A leap of faith carries a whole new meaning when it comes to Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith will be competing the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk contest on Saturday at the Staples Center as part of NBA All-Star Weekend.
The event will be shown live on TNT.
"I've been dunking for a long time so I'm ready for it," Smith said. "What's crazy is I never really thought about it too much. I always wanted to be in the All-Star Game, not so much the dunk contest, but to be in it is a blessing, and I'm looking forward to it."
Smith will be joined in the contest by Victor Oladipo of Indiana, Donovan Mitchell of Utah and Larry Nance Jr. of the Los Angeles Lakers. Mitchell replaces Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic.
Nance's father, three-time NBA All-Star Larry Nance, won the inaugural Slam Dunk contest in 1984.
"I know its four dunks," Smith said. "I already know what four I'm going to do so I'm ready for it."
The 6-foot-3 Smith will be the third player in Mavericks history to compete in the slam dunk contest, joining Tony Dumas and Michael Finley. Finley finished third in 1997. Dumas failed to get out of the first round in 1995.
Smith said he has a team that will help him during the contest.
"I got a little team, a little group chat, talk about a couple of dunks here and there so we got something cooking," Smith said.
In the two-round event, participants can perform any dunk they choose. The players have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round. Five judges score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30.
After the four competitors get two dunks in the first round, the two players with the highest combined scores advance to the head-to-head final round. The previous scores do not carry over in the final.
Smith will also play in the Rising Stars game tonight.
He'll have some familiar faces around this weekend as the Mavs ManiAACs will perform at the Rising Stars game and the 67th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.
DJ Poizon Ivy, the Mavericks' in-arena disc jockey, will perform Sunday. She is the first woman to DJ at the All-Star game.