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February 15, 2020

Derrick Jones Jr.

Chicago Illinois - AT&T Slam Dunk

Q. Derrick, a few weeks ago, you talked about how this is important for you. How does it feel winning this Dunk Contest on your birthday?
DERRICK JONES JR.: It feels great. Just being able to get an achievement like this on a day like this, it's special for me. This is a day that I'm going to tell my kids, just make sure they know that this is a day for me.

Q. D.J., congratulations.

Q. Can you take us through the wave of emotions when you got the 48. Did you think it was over? Were you surprised that he got a 47? What have the last few minutes been like as this thing all sinks in?
DERRICK JONES JR.: When I got that 48, it was tough because that was a dunk that I was doing that since high school, and I know that's 50 worthy. There's no way I should have got a 48.

He clipped Tacko's head when he did that dunk, so I knew they couldn't have gave him a 50 for that one. I would have respected it if they gave him another 48, so we can go again.

Q. What were your impressions on the decision to dunk on Tacko Fall?
DERRICK JONES JR.: It was a great decision for him to do that. Everybody know Tacko's a fan favorite. Just bringing him out there, I knew it was going to get the crowd hyped. I knew it was going to get everybody hyped out there. Once the judges took so long to give him the result, I knew it was something fishy. I knew they wasn't going to give him that 50. They couldn't have.

Q. You were, I think, 12 years old the last time Dwight Howard won a Dunk Contest. What was it like with him out here? You guys were giving him a little bit of a hard time about how old he was.
DERRICK JONES JR.: No, Dwight's a great guy. He's just a goofy guy. He's one of those guys you have fun with. When he's there, it's always a joking time. You're always laughing, having fun. He's a great guy, and just for him to be able to be back here and pay homage, went back to the Superman, that was really great.

Q. Derrick, I wanted to ask you what was the inspiration, because it was very similar to how Aaron Gordon fell to Zach LaVine last time. Was that the inspiration? Was that the key to taking him down?
DERRICK JONES JR.: No, my inspiration was this trophy. I was trying to get this trophy and bring this back home to Miami with me. That's all I wanted. I wasn't worried about who was in front of me, who had to go behind me, go before me. All I was worried about was this trophy right here.

Q. Giannis seemed very underwhelmed at Aaron Gordon jumping over 5'8" Chance the Rapper. I wonder if you share that sentiment.
DERRICK JONES JR.: No. Jumping over a human being is hard. It's flat out difficult. Not a lot of people can do that. Chance the Rapper is a big star right now in the rap industry. Bringing him out, that's smart. He's from Chicago. He's going to have the fans. So bringing him out was a smart thing for him to do.

Q. Happy birthday and congratulations as well.

Q. You mentioned this being a day you can tell your kids about. What does it mean to represent your family and your kids who look up to you back home?
DERRICK JONES JR.: It means a lot. The kids that say I'm their hero or I'm an idol to them or they look up to me or I'm a role model, this is for them. Just so that they know wherever you're from, wherever you came from, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

As a kid, I told my father I was going to win one, and I got it. So I'm going to go get another one next year.

Q. Best birthday gift?
DERRICK JONES JR.: Yeah. Yeah, I've got to say so, one of them.

Q. You don't usually anticipate going into overtime during the Dunk Contest. Was there ever a time where you were free-styling out there?
DERRICK JONES JR.: No, I got a whole lot in my arsenal. I knew every dunk that I was going to do even if it went to overtime. I planned this.

Q. So you had more? You could have gone five more rounds if you needed to?
DERRICK JONES JR.: If I needed to, yeah, for sure. Tony, I just turned 23. I got legs for days, bro, for sure. I ain't going to lie to you. (Laughter).

Q. Derrick, congratulations. I know it's a lot to process in the heat of the moment, but have you had a chance to think about where this Dunk Contest is going to rank historically?
DERRICK JONES JR.: No, I didn't. That hasn't even sunk in yet. I'm going to be honest with you, this is looking like a dream. I only dreamt of this moment, having this hardware right here, taking it back to Miami with me. Once this stops feeling like a dream, that's when I'm going to start thinking of that.

Q. First, did Bam winning the Skills Contest give you any added motivation to go out there and win the Dunk Contest? And second, you and Bam winning this, are you all going to try to pressure Jimmy to go get that All-Star MVP?
DERRICK JONES JR.: Man, I've been pressing Bam and Jimmy about going to get that All-Star MVP since we knew they was in the game. That's something that I told them, if you're going to go out there and play, there's no need to go out there and BS. You go out there and get that. Just like I went out there and got mine, Bam got the skills. We wanted Duncan to get the three, so Miami could have the sweep on Saturday. We'll settle for two out of three right now.

Q. I know you mentioned that this was all planned and you could have went a few more if you had to. However, at the end there, you kind of looked surprised, almost shocked rather, that you were able to get the trophy?
DERRICK JONES JR.: Because like I said, that dunk that Aaron did was very difficult. Tacko is 7'6", 7'7", if I'm not mistaken. So he's a very tall human being. Being able to get over him, that's difficult, man. If I would have thought of it earlier, I'd have did it.

Q. Derrick, this is one of the most historic Dunk Contests in Dunk Contest history. You had four 50s, perfect scores; Aaron had five. He set the record for most perfect scores in Dunk Contest history. What's your reaction to being part of such a historic contest?
DERRICK JONES JR.: It's great. I'm happy that I was able to be a part of this and just be able to go out there and showcase my talents. Just show the world that I am the best dunker in the NBA. I got that down. Now it's time to go fight so we can get that home seed in the playoffs.

Q. Are you going to repeat this achievement, or this is it for you next season?
DERRICK JONES JR.: If they call me, I'm here. Yeah, I got to be. I'm healthy. They call me, I'm here.

Q. Derrick, you mentioned that you would be willing to defend this title. Is there somebody currently in the NBA that you would go head to head with?
DERRICK JONES JR.: Whoever want to step out there. I don't know. I'm not naming no names. I don't want to call nobody out, but whoever want to step out in front of me, I'm there. I'm not going to shy away from nobody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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