Is LeBron James Having Second Thoughts About the Dunk Contest?
At NBA All-Star Weekend when Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard were again putting on a show a the Slam Dunk Contest, LeBron James was having such a good time courtside that he made a firm commitment: he would lend his star power to the 2010 event.
Although it seems like a meaningless event, particularly for a star player, icons like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have both won dunk contests, while second-tier players like Vince Carter were temporarily anointed to Jordan-heir status after memorable dunk contest performances. It seemed strange that James never partook.
Now, though, he might be backing off some, telling the Associated Press:
“I’m like 50-50 right now,” he said Wednesday night before a game against Phoenix. “I don’t know if you can get it back to the 80s and like in ’98 when Vince (Carter) was in it. It was more about the dunks and less about what was going on around the dunks. We’ll see what happens.”
James has not had the greatest go of it PR-wise of late, taking heat for not shaking hands after the Orlando Magic beat the Cavs in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, as well as the constant speculation that he will leave Cleveland for the bigger market in New York as a free agent this summer. He also recently publicly criticized his coach.
Denying fans a dunk contest appearance, which caused so much excitement during the All-Star Break last year, will only make things worse, especially after such a public promise on national television.