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Thunder: Hamidou Diallo willing to defend Slam Dunk Contest crown if healthy

Hamidou Diallo soared over Shaquille O'Neal in the defining moment of the 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Diallo was crowned the champion, and it's a title he's willing to defend in February if healthy. 

"Of course," Diallo told The Oklahoman on Thursday. "If I'm healthy, 100 percent. I'm a competitor." 

The second-year Thunder guard returned to the court on Dec. 31 after missing 17 games with a hyperextension sprain in his right elbow — the same elbow that he stuck in the rim after dunking over O'Neal. 

"At this point I'm just waiting for a couple clearances from doctors to be able to play," Diallo said. "Right now I'm just focused on trying to get back to 100 percent. Still trying to get back in a groove on the court, a rhythm on the court and worry about the dunk contest when that time comes." 

If healthy, Diallo said he doesn't need an invitation to participate. 

"I won the dunk contest," Diallo said. "I'm pretty much invited as long as everything goes smooth." 

As for his biggest competition?

"I'm the competition," Diallo said. "I'm the winner. I'm the competition for them. I'm going in with the crown." 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) goes up for a dunk during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena,   Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.  [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) goes up for a dunk during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-01dcf6de17ddcf322385fb6da8f34ec6.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) goes up for a dunk during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) goes up for a dunk during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) goes up for a dunk during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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