The Dunk Contest is, for many fans, the most anticipated event of the whole All-Star weekend as some of the highest flyers get together on Saturday night and compete to take the crown of the dunk champion of the NBA.
Usually, it is reserved for players who base their game around athleticism and are known for impressive dunks, but sometimes star players show they can do it too. Some of the more notable and greater players to win the dunk contest like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, and more showed precisely that. Unfortunately, one of the game’s biggest stars, LeBron James, never tried his luck in the dunk contest, even though back in 2010, he was pretty close.
Just think about it. The natural gift of athleticism, strength, speed, power, a huge vertical, and star power. Is there a more complete package for a dunk contest participant? It’s hard to think of other players that had all those tools at their disposal. Never the less all that wasn’t enough to get the biggest name in basketball, LeBron James, to show us what he’s got.
Back in 2003, at just 18-years-old LeBron won the McDonald’s Slam Dunk Contest and showed he’s got what it takes. So why wouldn’t he try the same in the NBA? He didn’t seem very interested in his early years. Still, during the 2009 Slam Dunk Contest in Phoenix, LeBron got asked on the sidelines if he would compete in the next year’s contest, as he preliminary put his name into the 2010 Dunk Contest, the delight of fans around the world. It was supposed to be a show in the AT&T Stadium in Dallas for the 2010 All-Star weekend with a capacity of 80 000 people.
But in the end, James backed out of the 2010 Dunk Contest. As years went by, we slowly made our peace with the fact we will never see LeBron in the dunk contest. Now at 36 years old, LeBron is still an unbelievable athlete, but he wouldn’t be able to put on the performance that he could have delivered in his prime years.
So what is the reason he avoided it? He was scared. LeBron himself admitted that he was scared he wouldn’t win – if he couldn’t compare to greats like MJ and Kobe, as it would leave a stain on his legacy. It’s hard to see why James has that mindset, but if you dissect his dunking style, you can say he is more of an in-game dunker that thrives on power and players in his way. I’m afraid I have to disagree, and his pre-game dunks are all the evidence I need.