Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans still flies under the radar, but the NBA's defending slam dunk champion is one victory away from pretty rare territory: back-to-back titles. At only 25 years old, Evans, whom Utah selected 55th overall in the 2010 draft, is the most elite of elite athletes. He spoke to The Huffington Post about the art of dunking and everything that comes along with it -- like what it will take to defend his title, in his estimation, namely "having a chip on my shoulder."
What are your thoughts on the dunk contest field, and specifically when guards like the Clippers' Eric Bledsoe are in it?
Sometimes those are the guys that jump the highest, so you got to watch out for them. Their verticals are a little higher, just because they're shorter and it looks a lot better sometimes. I think my work is really cut out for me just because, man, I've seen all of them on YouTube. It's amazing.
Who's your favorite dunker in the league (not named Jeremy Evans)?
Oh man, game dunk? I'd have to go with Blake Griffin. It's hard to say, but you gotta tell the truth.
Can we expect some new creativity from you this weekend?
Yeah, you can expect a little, but it's still kind of tough to follow the guys that jump before you. They lay it out so well. It comes with creativity, what you can use, props and what you can do in the air. But it's pretty limited now.
How much do you speak with former dunk winners for inspiration and ideas?
Not really, but that's a great idea, just to talk to those guys and see what they think. I know they probably have great ideas for stuff they wanted to do but didn't get the chance to do.
Have you always been a pure dunk artist, someone who can really finish above the rim?
I believe so, but I don't believe I'm the best trick dunker. I like to compete. I feel like the dunks I'll get in the game will be outrageous compared to me trying to come up with ideas and doing stuff in the air.
Is it harder without anybody to defend you than in an actual game, when oftentimes you'll just dunk over somebody?
I believe it's a lot different. You gotta have hang time just to figure out what you want to do up there.
Is there a favorite dunk contest you remember from when you were growing up?
Yeah, of course the Jordan dunk compeition, but also I think a lot of people don't remember this one as much, but Jason Richardson, when he did the one off the glass and between the legs. As a dunker, you know, that's really tough.
Do you have a single favorite game dunk? Like the one over Gerald Wallace was insane.
Yeah, and then the one over [Ronny] Turiaf? When I get in the game, sometimes when I have a breakaway, my teammates always tell me, you know, what am I going to do? But I feel like that's not the time to try tricks. One day, hopefully I'll get a windmill and a 360 in a game!