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News » Dunk or days off . . . The choice is yours

Dunk or days off . . . The choice is yours

Dunk or days off . . . The choice is yours
SUMMARY: Fans will decide if Rudy Fernandez gets to take his high-flying act to NBA All-Star Game

Dunk or days off . . . The choice is yours


Exposure or rest?

That is the dilemma facing Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez, who is one of three rookies on a ballot to decide the fourth and final participant in the Feb. 14 dunk competition at the NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.

Fans have until Jan. 14 to vote on for either Fernandez, Joe Alexander (Milwaukee) or Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City). The winner will join a field that consists of reigning champion Dwight Howard (Orlando), 2006 champion Nate Robinson (New York) and Rudy Gay (Memphis), who participated last season. This is the first time the league has asked fans to vote in the final competitor.

Fernandez, a 6-foot-6 guard, is known for his emphatic, driving dunk on Howard during the Summer Olympics, as well as a series of alley-oops this season from teammate Sergio Rodriguez. He says he is not limited to just alley-oops, but said he hasn't thought of potential dunks because he is still warming to the idea of competing in the event.

"Make sure you tell the fans not to vote for me," Fernandez said with a smile. "The four days of rest for my body sounds better. But at the same time it would be a wonderful opportunity to see the All-Star Game live and to take part in the activities."

Another dilemma for Fernandez is finding a partner for the contest. He admits if he is chosen, he would like to bring a teammate to throw lobs or bounce passes to him. Rodriguez, however, has already said "no way," citing his desire to be on a beach resting during the break.

"I need to work on Sergio, or maybe Brandon (Roy)," Fernandez said. "I don't know."

Roy said he would gladly assist Fernandez, particularly if he is already going to be in Phoenix for the weekend's main game. He said Fernandez asked him before Thursday's Christmas game if he would be open to the idea.

"I'd do it for Rudy," Roy said. "I wouldn't even think of going to it --last year when I was there I took my family out to dinner on Saturday night and watched the dunk contest in the restaurant. But if I make it (to Phoenix), and he makes it, I'll do it, just to support my teammate. That's what it's about."

Fernandez said he has competed in one dunk contest --a competition years ago in Spain. He took second to Mickael Gelabale, who later played for the Seattle SuperSonics. He said if he gets some spare time he will study the event's rules and past dunks.

"If I'm voted in, I go," Fernandez said. "But for me, I would be more excited to watch the live All-Star Game. The dunk contest . . . I think Howard and Rudy Gay, they are more athletic than me."

Jason Quick: 503-221-4372;

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 30, 2008


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