Originally Published: February 2, 2017 6:40 p.m.
Updated as of Thursday, February 2, 2017 11:20 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is updated from an earlier version.
PHOENIX — Former Northern Arizona Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. will soon get the chance to take “Airplane Mode” to new heights. How does New Orleans sound?
Currently a member of the parent-club Phoenix Suns, Jones will display his insane vertical leaping ability on a national stage during NBA All-Star Weekend as he was selected to participate in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Jones, who will compete against Aaron Gordon (Magic), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) and Glenn Robinson III (Pacers), will become the first player to compete in the Dunk Contest and play in the NBA D-League in the same season.
Jones has played 18 games this season for the D-League affiliate Northern Arizona Suns in Prescott Valley, averaging 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while leading the league in highlight-reel dunks.
Jones signed an NBA contract prior to the season after impressing Phoenix Suns brass in NBA Summer League play. He was assigned to Northern Arizona out of training camp.
The former UNLV standout has played in only three games for Phoenix thus far, without a dunk, making this nomination an unprecedented accomplishment for Jones.
Televised nationally on TNT, the Dunk Contest is scheduled to take place Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans at 6 p.m.
HOW IT WORKS
The Dunk Contest is a two-round event in which the four participants can perform any dunk they choose without time limits. The players have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first and final rounds.
Five judges scores every dunk on a scale of six to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low of 30. The player with the highest combined score between the two rounds is crowned champion.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is an associate sports editor for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.