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Dennis Smith Jr. has change of heart, will compete in dunk contest

Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. said on Friday that he will participate in the slam dunk contest at All-Star Weekend.

Smith confirmed the news to reporters following the Mavericks' 106-101 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Smith, who was eliminated in the first round of last year's dunk contest, has had a change of heart since media day in September. He said then that he would not do the dunk contest this year, adding that "the gimmicks and everything that go with it, I'm not with it."

He said on Friday that his grandmother changed his mind about participating this year.

Smith did not use any props on his two dunks in last year's contest. He felt that the score of 39 the judges gave him on his first dunk -- a two-handed reverse he threw down after putting the ball behind his head and then below his knees -- was unfairly low. Smith received a perfect score of 50 on his second dunk, a 360 windmill in which he switched the ball from his left to right hand in the air.

All-Star Weekend, set for Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte, will be a homecoming of sorts for Smith, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is also a strong candidate for the Rising Stars game, which the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 draft played in as a rookie last season.

Also, Dirk Nowitzki told reporters on Friday that he will accept an invitation to participate in the 3-point contest. It will be his sixth 3-point contest and first since 2008. He won the event in 2006.