Obi Toppin’s first dunk contest was as a senior at Ossining High, facing off against three other high school seniors of Section 1 (Westchester schools).
“He took off from inside the foul line and flew like MJ to win the contest,’’ Ossining coach Michael Casey told The Post. “Most of the others struggled to complete their dunks. But, no, I didn’t think Obi would be in the NBA dunk contest after that.’’
It’s going to be an especially proud moment for the Toppin family when the Knicks’ rookie lottery pick — a late bloomer who wasn’t even a full-time starter his junior year at Ossining — competes in Sunday’s Slam-Dunk Contest. The event will be staged at halftime of the All-Star Game in Atlanta.
Toppin’s No. 1 basketball idol growing up wasn’t Michael Jordan, but his father, Obadiah, a streetball legend whose nickname was “Dunkers Delight.”
Obadiah participated in the old And1 Streetball tour and was once part of a 2006 Gatorade commercial with Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade and Ben Wallace.
“I talked to him about some of the dunks,’’ Toppin said. “He’s basically telling me which ones will look crazy for that time.’’
Toppin said his father, who also played overseas, is his No. 1 inspiration in the dunk department.
“I grew up watching him,’’ Toppin said. “Every team he played on he was — his name was Dunkers Delight, so that speaks for itself.’’
Contacted by The Post, Obadiah said he planned to be in Atlanta.
“I’m very excited and anxious,’’ Obadiah told The Post. “I know he’s going to do what he do.’’
Some dunk-contest mavens believe one of Toppin’s dunks Sunday will be some variation of a between-the-legs fastbreak slam he performed at Dayton last season. Toppin said after the game it was a dunk his father perfected on the courts of Rucker and Dyckman parks.
Toppin, who turned 23 earlier this week, will be in Atlanta with one of his Knicks teammates, All-Star Julius Randle. In the pandemic format, players were told to arrive Saturday night, so there wouldn’t be much practice time for Toppin to use Randle as a prop.
Toppin likes prop dunks that include jumping over obstacles, and referenced the Aaron Gordon performance of art last season when he leapt over 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall.
Asked if the 6-9 Randle, his power-forward mentor, will provide an assist during the halftime contest, Toppin didn’t rule it out.
“I don’t know how to answer — I might go to Julius, I might not,’’ Toppin said.
Toppin will go against former Duke guard Cassius Stanley, a second-round pick whose been playing in the G-League for the Pacers, and Portland guard Anfernee Simons. They will donate their $100,000 winnings to historically black colleges. Toppin is dunking for York College.
“It’s definitely crazy to me, and it’s crazy because I was just texting with Cassius the other day,’’ Toppin said. “Both of us were saying how surreal it is. We’re in our first year in the NBA and we get to compete in this dunk contest. So, having this opportunity is a blessing.’’
Casey, Toppin’s high school coach, said his former player may not be the favorite as a big man going against guards who usually are more visually appealing flying through the air.
“He’ll have to get creative,’’ Casey said.
Toppin is the sixth Knicks player to compete in the dunk contest — the last to win it was 5-foot-9 guard Nate Robinson, who won it three times. Kenny “Sky” Walker won as a Knick in 1989.
“I’ve been watching a lot of dunks these past couple of days,’’ Toppin said. “I’m going to try do stuff that hasn’t been yet in the dunk contest. I’ve seen a lot of great dunks. I might have to break out one of the old dunks that someone did. I’m definitely preparing for the time to come.’’
The only dunk man Toppin is glad he won’t facing Sunday is Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who is making his first All-Star appearance. Toppin feared LaVine, the 2016 winner, would be tabbed since he’d be in Atlanta anyway.
“I’m glad Zach’s not in there,’’ Toppin said. “I’m going to put that out there. I’m glad he’s not in there because he’s a great dunker. Definitely, I love to compete. Even if he was in it, I would have been a great time and we would have put on a show for everyone. There’s three amazing dunkers, Cassius and me and Anfernee. So all three of us, I feel like we’re going to put on a show for everybody.’’