Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game, I like his game. —Indiana Pacers wing Glen Robinson III
SALT LAKE CITY — Glenn Robinson III chilled courtside, watching his Indiana Pacers teammates participate in pregame warmups ahead of the Utah Jazz game Monday.
The 24-year-old, Gary, Indiana, native inches closer to returning from left ankle surgery, but for now he can only enjoy the action from the sidelines.
As NBA All-Star weekend approaches Feb. 16-18, the reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world.
“Definitely. Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game. I like his game,” Robinson said. “I know a lot of people do and a lot of fans is excited and that’s the most important part. So I think that he definitely is going to be on that list to be in it.
“Unfortunately I can’t do it this year because of my ankle but I would love to get back in it but it was a helluva experience for me,” he added. “Last year, going down there I was kind of the underdog and people didn’t expect for me to win it or didn’t know what I had in storage but (Donovan’s) got some bunnies so he will come up with something.”
Mitchell previously told the Deseret News that he’s certainly open to the idea, but the participants have yet to be announced. That should happen in early February. The only other Jazzman to win the NBA dunk contest was Jeremy Evans in 2012.
“It would be great, but I haven’t paid any attention to that whatsoever,” Mitchell told the Deseret News in December. “Not even the whole weekend. That’s not even been in my head at all.”
Robinson won his 2017 slam dunk title in New Orleans. He described the experience as priceless and says it take a lot of confidence to put on a show and also be victorious, just like competing in an actual game.
“It was my first All-Star experience so I’m seeing Gabrielle (Union) and Dwyane Wade courtside and I see John Legend and all types of people,” Robinson described. “Chance the Rapper was cheering me on and it’s crazy to see all of that from a first-hand perspective so I think that is something (Donovan) will enjoy.”
Robinson also hopes to see his Pacers teammate Victor Oladipo in the annual dunk off. If that happens, there’s no doubt who he will be cheering for at the Staples Center.
“Of course, that’s my teammate and I’ll have to go with him but we will see,” Robinson said, smiling. “I can’t wait until they come out with that list.”
Oladipo is enjoying the finest year of his pro career, averaging All-Star numbers with 24.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his fifth season. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard is also open to participating. He posted a game-high 28 points in Indiana’s 109-94 victory in Utah Monday.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Oladipo said of the dunk contest. “Given the opportunity, I might go out there and help Glenn defend his gem since he can’t do it.”
As far as Mitchell being a possible rival on All-Star Saturday Night, Oladipo would also like to see the young man receive an invite.
“Oh, yeah definitely,” Oladipo said of Mitchell. “I’ve been watching Donovan since he was in Louisville and we have mutual friends so I’ve been knowing he could jump like that so it’s pretty cool to see him doing what he’s doing.”