On top of his Pacific Northwest roots, the NBA's 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk champion also shares ties to the Seattle Seahawks.
Zach LaVine, who dazzled with a combination of between-the-legs and behind-the-back throwdowns on Saturday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Center in New York City, was born in Renton, Wash. and graduated from nearby Bothell High School. He went on to play one year at UCLA and was named to the Pac-12's All-Freshman team before the Minnesota Timberwolves selected LaVine with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
But the Seahawks connection? Zach's father, Paul, played for the Portland Breakers in the United States Football League. The USFL dissolved in 1985, but Paul's football career would continue in Seattle, where he saw action at linebacker as a Seahawks "replacement player" in three games during the 1987 NFL strike. Paul made seven tackles in his brief NFL stint, including six in his only start - a 17-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at the Kingdome.
The younger LaVine, who scored 194 out of a possible 200 points on Saturday night while donning a Michael Jordan 'Tune Squad' jersey from the movie Space Jam, becomes the fifth dunk champion in the past 10 years with a Washington state connection. Toronto Raptors small forward Terrence Ross, who won the NBA's dunk contest in 2013, played two years at the University of Washington - the same place three-time NBA dunk champ (2006, 2009, 2010) and Seahawks super-fan Nate Robinson played after a standout prep career at Seattle's Rainier Beach.
The NBA's All-Star weekend wraps up on Sunday, Feb. 15, when the best players from each conference will square off at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. PT on TNT.