L.A. and enjoy yourself and come back healthy so we can have a strong finish.”

Oladipo has unfinished business and he’s determined to keep the trophy in Indianapolis for the second straight year.

All season he has done his signature “This is my house celebration” so it’s only appropriate that he’ll be wearing the team’s City Uniforms Saturday night.

As he would say, now that’s Feathery.

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