Robinson becomes three-time NBA Dunk king
DALLAS: Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks edged rookie DeMar DeRozan to become the first three-time champion of the NBA All-Star weekend's Slam Dunk contest.
Robinson won by the slimmest of margins, capturing 51 percent of the fan vote in the competition that highlights the Saturday night All-Star festivities.
DeRozan had advanced to the final round after receiving a perfect score of 50 on his second dunk of the first round.
For his final dunk, Robinson threw the ball off the backboard, grabbed it and turned in the air to throw down a two-handed bacward slam.
He celebrated by seizing a pair of silver and blue pompoms from one of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders who joined him on court for his finale.
"I just wanted them to stand over there and cheer," Robinson said.
DeRozan had earned a place in the competition on Friday, when he was voted in in the first ever "Dunk-In" competition at halftime of the Rookie Challenge game.
Charlotte's Gerald Wallace and Shannon Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated after the first round in Saturday night's marquee event.
Robinson won the dunk title as a rookie in 2006, then beat Dwight Howard to win again last year.
In the three-point Shootout, Boston's Paul Pierce expunged the memory of an embarrassing performance in his last appearance in 2002 with a victory.
"I wanted this really bad," said Pierce, who had 20 points in the final round to beat Golden States Stephen Curry and Denver's Chauncey Billups.
When Pierce last competed in the Shootout he scored only eight points.
Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash - fresh from an appearance in the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, triumphed over a trio of 20-something rivals to win the Skills Challenge.
After helping light the Olympic cauldron in Vancouver, Canada's Nash is also slated to play the All-Star game on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, home of Dallas' NFL team.
It's something of a homecoming for Nash, who played for the Dallas Mavericks from 1998-2004.
Saturday's events were at the Mavericks' arena, while Sunday's All-Star game will be at the new Cowboys Stadium, where where more than 90,000 people are expected to attend.