Miami Heat

Heat’s Tyler Johnson says his dunks don’t compare to those by contest finalists Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine

Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson, left, dunks over Los Angeles Lakers guard Lou Williams, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson, left, dunks over Los Angeles Lakers guard Lou Williams, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. AP

When it comes to his eye-opening dunks – like the one he had Friday night in the first half against the Lakers when he soared over Lou Williams and jammed it right in his grill – Tyler Johnson’s attitude has always been the same: there are others out there who can do it better.

“Yeah I saw it,” the 6-4, 190-pound guard said of how his dunk over Williams made highlight reels on various sports shows. “People were blowing up my phone about it. It would have been cool to have a win on top of that. I feel like I could have done it a little different. Next one will be different.”

Johnson, 24, believes his dunks aren’t really a big deal. Maybe it’s just his humble way of deflecting the attention.

Asked Saturday after practice if we might see him in the NBA dunk contest one day, Johnson replied: “I don’t know. I’ll go and have great courtside seats to go see Zach [LaVine] and Aaron [Gordon] do their thing.

“Like if you want to vote me in there and I’ll go do two, three dunks and they’ll say ‘Yeah, I didn’t know he could dunk like that.’ I’ll say ‘Cool’ and then sit back and watch [those other guys].”

Johnson insists there’s no way he could pull off the dunks Gordon and LaVine pulled off in last year’s dunk contest.

“Man, that dude [Gordon] sat in the air, put the ball under his butt and dunked it,” Johnson said. “I ain’t got that. I got some dunks, but I don't got that.”

Johnson, though, has one of the league’s most impressive vertical leaps. He said when he last measured it – during his tryout with the Heat three years ago – it was “about 42, 43 [inches].” But it looks like he gets up even higher than that.

“I don't know,” Johnson said of where his vertical leap really measures. “That was the last time I measured it. That was also in the morning, so.”

Asked Sunday morning if people underestimate Johnson’s athleticism, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra replied: “People don't just watch him enough.”

“I think if you've watched you know that he’s an incredible athlete, but more importantly he’s a great competitor,” Spoelstra continued. “He competes on both ends of the court. He’s fearless. He’s a clutch fourth quarter player. The athleticism is just a part of his game. But people watching, he has the highest vertical on our team.”

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