Entering his final dunk in the NABC-NAIA men’s basketball dunk contest, senior Jamaal Thomas of Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) knew that he needed a perfect score to win.
Earlier, he watched senior LeShaun Murphy of Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) get a perfect score of 40 when he jumped over two children. Murphy scored a 37 on his second dunk for a total of 77.
Thomas got a 38 on his first dunk, and he knew what his last dunk was going to be. Thomas was going to jump over 6-foot-2 teammate Jon Humphrie. It was something Thomas thought of about 12 hours earlier when he was a late entry in the dunk contest.
“(Humphrie) is a senior and I am senior,” Thomas said. “That’s my best boy right there. He was a little nervous at first. He didn’t want me to knock off his glasses. I told him you will be alright.”
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Once he got out there, Humphrie was so confident that Thomas would succeed that he held out his cell phone and recorded a video to capture the moment.
“Heck no I wasn’t nervous,” Humphrie said. “I told everybody once they let him in the dunk contest, it was over.”
Thomas made it over Humphrie, leaving no doubt on the winner. He got a 40 and finished with a 78.
“I have only done that dunk one time in my family,” Thomas said. “They said if you get in a dunk contest that is the last dunk you have to do. I thought if I make it to the finals, I am going to do that dunk because I knew it would get a perfect score.”
Afterwards, Thomas did a television interview and spoke with Kansas City Mayor Sly James, one of the judges who gave Thomas a 10.
“This was great,” Thomas said. “It is what I wanted to do. It was perfect.”