Which means it’s time to queue the “Get LeBron In The Slam Dunk Contest” chatter. It also means LeBron James finding yet another way to tease the public.
Over the years, LeBron has continued to find ways (intentionally or not) to tease again and again with the hope that he might compete in the Slam Dunk contest when he really has no intentions of doing so at all. Seems like this year is no exception.
Check out this video (is it a coincidence that this is coming out just days before All-Star Weekend?) of LeBron James putting on a show for his teammates at practice:
Courtesy of buzzvideos
It’s another example of LeBron having some fun with this at our expense. Anyone remember this random tweet hinting (wink wink) that he may participate in the Slam Dunk last year?
Or how about this “announcement” at the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk contest?
Courtesy of SunTo TheDeep
Personally, I’m tired of LeBron teasing us on whether or not he’ll enter the Slam Dunk contest. It’s not that I’m hating on the guy; if he doesn’t want to do it, then it’s his right, he doesn’t owe it to anyone to do it.
It should clear to all by now that LeBron James is never going to participate; not this year, not next year, not ever. It is time for us fans everywhere (especially those of us who grew up in the 80s when the big names would always take part in this event) to just accept that and move on. But it doesn’t seem like LeBron is helping when tweets or videos (like the one on Monday) keep showing up.
Instead, I’m interesting in finding out why is it that LeBron has (and in all likelihood will) never entered the competition.
Think of all of the big names who have participated in the Slam Dunk contest at least in their careers since the NBA included it as part of All-Star Weekend in 1984. Dr. J was there in 1984. Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins faced off more than once during the 80s. Shawn Kemp did a few in the early 90s. Kobe Bryant entered as a rookie. Vince Carter gave us one of the greatest performances in the history of the competition in 2000 (that year also included Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis). We’ve even seen the big men like Amar’e Stoudamire, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin take part.
So what’s stopping LeBron?
Is it a fear of getting injured? Can anyone remember the last time a player got hurt during one of these contests? Me neither. If LeBron James was truly afraid of getting hurt trying circus-type dunks then he wouldn’t be doing this during warmups:
Courtesy of NBA
Is he avoiding it to conserve energy for the rest of the season? Well, if you’re pulling off these type of dunks before the game and then going on to put up close to a triple double during the game then that argument fails to hold water.
Is it a lack of competition? I would think guys would come out if LeBron James were to enter. Wouldn’t Paul George or Blake Griffin or Andrew Wiggins (the Kansas freshman who’s slated to be a top five pick in the 2014 NBA Draft) be encouraged to participate in 2015 if LeBron confirmed that he too would be taking part next year? It would mean more to beat LeBron than it would winning the competition for these guys.
There’s another reason why James won’t do the Slam Dunk Contest, one nobody seems to be bring up.
He just might lose.
As preposterous as it might sound, there is a chance that LeBron could enter the Slam Dunk contest and not win it.
That’s the thing with sports and competition – there is no guarantee. That’s why we have upsets. LeBron may win 99 out of 100 of these contests, but there is the possibility that the one time might come during All-Star weekend.
Seriously, what does LeBron have to gain from competing? He’s in a no-win situation. If he wins, then no big deal – he’s supposed to win. But could you imagine how big a deal it would be if he loses? It would rank as one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports, alongside Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson in 1990 or the U.S. hockey team over the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics. It would be the leading story on SportsCenter. It would be the biggest story of All-Star Weekend and possibly the rest of the regular season. That would be some blow to LeBron’s ego. Better to not enter and have fans forever wondering “what if” than to enter and risk being beaten by some rookie or some role player looking to get his name in the papers.
We may never know why LeBron James has decided that the Slam Dunk contest is not for him. We can only speculate.
But can someone to come up with a better reason why?