Zach LaVine Talks NBA All-Star Weekend, the Resurgent Bulls, and More

NBA All-Star weekend legend Zach LaVine speaks about his Dunk Contest success, the Bulls' NBA Finals chances, his partnership with Mountain Dew and more.

Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball during the game against the Washington Wizards on February 11, 2020 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.

Image via Stephen Gosling/Getty

Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball during the game against the Washington Wizards on February 11, 2020 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.

Not many people would have expected to see the Chicago Bulls tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break before the season began. But that’s the beauty of sports, you can predict and speculate all you want, but nothing truly matters until the games are played and the season is actually underway.

For Zach LaVine and the rest of the Bulls, that criticism helped fuel the fire for their best first half in recent history, and will only continue to do so after the All-Star break. Sunday night, LaVine will play in his second All-Star Game, while his teammate DeMar DeRozan was voted as a first-time starter, making his fifth overall appearance in the game.

On top of that, LaVine is an All-Star Saturday Night veteran, as he’ll be competing in his second consecutive 3-point Contest and is considered one of the greatest Dunk Contest participants ever, winning back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016.

“I know which of the two I’m better at,” LaVine tells Complex. “I have two trophies in my case for the Dunk Contest and I don’t have any for the three-point contest yet, but hopefully that can change tonight.”

Just a few days after Zach LaVine starred in a new Mountain Dew ad alongside It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day, we caught up with LaVine at The Block in Cleveland just a few hours before All-Star Saturday Night to talk about the Bulls’ first half success, All-Star Weekend, and more.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

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Let’s first start with Mountain Dew. What is it like working with them, and specifically how has it been working on this new campaign with Charlie Day?

I’m extremely excited to be partnered with them, they allow me to be myself and stay loose. It’s a fun and cool campaign. Working with Charlie was great, I think I got to show off some of my acting skills, so I’m looking forward to doing more. I started to learn a little bit more about his content after we started working together, but I’m going to start looking at more of his stuff for sure. Hopefully he’s a fan of mine.

I’m sure it’s not a surprise to you guys, but not a lot of people expected you to be this good this far into the season. Can you speak to your team’s success?

We expected us to be here. The media might not have, but that’s the fun of competition and sports sometimes, going out there and making people eat their words. We got hot together early on and we’re really rolling right now. Hopefully we can all get healthy and keep competing and getting better for the playoffs.

What would you say to the critics that still think the Bulls aren’t good enough to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals?

Everybody has their own opinion. The only thing that matters is what we do on the court moving forward, so I guess it’s TBD on that.

Do you think this team has a chance to be the best Bulls team since Michael Jordan?

I don’t really get into all that, man—it’s tough to compare anyone or anything to MJ so we’re just going to keep his name out of it. But we’re a good team, we haven’t proven anything yet. We’re at the halfway point and we’re tied for first in the East right now, and for half the season that’s really good but we have to play the whole 82 and we’ll see where we’re at.

DeMar DeRozan & Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine in the 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

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