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JaVale McGee still knows he deserved to beat Blake Griffin in the 2011 Dunk Contest

McGee talks about his 2011 Slam Dunk Contest performance, maybe the best ever that didn't win.

JaVale McGee may be best known for his ridiculous Shaqtin' a Fool moments, but nothing can take away from his amazing performance in 2011 dunk contest. It's still criminal that his performance five years ago wasn't enough to beat Blake Griffin dunking over a car of the NBA's primary sponsor. Two years ago, we listed McGee's performance as one of the six best that didn't win.

On Tuesday, after the Mavericks' final game before the All-Star break, McGee talked to SB Nation about his memories from that dunk contest, how he came up with one of the most creative dunks we've ever seen and what went wrong in the final round.

SB Nation: First off, I just want to know where these ideas came from. They were some of the most creative dunks we've had. Who all was involved?

McGee: Before the All-Star Game, like the day before, you go to this gym -- well, we went to this gym to practice our dunks.


I don't remember, to tell you the truth. I think we had slotted times. So I practiced, I was trying to do the 12-foot dunk but 12 foot was too high. Then I found out that Dwight (Howard) didn't really do 12 foot, either. So I (decided) it was too high. I had the rim next to us, so I was like, "lower it and put them next to each other." I tried to do it just regular and go this way (with outstretched arms), then I said, "let me try this." The first time, I threw it off the backboard and dunked it like that. It was like, "Yeah, that's what I'm going to do." Then I had the next dunk, what was it.

There was the three balls at once, and the third one, under the rim.

The third one, I already had that. I had another one, though. The Larry Nance one, I had that one already, too. And then the last one, I really didn't do nothing, because Serge Ibaka took the dunk that I was supposed to do. I was going to bite a piece of paper out of the rim, but he bite the little Thunder mascot or whatever.

Yeah, the last one, compared to the others, it looked a little off. So, that wasn't what you had in mind?

I wanted the two (basket) one to be my last one. He took that one, so I was like, "Damn, I have to do the two-ball dunk now."

You had to think the two-basket one was the most creative, though, right?

By far. I don't think there's been more creative dunks than that.

In the video, you kind of have a smile on your face when that second basket came out. Did you feel a buzz in the crowd there?

I knew everyone thought I was going to do the 12-foot one. Instead, I did something that nobody even knew was possible.

You're 7'0, so you knew something like that, right? Otherwise people were just going to say you're tall, this isn't impressive.

Exactly, I did something that had never been done. And I did a Guinness World Record dunk in the same dunk contest. I definitely had to impress, you can't do regular windmills and stuff when you're seven foot.

Who's idea was it to get your mom involved?

We did that right before. We were in LA, so we went up to the (fan) store and bought a Sparks jersey.

That was a cool touch. It's a performance, after all.


Was the two basket dunk the hardest?

I did it, like, 12 times. I didn't get it until the last 15 seconds.

You couldn't get it with two hands?

Yeah, my wingspan (wasn't big enough). I had to run.

Anything you would have done differently?

I wish I would have had a fifth, a last dunk. I had my dunks set, where I knew this was going to work. And then (Ibaka) took that one, and I was like, "Shit, I don't know what my last one's going to be."

If you do the one you had planned, do you think you win it?

By far. Well, I still feel like I would have lost. It was in LA, Blake was there, so I felt like no matter what I did -- it was the new vote on Twitter and online.

Yeah, not taking anything away from Blake, but there was definitely a lot of hype about him going into it.

The Kia car comes out, which is the NBA's sponsor, and yeah.

Would you do it again if they asked you?

Uhh, probably not.

That was your moment?

Yeah, unless I come up with some other crazy stuff.