Fans to pick fourth player in slam dunk contest

Updated: February 9, 2009, 9:58 PM ET news services

Magic center Dwight Howard, Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay and Knicks guard Nate Robinson will compete in the slam dunk championship Feb. 14 during the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in Phoenix.

Howard is the defending champion, beating Gerald Green last season in New Orleans in a competition that featured Howard wearing a Superman cape. Gay also was a participant in last season's contest, and Robinson was the 2006 champion.

Fans will pick the fourth competitor in an online vote, selecting one of three rookies: Bucks forward Joe Alexander, Trail Blazers forward Rudy Fernandez or Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

The last time a player successfully defended his slam dunk title was in 2003, when Jason Richardson of the Golden State Warriors repeated as champion.