Zach LaVine put on an outstanding show this year at the NBA dunk contest during All-Star weekend. The rookie for the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a few dunks that have never been seen in an NBA contest. While he was extremely entertaining, there were still plenty of fans a little bit frustrated that they were forced to watch a bench player on a bad team entertain them. Everyone would enjoy seeing the stars of the game put on a show in a dunk contest, but the biggest stars no longer tend to participate. Why has that started to be the norm?
Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Kobe Bryant and others all did a dunk contest at least once in their career. People love to callout Lebron James as the main superstar to duck the competition. However, with the game the way it is right now, James is actually setting a tone for the future. It might not be a popular decision, but from his perspective, it is the right one.
There is so much pressure on a guy like James in a regular game, and he would be torn to shreds in a dunk contest if he did not deliver on every single attempt. Dunking is hard in the NBA dunk contest, especially when players are expected to come up with things that have never been tried before. He would basically need to be perfect in order to avoid any ridicule.
Injury issues are also a concern, especially for a player as they get older and older. Most of the dunk contest participants are younger players, and they are more willing to go out there and put on a show. It also helps that they are not the main player on their team, so it is not like they had an extremely challenging 1st half of the regular season.
Like it or not, the best players in the NBA do have to worry about their brand. After weighing the pros and cons, James decided not to do a dunk contest. Now that he is 30 years old, it is not going to be happening. Other was never really in the car star players like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden also do not seem to be interested at all. Fans just need to get used to seeing very athletic young NBA players participating. Perhaps a few years down the road, they will evolve into stars.
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