Every year we are plagued with the same question from people that already know the answer to what they’re asking. We’ve been waiting his entire career for him to do it, but LeBron James refuses to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk contest year after year, disappointing legions of fans he’s already sort of let down.
2013 is no different and there’s a good chance that 2014 thru 2020 or whenever LeBron James decides to hang it up we won’t ever see him take part in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, even if it’s we were good all year and we begged Santa to give it to us. But as is the case with everything in LeBron’s career, the debate has people polarized from those defending is choice to those blasting him for chickening out.
For LeBron’s cult of loyal and unwavering defenders, his choice to skip the Slam Dunk Contest is based on the fact that there would be absolutely no way he’d lose. Think about how political the NBA is and how calculated every single move that is made really is: if LeBron were to participate, at this point the NBA would have to let him win.
You don’t have LeBron James decide to participate in the most popular All-Star event and then have something called James White beat him. LeBron’s legacy would be at stake at that point, and the NBA would be only hurting itself by allowing James to not win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Because of this, LeBron’s followers say the dunk contest would just be a LeBron jamfest and other participants would be unnecessary.
However, the other side of the aisle has just as many people and the tune is very different. LeBron’s legacy and his status as one of the NBA’s greatest players ever is constantly called into question and discounted by his haters. It bothers them that they have to accept the MVP awards, the records, the hype and now the NBA title.
But while they’re trying to find valid reasons to discredit his accomplishments, the one thing his detractors forever can cling to is the fact that Micheal Jordan and Kobe Bryant won NBA Slam Dunk contests and LeBron James has not.
It’s always a contest between who has the most rings, who has the most MVPs, but when it comes to the Slam Dunk title, LeBron is no different than the people watching it at home on their couches — he’s never played in one. You’d think a guy that likes to shut people up with his game would shut people up by winning a Slam Dunk title, but he’s refused to even try and that’s only fueling the case against him.
Everyone likes to look at Michael Jordan and soon Kobe Bryant through rose-colored glasses and we all like to remember the NBA titles and the memorable moments and forget the more douchey moments both have had plenty of. Michael Jordan had a gambling problem, Kobe Bryant is notorious womanizer and both are arrogant individuals.
Yet, in LeBron’s case his arrogance and holier-than-thou attitude is highlighted more than it is with others of his caliber and his refusal to participate in the Slam Dunk contest supports claims against him. For people that already have a bad view on LeBron, they see his refusal to participate in the Slam Dunk contest as a sign that he thinks he’s better than the event.
Besides, what if he loses or he completely falls flat in his creativity. Guys like LeBron, MJ and Kobe strive to have as few blemishes on their final career record as possible and LeBron could be setting himself up for an unnecessary risk if he every participated in the Slam Dunk contest. He’s made too big a deal about it at this point, he simply can’t win if he participates, even if he actually wins.
But even LeBron’s minions have to admit that it’s a bad look to always shut down an event that constantly tries to get you to participate and the reason for refusal largely has to do with the attention it brings you. NBA stars like LeBron and MJ are attention whores, everyone knows this and when an event constantly courts you, that’s the kind of attention they crave.
That’s why LeBron has never and will never a participate in a Slam Dunk contest. It’s ironic that an attention whore gets off on the fact he gets more attention by not participating in the event than he would if he actually would. But LeBron’s not an idiot, he knows that as soon as he participates, the annual Will LeBron participate in the Slam Dunk Contest attention will go away.
And if there’s one thing attention whores hate, it’s when the attention goes away, even if it’s only just a little bit.