5-foot-9 Nate Robinson wins dunk contest

HOUSTON -- The NBA's All-Star Saturday turned basketball

A big guy won the 3-point shootout. A little guy won the slam
dunk contest.

After 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas proved the best sniper from
beyond the arc, the New York Knicks' 5-foot-9 rookie Nate Robinson
became the NBA's new jam king.

Robinson beat out 6-foot-6 Andre Iguodala of Philadelphia, 6-9
Hakim Warrick of Memphis and 6-9 defending champ Josh Smith of
Atlanta, conjuring up memories of Spud Webb -- and then dunking over
the smallest slam champ the NBA as ever seen.

Miami's Dwyane Wade won the skills competition.

Robinson and Nowitzki are part of the changing NBA game, in
which giants roam the perimeter while guards go hard to the hoop.

"When people look at me, they really don't understand where the
hops are coming from," said Robinson, who edged Iguodala in a
dunk-off to earn a $35,000 first prize.

Big men don't need hops to dunk. But it helps if they have a
reliable jump shot. "I think when you look at the game now, a lot
of big guys can step out and make that 16-, 17-, 18-footer,"
Nowitzki said.

Nowitzki drew a warm ovation from the Toyota Center crowd. But
Robinson, a first-round draft pick out of Washington, electrified
the building by taking a bounce pass from Webb, the 1986 champion,
and leaping over the 5-7 former Atlanta Hawks guard to jam. The
stunt earned a perfect 50-point score from the five-judge panel to
force a dunk-off against Iguodala, who had received two perfect

Robinson gave an assist for the memorable dunk to Knicks
teammate Jamal Crawford. "We were on the plane and he was like,
'Man, I have the perfect idea,' " Robinson said. "I was like,
'What?' He said, 'You should jump over Spud Webb. It's been 20
years (since Webb won the title).

"We had to get in touch with him, so we did and he was like,
'Yeah, sure,' " Robinson said.

Webb, the only other player shorter than 6 feet to win the
popular contest, said he enjoyed sharing the spotlight with
Robinson. "He doesn't know what he did tonight," Webb said. "He
made history. One day he can tell his kids about this."

In the dunk-off, a tiring Robinson needed 14 attempts to dunk.
He finally caught his own pass off the backboard and jammed,
earning 47 points to edge Iguodala by one. Iguodala shook his head
when the final score was posted but wasn't bitter.

"(Robinson) deserved to win," Iguodala said. "This is for the
crowd. If that's what they wanted, then that's what they got. I'm
not too worried about it."

Webb had a reply to those who thought Iguodala should have won.
"Let me answer that for you: Big guys shouldn't judge the dunk
contest," Webb said.

Each player dunked twice in the first round, with judges
awarding composite scores between 30 and 50 points. The top two
scores advanced to the finals.

Robinson's high-flying act highlighted All-Star Saturday.

In the 20th three-point shootout, Nowitzki outshot Seattle's Ray
Allen and Washington's Gilbert Arenas in the final round to win the
$35,000 first prize. Nowitzki scored 18 points, topping Arenas' 16
and Allen's 15. Players circle the three-point arc, pulling balls
off racks and hitting as many shots as they can in 60 seconds.

"You know, that's kind of my game," said Nowitzki, who is
shooting 41.7 percent from beyond the arc this season. "I'm a
shooter first and then everything else comes second."

Last year's champion, Quentin Richardson of the New York Knicks,
was eliminated in the first round.

Wade edged Cleveland's LeBron James in the final round of the
fourth skills challenge. In the skills challenge, four players
dribble, pass and shoot their way through a timed obstacle course.
The players with the fastest times in the first round meet in the
final round.
In the final round, Wade won the $35,000 first prize by
navigating the course in 26.1 seconds, punctuating his final dunk
by jabbing a finger toward the grandstand. His time was .3 seconds
off the record set last year by Phoenix guard Steve Nash. That
easily beat James' time of 33.7 seconds.

Chris Paul, the rookie guard with New Orleans, finished third in
42.6 seconds. Nash finished last in 52.8 seconds after missing all
five three-point shots.

In the fifth shooting stars competition, San Antonio's Tony
Parker, Steve Kerr and Kendra Wecker defeated teams representing
Los Angeles, Houston and Phoenix. In the event, a present NBA
player, WNBA player and a "legend" from the same city shoot from
six spots of increasing difficulty.

San Antonio hit all six shots in 25.1 seconds, with Parker
draining a shot from just inside the half-court stripe to clinch
the $45,000 first prize.