Dennis Scott averaged 13 points a game in his NBA career and was known as one of the League’s top 3-point shooters during his prime. He’s most well known for his time with the Magic, as Shaquille O’Neal’s guy, Penny Hardaway’s favorite shooter and Nick Anderson’s friend. He was a major part of the Magic’s 1995 Finals squad as a knockdown shooter and defender.
During his post playing days, Scott has become a mainstay on NBA TV, both on GameTime and his own show, 3DTV. Scott recently joined up with Shaq, Mountain Dew and the NBA for an extension of this past summer’s Dew NBA 3X tour. He and Shaq drafted teams for Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook that will compete at All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. We caught up with 3D to learn more about what’s in store.
SLAM: What can fans expect to see at All-Star Weekend?
Dennis Scott: They’re going to be excited that a lot of talent did show up to be a part of this event. Mountain Dew did an excellent job of going out there and finding some of the top raw talent out there across the country. That’s what’s fun to me. When guys like this get an opportunity to get their talents seen, you never know. This 3-on-3 could turn into 5-on-5, it could be overseas. Anything could happen. The fact that these guys are still dreaming and having fun, that’s what makes it exciting.
SLAM: We were out in L.A.for the Dew NBA 3X finale and when we talked to the players, a lot of them were a little skeptical about 3X. Then they started playing and they loved it. What was your initial reaction?
DS: I was excited. Of course when I heard Shaq was involved, I was more excited. Then we get there and they’re saying we’re coaching for Kyrie and Russell. You have current players, ex-players involved. Then when the players showed up, they saw all the cameras, we saw all the smiles on their faces. They saw this wasn’t nothing fake, this was real. Then they brought their A-game.
SLAM: 3X is a different style of play. Is there anything that surprised you when you were watching?
DS: Nothing surprising, just guys you’ve never seen before. That’s the biggest thing. A lot of these guys you may have not heard of, from college or playing overseas. Once they walked in that gym and saw those cameras, they said, ‘Uh-oh, this is for real. I’m tryna go to New Orleans.’
SLAM: Are you on Team Kyrie or Team Russell?
DS: I can’t tell you that yet.
SLAM: Can you tell us what your inside sources are saying about Jason Williams and Baron Davis? Can they still go?
DS: I know Jason Williams still plays. I know guys in Orlando and he still plays around there. I haven’t seen Baron Davis play in a while, so I don’t know if he’s in shape.
SLAM: What are we going to see from a basketball standpoint?
DS: From a basketball standpoint, we’re going to see guys who are still dreaming about playing professional basketball. I think about 35 guys showed up so that lets you know the kind of atmosphere, the guys who really, really want this opportunity to make it to New Orleans.
SLAM: Speaking of atmosphere, the games in L.A. were very competitive, with lots of trash talk. We’re seeing trash talking across the League, with the Wizards and Celtics and LeBron and Barkley. Is this level of talking good for the game?
DS: I think it’s excellent. Guys just have to remember there’s a fine line between when you trash talk and when you have that, what I call, “great competitive spirit.” At the end of the day, guys are trying to eat, guys are trying to keep their brains going, they’re trying to keep their reputations going. So an event like this helps you build your brand, it helps build your reputation. Just like with the NBA. John Wall’s trying to get his name back up there with Steph Curry and the rest of those guys. Right now, John Wall and Bradley Beal, they’ve been kinda banged up the last couple years. Them as a backcourt, we haven’t mentioned their names a lot. So I love the competitiveness of guys trying to regain their reputation.
SLAM: You played with a lot of great players throughout your career. You going with Lethal Weapon 3 for your squad, someone from the Magic? Who’s on your 3X team?
DS: Great question. It’s a no-brainer. I would go with my big three in Orlando, me, Shaq and Penny. With only three players on the floor, you have two things. You have one wing guy that can go one-on-one and break his man down off the dribble. Now you have one post up guy, you throw the ball down low and there’s no way you can double. Now you leave one guy open and that one guy’s probably me.
SLAM: Who are the three guys you would love to compete against?
DS: To make it a lot of fun, I would love to compete against Magic Johnson, that’s my favorite player of all time. Since my Magic team is the only team to beat the Bulls, I’d have Penny guard Michael. And I’d have Shaq guard Kareem. That’d be my favorite three to beat three-on-three.
The 30-minute special featuring Dennis Scott, Shaquille O’Neal, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Jason Williams and Baron Davis airs on Sat. Feb. 18 at 6pm EST on TNT.
Max Resetar is an Assistant Editor at SLAM. Follow him @maxresetar.